You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your anus. But when you develop anal pain, your anus may be the only thing on your mind. Why do you have anal pain, and when should you see a doctor for treatment?
The expert team at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford diagnose and treat anal pain at their offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Plainville, Connecticut. Here they outline a few of the most common reasons why you could have anal pain, and when you’ll need a specialist’s help to get relief.
Your anus is sensitive
When you have anal pain, it could actually originate anywhere within the perianal area, which includes your anus, anal canal, and rectum. Your perianal area contains numerous nerve endings, which can easily become irritated and inflamed. The tissues in that area can also tear or ulcerate, which may cause bleeding.
If you notice anal bleeding, and you’re also in pain, you may worry that you have anal cancer or colon cancer. Most of the time, anal pain is caused by benign — not malignant — conditions. However, if you see blood in your stool or have anal pain accompanied by a fever, contact Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford right away.
You should also call us if your pain persists for more than a couple of days. If you’ve just started experiencing anal pain, however, you don’t have to worry unnecessarily. Below are a few of the most common causes of anal pain.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus or rectum. Try adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet and drinking more water to loosen your stool. Also make a point of relaxing when you defecate, rather than straining and pushing, which worsens hemorrhoids.
Conditions that affect other areas of your skin, such as psoriasis, can also affect your anal skin. If you have a tendency to develop warts, you could have passed them to your anus. Anal warts might also be a type of sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Your doctor can tell you more.
A fissure is a small tear in your skin or other tissues. It can be extremely painful, like a paper cut, but it will heal.
Anal abscess with fistula
An anal abscess is an infected cavity within your anus that’s caused by blocked anal glands. A fistula is a small tunnel that runs from the abscess to a small opening in the skin around your anus. Your doctor can treat the infection and heal the abscess.
STD or other infection
A fungal or bacterial infection can cause anal pain. Anal pain could also be a symptom of an STD, including HPV infection. Your specialist prescribes antibiotics or antivirals to eliminate or control the infection.
Anal sex, constipation, and diarrhea can all irritate and tear the linings of your rectum and the skin around your anus. The tears are painful, but the pain will diminish as they heal.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
Digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause pain throughout your digestive tract, including your anus. These diseases can be controlled, but not cured.
Pelvic floor muscles that can’t fully relax can make bowel movements painful. You might also have levator ani syndrome, in which the muscles around your anus spasm. Pelvic floor muscles can be retrained with physical therapy.
Treating anal pain
If you have anal pain, and you also have a fever or blood in your stool, contact us immediately. If your anal pain is new, and you don’t have a fever or bloody stool, try:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Sitz baths (i.e. soaking in hot water)
- High-fiber diet
- Stool softener
Anal pain that persists for more than a couple of days could be a sign of a serious condition, including anal cancer. Benign pain, too, might need specialized treatment, including repairing traumatized tissues or removing diseased veins.
For help with anal pain, contact the experts at Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford today. Call the friendly team at the office nearest you or use the online form.