While most people often assume that anal or rectal pain is caused by hemorrhoids, there are a number of conditions that may lead to anal pain. The most common conditions leading to anal pain include:
- Anal Fissure – a tear in the anus that creates sharp pain and sometimes bleeding after a bowel movement.
- Abscess – an infection that starts from the glands in the anus and progresses to forming a cavity filled with pus. A painful bulge may emerge over several days and may be associated with fever or night sweats.
- Thrombosed external hemorrhoid – hemorrhoids on the outside of the anus can swell with blood, which can clot off. A firm painful bump in the anal opening that emerges abruptly and has a bluish color is usually a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
- Tumor – a painful bump that emerges over months may be a cancer. Rectal bleeding is not normal and should be evaluated with a digital rectal exam, and either anoscopy, proctoscopy or colonoscopy depending on the nature of the bleeding and your overall condition.
- Levator Ani syndrome – Spasm of the pelvic floor muscles causing a chronic or recurrent vague, dull, aching rectal pain or pressure that lasts for 20 minutes or longer. The pain is often worse with sitting than with standing or lying down.
- Proctalgia fugax – A sudden, sharp, severe, intermittent pain in the anal area lasting several seconds to minutes due to sudden tightening of the anal sphincter muscles.
- Other conditions such as fungal infection, STDs such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia or herpes, and various skin conditions such as psoriasis can also cause prolonged anal pain, itching or burning.
What is the treatment for anal pain?
The treatment for anal pain depends on the underlying condition leading to pain. Early diagnosis is key. Make an appointment for a thorough colorectal evaluation by Dr. Zaghiyan in Los Angeles as soon as symptoms occur.
What can be done to relieve the pain?
If you are experiencing anal pain, bleeding, or mass, make an appointment to be seen by your physician promptly. Dr. Zaghiyan can treat most conditions causing anal pain with topical creams or office based treatments. In most cases, cancers of the anus or rectum can be cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Early detection is key so do not wait to be seen by a physician.
In addition, make sure you maintain a high fiber diet (25-30 grams of fiber/day) and drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. This can help relieve the pain associated with bowel movements by improving the consistency of your stool. Warm baths 2-3 times per day for 15 minutes at a time can relax the anal sphincter muscles and help alleviate most anal pain. Keep the anal area dry and avoid using soaps of any kind on the anus as they can be irritating.