- What Causes Burning Diarrhea?
- What can make passing stool painful?
- Digestive Tract: Rectal and Colon Diseases and Conditions
- Pressure in Rectum
- Anal Itching
- What is anal itching?
- What causes anal itching?
- What Causes Anal Swelling and How Can I Treat It?
- Coping with cancer
- Managing your diet
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Soothing the skin around your anus
- Being prepared when you go out
- Being prepared at home
- 1. You have hemorrhoids.
- 2. You have fissures.
- 3. You’re constipated.
- 4. You have proctitis.
- 5. You have food sensitivities.
- 6. You have skin issues.
- 7. You have an inflammatory bowel disease.
- 8. You’re just pooping a whole lot.
- 9. You have endometriosis.
- 10. You had anal sex recently—or unprotected anal sex even once.
- 11. You have HPV, anal cancer, or rectal cancer.
- Why it hurts when you poop, and when to get help
What Causes Burning Diarrhea?
There are many ways you can treat your symptoms at home. In many cases, burning diarrhea is a temporary condition that will respond well to lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments.
If you suspect that your burning diarrhea is caused by eating spicy foods, experiment with limiting or cutting them from your diet. You may even want to keep a food diary to see which foods cause the most symptoms.
As an alternative, you might also try doing just the opposite. In an article published by Men’s Health magazine, Sutep Gonlachanvit, MD, explains that eating spicy foods frequently for over three weeks may help desensitize you to that burning sensation.
Hemorrhoids may heal on their own over time. There are some things you can do to speed up the process.
- Use over-the-counter (OTC) hemorrhoid creams like Preparation H or Doctor Butler’s and witch hazel pads to ease discomfort, burning, and itching. You can also use ice packs to help with swelling.
- Soak in warm water or a sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes a couple times a day.
- Use moist towelettes or wet toilet paper instead of dry for wiping.
- Consider taking OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to temporarily relieve pain.
Remember: Bleeding is a common symptom of hemorrhoids. Any bleeding from your rectum, though, is a good reason to visit your doctor.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Though IBS is a chronic condition, there are many things you can do to help with flare-ups.
- Adjust your fiber intake. Some people with IBS do well on high-fiber diets because they help to reduce constipation. Others find that eating too much can give them gas and cramping.
- Keep a food diary to see if there are certain foods that cause diarrhea more than others.
- Exercise regularly and drink plenty of water each day to promote healthy bowel habits.
- Eat regular, small meals if you are experiencing diarrhea.
- Use caution with OTC antidiarrheal medications. Try taking the lowest dose about half an hour before eating. Using these medications incorrectly can lead to other medical issues.
- Experiment with alternative medicine. Acupuncture, hypnosis, probiotics, yoga, and meditation may help ease your symptoms.
If you see a doctor for chronic IBS, your doctor can give you medications — alosetron or lubiprostone — that may help.
What can make passing stool painful?
A person may experience a painful bowel movement for a number of reasons, including:
Share on PinterestPainful bowel movements is a common symptom of constipation.
A person can become constipated for multiple reasons, such as:
- a hardening of stool due to a lack of fiber or water
- a slowing of intestinal movements
- as a side effect of a medication
- emotional issues
Healthcare providers may use the Rome IV criteria to diagnose constipation. To receive a diagnosis of constipation, two or more of the following symptoms must be present for at least 1 month in infants and children up to 4 years old:
- passing two or fewer bowel movements in a week
- if they usually have complete control of their bowels, having at least one accidental bowel movement per week
- a history of fecal withholding, or not using the bathroom despite having an urge
- passing hard and painful stools
A doctor may diagnose chronic constipation in a child over 4 years old if these symptoms persist for at least 2 months.
Health professionals tend to recommend increasing water and fiber intake or taking fiber supplements as the first steps in treating constipation.
If symptoms persist despite making these dietary changes, taking over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives is also a good treatment option. A pharmacist can advise on the best product in each case.
