What Causes Rectal Pain?

The most common causes of rectal pain (or anal pain) are hemorrhoids, anal fissures, infections, lodged foreign objects, or bowel diseases, such as colitis, IBD, or IBS. It might even be as simple as a skin sensitivity caused by your laundry detergent, soap, or clothing material. There are other causes of rectal pain as well, so prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential.

Getting Diagnosed for Rectal Pain

Anal pain is not something that is talked about a lot, though it can be quite significant. There are a lot of nerve endings in the area of the rectum and anus, so any issues with them can result in anything from mild discomfort to excruciating pain. Most of the time the causes of anal pain are benign, even if there is bleeding. Still, if your anal pain doesn’t ease within a few days, it is essential that you get a proper diagnosis.

Any of the 5 experienced physicians at Digestive Care Physicians can evaluate and diagnose the possible cause of rectal pain. Hemorrhoid or anal fissure is usually made by a visual exam.The diagnosis of proctalgia fugax is made by history. The doctor may do a rectal exam on the patient to rule out other causes of the pain. A digital rectal exam is needed to make the diagnosis of levator ani syndrome. During the exam, the doctor can feel the levator ani muscles. The muscles may feel tight, and touching them can reproduce the pain.

Is Medical Help Always Necessary for Rectal Pain?

  • You should call immediately if you think you may have a thrombosed hemorrhoid because early treatment is the key to pain relief.
  • Also call your doctor if you are having any bleeding. Sometimes rectal bleeding can be a sign of a more serious problem such as colon cancer.

It is unlikely that rectal pain would require a visit to a hospital’s emergency department. You may want to contact your doctor first before going to the hospital. A more urgent evaluation in the emergency department might be required if the following conditions develop:

  • Rectal pain becomes more severe, especially if associated with fevers and infectious discharge from the rectum.
  • Pain is no longer confined to the rectum but spreads to the abdomen.
  • You notice an increasing amount of rectal bleeding or a large amount of bleeding in one episode.
  • You think you have a foreign body in your rectum or suspect rectal prolapse as the cause of pain.

Digestive Care Physicians has 4 locations north of Atlanta: