Anal pain is common but probably not a comfortable conversation, even with a health care provider. But there’s no need to suffer through the pain. More than likely, your discomfort is due to a relatively harmless and treatable condition.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, our board-certified family medicine physician, Dr. Betsy Clemens, specializes in diagnosing and treating health issues many people have a hard time discussing — like anal pain.
Here, we want to share some common causes of anal pain and what you can about your discomfort.
Anal pain: What to know
Any discomfort you feel in or around the anus and rectum is anal pain. The rectum is the last section of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the storage area for stool before elimination through your anus.
You may feel pain before, during, or after a bowel movement. It’s not uncommon to have blood in stool along with your anal discomfort.
Depending on the cause, your pain may range from a mild itch to an intense throbbing sensation that lasts hours.
What’s causing my anal pain?
Even though the severity of the discomfort varies, anal pain isn’t a symptom you want to ignore, especially if you have rectal bleeding. So, what’s causing your pain?
Common causes of anal pain include:
You can have hemorrhoids and not have any pain or only mild itching. However, if you develop a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid ― a thrombosed hemorrhoid — you can have severe and sudden anal pain. This anal pain worsens over the first three days and then improves.
However, we recommend removing thrombosed hemorrhoids not only to ease the pain but also to prevent bleeding.
An anal fissure is a tear in the sensitive anal tissue. This injury causes intense pain during and after a bowel movement that may last hours. Healing can take several weeks and may require surgical intervention if the injury fails to heal.
Skin conditions like psoriasis and warts can cause anal pain. You may also develop pain from a bacterial or viral infection (warts are due to a viral infection).
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
IBD includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). In some cases, these conditions may cause inflammation or ulcers in the lower part of the colon or rectum, causing pain.
Anal pain with bleeding is also a symptom of colorectal and anal cancer. This is why it’s so important not to ignore anal pain. Though cancer is rarely the cause of anal pain, scheduling a checkup is always the right decision.
Getting help for anal pain
Most people suffer for a long time with their anal pain before seeking help. But the sooner you reach out, the sooner you can feel better.
For most causes of anal pain, like hemorrhoids and fissures, we recommend increasing fiber and fluid to improve bowel movements and prevent constipation (which worsens these conditions). We also recommend sitz baths to ease pain and support healing.
We perform external thrombectomies to remove thrombosed hemorrhoids and refer patients to specialists when they need additional testing or treatment.
Most causes of anal pain are benign and treatable, especially when you get help early. Don’t sit and wait. Call our office at 636-228-3136 to schedule an appointment today.