If there is no movement within 2–3 days, or if pain develops or worsens, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
2. Anal fissures
An anal fissure is a tear in the skin around the anus. Anal fissures can occur as a result of constipation or passing hard stools. Anal penetration can also cause a fissure.
Other possible causes include:
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- chronic diarrhea
- inflammatory bowel disease
- human papillomavirus
- anal cancer
- vaginal delivery
If constipation has caused an anal fissure, a healthcare provider may recommend taking stool softeners to help it heal.
Lidocaine jelly is also helpful for reducing the pain of an anal fissure. A doctor may also suggest nitroglycerin or nifedipine ointments. Both drugs will increase blood flow to the anus, which helps the body heal the injury.
People with chronic anal fissures may need surgery. Another treatment option for more severe cases is to inject botulinum toxin A (Botox).
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins under or on top of the skin in the anus. Both can make passing a bowel movement painful.
Sometimes, people will also see blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
Several OTC treatments are available for hemorrhoids, such as hydrocortisone. More severe hemorrhoids may require surgery, however.
Doctors and pharmacists will recommend that people with hemorrhoids keep their stools as soft as possible. This will help ease the pain of passing a bowel movement over a hemorrhoid.
Share on PinterestAntibiotics can help treat an infection that is causing diarrhea.
Passing three or more loose or watery bowel movements per day may indicate diarrhea. Chronic cases of diarrhea can last for longer than 4 weeks.
To treat diarrhea, a health professional may recommend loperamide (Imodium). If an infection is causing the diarrhea, a person will need to take antibiotics.
Chronic or bloody diarrhea requires prompt medical attention.
5. Food intolerances and sensitivities
People with food intolerances or sensitivities may experience painful bowel movements or diarrhea if they eat certain foods. Common examples include lactose and glucose intolerances.
The best form of treatment is to avoid eating any foods that the person knows can trigger a reaction.
6. Inflammatory bowel disease
The two types of inflammatory bowel disease are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
People with ulcerative colitis may experience bloody diarrhea with or without mucus. Episodes of diarrhea can cause pain during bowel movements. Other symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include:
- urgently needing to pass stools
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
People with Crohn’s disease may experience some different symptoms. For example, they may feel abdominal pain on the lower right side or have diarrhea without any blood.
Treatments for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, such as prednisone, work to suppress the immune system. These medications reduce inflammation to manage the symptoms.
Some people may need to take corticosteroids regularly as a long term treatment.
7. Proctitis and anusitis
Proctitis refers to inflammation in the rectum. Anusitis, meanwhile, is inflammation in the anus. These conditions share many symptoms with hemorrhoids.
To treat proctitis and anusitis, it is necessary for a doctor to first understand the cause. Several factors can lead to proctitis or anusitis, including:
- ulcerative colitis
- colon infections
- certain medications
- consuming a diet too rich in citrus, coffee, cola, beer, garlic, spices, or sauces
8. Anal cancer
Anal cancer can cause tumors to develop around the anus that make bowel movements painful. Other symptoms of anal cancer include:
- bleeding from the anus
- pain or irritation in the anus or pelvis
- weight loss
- feeling a weight in the anus or rectum
- severe constipation
It is important to consult a doctor immediately if these symptoms occur.
Share on PinterestEndometriosis can cause painful bowel movements.
In endometriosis, tissue that normally lines the uterus develops in other areas of the body, such as the ovaries.
Researchers estimate that 3.8% to 37% of endometriosis cases affect the bowel. Symptoms of this condition include:
- pain during bowel movements
- mucus in the stool
- bleeding from the rectum
- diarrhea or constipation
Health professionals tend to treat bowel endometriosis using hormonal therapy or surgery.
10. Skin conditions
Some chronic skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, can cause rashes to develop on the anus. Passing a bowel movement over an irritated area of skin can be painful.
Sometimes, painful genital warts can also develop on or near the anus.
Digestive Tract: Rectal and Colon Diseases and Conditions
Many Americans have difficulty moving their bowels. Many things contribute to this problem, including diet and activity level. Other causes are unknown.
This article will describe some of the more common bowel problems.
Anatomy and physiology
The large bowel consists of the colon (5 feet long) and the rectum (8 inches long). (Many times the rectum is referred to as the opening where stool emerges, but that is actually the anus.) The rectum is just upstream from the anus, and the large bowel is connected to the small bowel.
Anatomy of the large bowel (colon).
The colon’s main function is to process the 3 pints of liquid stool it receives each day into a manageable amount of solid stool, ready for elimination. The rectum coordinates this process. Normally, a person can pass up to 200 grams of solid stool daily. However, there is a lot of variation in the amount of stool a healthy person passes, and can vary from 3 times a day to 3 times per week.
Functional disorders are conditions in which the bowel looks normal but doesn’t work properly. These are the most common problems affecting the colon and rectum. The direct cause is frequently unknown.
Constipation is defined as small, hard, difficult, or infrequent stools. Constipation may be caused by:
- Inadequate “roughage” or fiber in the diet
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Poor habits, especially delaying using the toilet
- Movement problems in the large bowel, including slow or uncoordinated movement
A person who is constipated may strain during a bowel movement, or just pass very hard stool. Passage of hard stool may lead to anal problems such as fissures (painful cracks in the anal tissue lining) or hemorrhoids.
Irritable bowel syndrome (sensitive colon; spastic colon)
Irritable or sensitive bowel is a condition in which the colon muscle contracts (tightens) in an abnormal fashion, which may lead to several problems. Some patients have diarrhea, others have constipation, and others alternate between constipation and diarrhea. The abnormal contraction can lead to high pressure that builds up in the colon, causing abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, and sometimes extreme urgency (need to go the bathroom).
Treatment includes avoiding foods that make the problems worse, tailoring diet to the particular symptoms, managing stress, and medications.
Structural disorders are those in which there is something abnormal that may need to be removed, altered, or repaired by an operation. These may include removing a portion of the colon for diverticulitis or for a cancer.
Internal hemorrhoids are normal blood vessels that line the inside of the anal opening. We are born with them. They are thought to be the fine-tuning mechanism that allows us to contain gas and avoid passing it until we it is socially acceptable. When internal hemorrhoids become enlarged as a result of straining or pregnancy, they may become irritated and start to bleed. Occasionally, internal hemorrhoids can become large enough to bulge outside the anal opening.
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or the lower rectum.
Traditional care for internal hemorrhoids has included improving bowel habits, using elastic bands to pull the hemorrhoids back into the rectum, or removing them surgically. Devices that use sound waves can discover exactly where the excessive blood flow is occurring into these vessels and allow the doctor to specifically tie off the area. Another treatment is the stapled hemorrhoidectomy, in which a special device is used to pull the hemorrhoid tissue back into the body and staple it in place.
External hemorrhoids are veins that lie just under the skin on the outside of the anus. Usually, they do not cause any symptoms. Occasionally, a blood clot can form and can be very painful. These are not dangerous blood clots that can travel to other organs. The biggest concern they raise is pain. Many times this will get better on its own. Sometimes, the clot is removed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office.
An anal fissure is a split or tear in the lining of the anus that occurs after trauma. This can happen as a result of a hard stool or even diarrhea.
An anal fissure causes bleeding and intense burning pain after bowel movements. The pain is caused by spasms of the sphincter muscle, which is exposed to air by this tear. The pain with bowel movements has been described as the feeling of passing razor blades.
Fissures are the anal problem that is misdiagnosed most commonly. They are frequently mistaken for hemorrhoids.
Fissures often heal on their own. If they don’t improve, your doctor can recommend an ointment or medication that will relieve the pain. In certain cases, surgery may be recommended if the tear does not heal because of excessive sphincter spasm.
An anal fissure is a split or tear in the lining of the anus. A perianal abscess is a pocket of pus that results from a blocked, infected anal gland.
The anal region has tiny glands on the inside of the anus that open and probably help with the passage of stool. When one of these glands becomes blocked, an infection may develop and there may be an abscess (a pocket of pus). Treatment includes draining the abscess, usually under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office.
In about 50% of cases after a perianal abscess has been drained, a tunnel develops from the gland on the inside of the anus to the skin around the anus. This is called a fistula-in-ano. Fistulas drain mucous fluid onto the skin and blood. They rarely heal on their own and usually need surgery.
Other perianal infections
Hair in the region between the anal area and the tailbone can burrow under the surface and cause an infection called pilonidal disease. It may present as abscess in this area just below the tailbone, or as small draining openings. Usually surgery is needed to treat this problem.
Sexually transmitted diseases that can affect the anus include herpes, AIDS, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Anal warts are small growths on the anal skin that look like tiny pink cauliflowers and are caused by a virus (HPV).
Colon and rectal disorders
Colonic diverticula are little out-pouchings or sacs in the bowel lining that occur when the lining gets pushed through weak spots in the muscle of the bowel wall. They usually appear in the sigmoid colon, where the large bowel exerts the highest pressure.
Colonic diverticula are small out-pouchings or sacs that push through weak spots in the muscle layers of the colon wall.
Diverticular disease is very common in Western societies and may be due to low-fiber Western diets. Diverticula rarely cause symptoms unless one of the sacs gets blocked and infected. This is called diverticulitis and occurs in about 10% of people with diverticula. There is occasionally bleeding in this area.
About half the patients who have complications of their diverticula will need surgery.
Polyps and cancer
Cancer of the colon and rectum is a major health problem in America today. It occurs when the cells in the lining of the large bowel grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner. Many factors contribute to this loss of control, including the environment, our diet, and genetics (what we inherit from our parents).
The first abnormality in the bowel in colon cancer is a polyp, a small growth that may look like a mushroom protruding from the lining tissue of the large bowel. There are many types of polyps, and not all are the type that turn into cancer. However, removing these polyps before they develop severe changes and grow can prevent the progression to cancer.
Polyps are small abnormal growths that protrude from the tissue lining the colon or rectum.
When cancer develops, it must be removed by surgery. Chemotherapy may be recommended for cancer of the colon or rectum. Certain cancers of the rectum may require radiation treatment.
With prompt, expert treatment, most people can be cured of colorectal cancer. Although people may worry about having to wear a colostomy bag on the abdomen to collect stool, very few people need a permanent colostomy bag.
Because colorectal cancer comes from polyps, a colonoscopy procedure can prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps. People at greater risk for colorectal cancer include those who have had polyps or cancers in the past, or those who have a family history of colorectal cancer.
Colitis is a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the large bowel.
Colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon.
There are several types of colitis, including:
- Infectious colitis (due to an infection that attacks the large bowel)
- Ischemic colitis (caused by not enough blood going to the colon)
- Radiation colitis (after radiation therapy, usually for prostate, rectal, or gynecological cancer)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
Colitis causes diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and urgency (increased need to go to the bathroom). Treatment depends on the diagnosis, which is made by colonoscopy and biopsy (removal of cells or tissue for examination under a microscope).
Many diseases of the colon and rectum can be prevented or treated by seeking prompt medical care. People who have symptoms of any of these conditions should consult their doctor.
Most importantly, colon cancer is a preventable disease. The most important risk factor is having a direct family member who had colon cancer. Ask your doctor when you need an evaluation (usually a colonoscopy) to look for polyps. For people with no family history and no symptoms, the current recommendation is that everyone should have their first colonoscopy at age 50.
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Pressure in Rectum
Pressure in your rectum may be caused by any number of conditions. There are a few common causes that are treatable by medical attention.
Diarrhea is a condition in which your stool is in liquid rather than solid form. It can be caused by:
- parasitic infection
- other gastrointestinal diseases
Sometimes, diarrhea is related to something you ate and can be treated with an antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium).
Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea. It’s marked by the inability to efficiently move stool through your bowels and is usually associated with a dry, hardened stool. This can be caused by:
- lack of fiber
Constipation can be treated by:
- drinking more water
- adding fiber to your diet
You can purchase laxatives here.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located in your lower rectum or anus. They can usually be visually diagnosed if they’re located in your anal region. They can be caused by:
- straining for a bowel movement
- being overweight
- anal sex
You can usually treat hemorrhoids at home. Doctors may suggest preventive measures, including eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying hydrated.
Anal fissure or tear
Anal fissures are categorized as small tears in the anal surface lining and may cause a feeling of pressure or pain near the rectum area. These are typically caused by trauma from constipation or passing stool, but may be from a more concerning underlying issue.
Anal fissures are often treated by topical creams or blood pressure-lowering medication. Your doctor may also advise to let it heal on its own by keeping a proper diet and staying hydrated.
Coccydynia (tailbone pain)
Tailbone pain stems from an inflamed or bruised tailbone. This is usually caused by injury to your tailbone. Tailbone pain is localized and may be felt through the rectal area. This can usually be treated with:
- additional seat cushions
- over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
- prescription pain medications from your doctor
What is anal itching?
Anal itching, also referred to as pruritus ani, is a rash or irritation of the skin just outside of the anal opening. Usually raw and chapped, small ulcers or sores may also be present on the skin. This can cause severe itching, burning and even pain.
Anal itching is:
- not due to an infection
- not due to a cancer
- not going to become cancerous
What causes anal itching?
Some causes of anal itching include:
- irritation of the anal skin by chemicals in the stool
- irritation by chemicals in soaps
- improper wiping after bowel movements
When toilet paper is used to wipe the anal area after bowel movements, it has a tendency to smear some of the bowel movement material over the anal skin.
Dry toilet paper cannot remove all of this stool material. Therefore, it leaves a thin layer on the anal skin which dries and irritates the skin. This dryness and irritation of the anal skin can be made worse by soaps and vigorous washing.
Anal itching can be very painful and uncomfortable, often lasting for long periods of time. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to treat:
- Use natural vegetable powder applied to the anal area daily in liquid.
- Practice of water hygiene; clean the anal area with water after bowel movements.
- Use toilet paper that has been moistened with water to clean the anal area after bowel movements.
- Vaseline or petroleum jelly can be applied to the anal region 1–3 times a day to decrease symptoms.
- Avoid commercial wet wipes; chemicals in these products may exacerbate the problem.
Soap makes itching worse. One of the most important things in reducing anal itching is to stop using soaps to wash the anal area. Soap removes the natural oils from the anal skin making the dryness worse. However, if you feel you must use soap, try to use it less often, and use a moisturizing skin care bar which is less likely to remove the natural oils of the skin.
What Causes Anal Swelling and How Can I Treat It?
Anal swelling can have a number of causes. Most of them aren’t concerning but some can be serious. See a doctor immediately if you have:
- rectal bleeding that won’t stop
- severe pain
- anal discharge
The cause may be harmless or it may signal something life-threatening, such as cancer. Typical causes of anal swelling are:
This is a common disorder. It usually involves inflammation of the anal lining and is often misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids. Symptoms include pain and a wet, sometimes bloody discharge. Anusitis is commonly caused by:
- an acidic diet including coffee and citrus
- excessive diarrhea
External hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the mucosal lining of the anus. They’re common, affecting 3 out of 4 adults. They may result from:
- straining during a bowel movement
- low-fiber diet
- chronic diarrhea or constipation
External hemorrhoids can appear as a lump and may be painful and bleed, though some hemorrhoids don’t produce any discomfort.
An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anal canal. It’s caused by:
- hard bowel movements
- chronic diarrhea
- irritable bowel syndrome
- tight anal sphincter muscle
- anal tumors or infections, rarely
Anal fissures are common and are often mistaken for hemorrhoids. They can cause:
- pain during a bowel movement that lasts for up to a few hours
- lump near the fissure
When a gland in the anus becomes clogged and then infected, it can produce an anal abscess. This is technically defined as a collection of pus around inflamed tissue. It can produce:
- lump around the anus
According to Harvard Health, more than half of anal abscesses occur in people between ages 20 to 40. Men are also more commonly affected than women.
The gland becomes infected when bacteria, fecal matter, or foreign material invades through tiny cracks. Certain conditions, such as colitis, can increase your risk.
This is a tunnel that forms inside the anus and exits through the skin on the buttocks. According to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, half of those who have had an anal abscess will develop a fistula. Symptoms include:
- anal swelling
- stool leakage
Perianal Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a hereditary condition that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Most of the time it affects the small intestine, but it can affect the entire digestive tract, including the anus.
According to a 2017 article, up to 43 percent of people with Crohn’s have perianal Crohn’s. Symptoms include anal fissures and fistulas.
Anal sex and play
Anal swelling can occur after rough anal sex or insertion of a sex toy into the anus.
Coping with cancer
Find out about how you can cope with diarrhoea caused by cancer or its treatment.
Managing your diet
Although it is usually better for us to eat a diet high in fibre, this makes diarrhoea worse. So if you have diarrhoea you will need to break the rules for a while and eat foods that don’t contain too much fibre. It’s best to check with your doctor or nurse how long you should do this for.
Foods high in fibre include:
- high fibre cereals such as bran
- whole grain breads
- dried and fresh fruit
- vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and beans
Other foods that tend to make diarrhoea worse include:
- greasy, fatty and fried foods
- foods with caffeine in them – chocolate and coffee
- dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, butter and cream
Some foods tend to make your stools firmer so try these instead:
- rice and pasta
- potatoes without the skin
- dry cracker biscuits
- baked foods
- white bread
- chicken, beef or fish
Avoid pickled and spicy foods because these irritate the digestive tract and can make diarrhoea worse. Eating several small meals a day instead of 3 large ones can help you feel less bloated.
Drinking plenty of fluids
You lose a lot of fluid if you have diarrhoea so it is important to replace this to prevent dehydration. Drink as often as you can, even if it is just small sips. And avoid alcoholic drinks, because they make you lose fluid, rather than replacing it.
The best types of fluids to drink include:
- herbal teas
- clear soups
- non fizzy drinks
- electrolyte replacement drinks such as Dioralyte
- soy milk
Soothing the skin around your anus
The skin around your back passage (anus) can become very sore and may even break down if you have severe diarrhoea. These tips may help:
- use soft toilet paper or damp cotton wool to wipe yourself after you’ve been to the toilet
- have a warm bath to help soothe pain and help with healing – do this a few times a day if necessary
- pat the area dry with a soft towel after a shower or bath – don’t rub
- ask your doctor or nurse about soothing creams, such as E45, vaseline, or zinc cream to apply around your anus
- avoid wearing tight trousers or underwear
- cotton underwear will help to keep the area ventilated – nylon and polyester can make you sweat and cause even more soreness
Being prepared when you go out
One of the hardest things about having diarrhoea is that it can sometimes happen very suddenly. You will probably want to be close to a toilet at all times to avoid accidents.
It is very natural to feel embarrassed and upset if an accident does happen, even if no one else knows about it. You may worry that people will smell it. This is very hard to cope with. But your close family and friends will understand and will want to help and make things as easy as possible for you.
To avoid accidents when you go out, you can help to prepare yourself:
- know exactly where the toilets are in the place you are going
- contact the Bladder and Bowel Foundation or Pelvic Radiotherapy Disease Association for a ‘Just can’t wait’ card to give you quick access to public toilets
- don’t go on long car, train or bus trips
- take spare underwear, pads, soothing creams and a plastic bag with you, just in case
- you can always rinse out underwear in the bathroom sink and put it in the bag to take home – no one needs to know about this
- wearing a pad can help to protect your underwear and make you feel a bit safer
- take a spare stoma bag with you if you have a colostomy or ileostomy
- there are products on the market to help mask the smell from a colostomy so ask your stoma nurse about these
Having diarrhoea for more than a couple of days can be exhausting. You are bound to feel very tired and weak if you have lost a lot of fluid. So it’s very important to let your body rest when you can.
Ask your family and friends to help you with things like cooking, cleaning the house, shopping, and collecting children from school. They really won’t mind so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important that you get all the help and rest you need.
Being prepared at home
When you are at home, try to:
- protect your mattress – put a large pad or towel on your bed if you are worried about having an accident during the night
- leave a night light on near your bed, in the hallway and bathroom to light up where you are going so you can get to the toilet quickly
There are disposable waterproof bed pads made for toddlers during toilet training. These can be very handy and help you to feel more secure. You can buy these in supermarkets. Or your nurse may be able to give you some from the hospital, as they use a similar product. You could also contact your local continence advisor by finding them on the Bladder and Bowel Foundation database.
You may feel safer with a commode by the bed if you aren’t able to move quickly. Your nurse can help you arrange to borrow a commode for as long as you need it.
Even if it is embarrassing, it is important to let your doctor know if you are having accidents. They may be able to change your anti diarrhoea medicines.
Having diarrhoea for more than a couple of days can be exhausting. You are bound to feel very weak and tired if you have lost a lot of fluid. So it’s very important to let your body rest when you can.
Ask your family and friends to help you with things like cooking, cleaning the house, shopping and collecting children from school. They really won’t mind so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important that you get all the help and rest you need.
What Are the Symptoms of Proctitis?
Symptoms of proctitis are different depending on the cause.
The most common symptom is that you feel a continuing urge to have a bowel movement. Your rectum could feel “full.” Or you could have constipation (unable to have a bowel movement).
You may have minor symptoms such as tenderness in the anal region and mild irritation of the rectum.
More serious symptoms may occur, such as pus and blood in discharge accompanied by severe cramps and pain during bowel movements.
If you have severe bleeding associated with proctitis, you may developanemia (from loss of blood). Anemia can cause you to have pale skin, irritability, weakness, dizziness, brittle nails, and shortness of breath.
With sexually transmitted proctitis, you may have these symptoms:
- Gonorrhea (gonococcal proctitis): The primary cause appears to be anal intercourse. You may not have symptoms. If you have symptoms, you may have soreness, itching, bloody or puslike discharge, or diarrhea. Other rectal problems may be present such as anal warts, which are genital warts, anal tears, fistulas (abnormal passages that connect an organ or natural tube, like the rectum, to another surface), and hemorrhoids (dilated veins in the anus).
- Syphilis (syphilitic proctitis): Symptoms are similar to those of other causes of infectious proctitis – rectal pain, discharge, and spasms during bowel movements. But you may have no symptoms. Syphilis occurs in 3 stages:
- Primary stage: A single painless sore with raised borders can be found at the site of sexual contact. These sores, or chancres, are less than an inch across. During acute stages of infection, the lymph nodes in your groin become diseased, firm, and rubbery.
- Secondary stage: Syphilis produces sores around your anus and rectum. These are wartlike growths resembling cauliflower.
- Third stage: This usually appears late in the course of syphilis and affects mostly your heart and nervous system.
- Chlamydia (chlamydial proctitis): This bacterial form of sexually transmitted proctitis may account for a significant portion of cases. You may show no symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms. Mild symptoms might be mild rectal pain with bowel movement, anal discharge, and cramping. With a severe case, you may have discharge containing blood and pus, severe rectal pain, and diarrhea. Some people may have rectal strictures, a narrowing of the rectal passageway. This narrowing might cause constipation, straining, and thin stools.
With proctitis caused by viruses, you may have these symptoms:
- Herpes simplex: The herpes simplex type 2 virus usually causes proctitis, but type 1 also can trigger the disease. As with the other causes, you may show no symptoms. Herpes proctitis is accompanied by anal pain and tenderness, discharge, and constipation. Tiny painful blisters or sores may be seen in clusters around your anus. In contrast to other causes of proctitis, if you have herpes, you also may have urinary retention and a weak stream, impotence, and pain in the buttocks and thigh.
- Anal warts: A virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV) causes anal warts, which begin as soft, fleshy growths around the anus. These warts can extend to affect the lower part of the rectum. You may have anal itching, varying degrees of pain, and, with time, bleeding and discharge.
- Anorectal trauma: Trauma to your anus or rectum, in which the anal and rectal linings stretch and tear, can be a potential cause of proctitis. Health care providers usually see such trauma in people who introduce any foreign object into their rectum. Foreign objects include a penis during anal intercourse or sex toys. Tiny cracks may be seen in the anal or rectal linings. It’s important to tell your health care provider if you may be at risk for this type of proctitis. Sometimes, the foreign object may still be present in the rectum. People with anorectal trauma also may have an accompanying infection as a result of high-risk sexual behavior.
- Radiation proctitis: Radiation therapy is used to treat prostate cancer in men and cancers of the female organs such as the cervix and uterus. The rectum is close to these organs and is at risk for damage from the radiation. Radiation-induced injury to the rectum can appear in 2 ways.
- You may have diarrhea and tenesmus, which is a painful spasm of the urogenital diaphragm coupled with an urgent desire to urinate or have a bowel movement. Symptoms can occur while you receive radiation therapy or within 6 weeks after completion.
- You may have more lasting problems from radiation treatment. In addition to rectal pain and diarrhea, you may have bleeding, which signifies chronic changes of the rectal lining. This condition includes the presence of multiple tiny blood vessels on the surface of the mucous membranes in the rectum. These vessels are fragile and bleed easily as a result of minor trauma. If the bleeding is severe, you may have weakness, dizziness, palpitations (feel your heart beating), and tiredness – all signs of iron deficiency anemia from blood loss.
Let’s get super honest: Few things in life feel as good, as satisfying, and as downright cleansing as a good poop. Most of the time, your daily number two instantly makes you feel lighter, happier, more relieved, and less bloated (praise effing be).
But uh, what if your time in the bathroom doesn’t feel good? What if…it actually hurts?
“This is a pretty common complaint,” says Rabia De Latour, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health. “Unfortunately, many women feel embarrassed talking about these symptoms, so they go underreported and untreated. But trust me, it’s not uncommon at all.”
So, whew for that—but that still doesn’t explain why your poops hurt so damn much. Here’s what might be going on if you legit dread going to the bathroom. (And, as always, see your doctor or snag a gastroenterologist’s opinion if you’re experiencing any of this stuff on the reg.)
1. You have hemorrhoids.
There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. “A hemorrhoid is essentially a vein that’s inside your rectum and becomes dilated,” explains Dr. De Latour.
While both internal and external hemorrhoids can happen for many reasons, the most common reasons are weight gain and pregnancy, both of which lead to increased pressure and stress above the vein. “When the pressure builds in that area, the thin-walled veins around the rectum become dilated,” she says.
“Internal hemorrhoids shouldn’t be painful, though they may bleed,” she says. “But external hemorrhoids, which you’ll find on the edge of the anus, can be exquisitely painful and itchy.”
What to do:
The key to preventing hemorrhoids is to maintain a healthy weight, avoid rapid weight gain, and include plenty of fiber in your diet. The good news is that usually hemorrhoids aren’t serious or dangerous, and topical creams can help treat symptoms of external hemorrhoids (you’ll have to see your gastroenterologist for internal ones).
2. You have fissures.
A fissure is a tear in the skin of the anus. And if it sounds painful, well, that’s because it is. “That area of the body is very sensitive,” says Dr. De Latour.
These anal fissures can happen after local trauma, due to anything from passing a hard bowel movement, to engaging in anal sex, to giving birth vaginally, or even administering an enema incorrectly.
You’ll know you have an anal fissure if you experience pain during or after your bowel movements (poop passing by an open wound—serious ouch), if you see bright red blood accompanying your stool or on your toilet paper, or if you can visibly see a crack or tear in the skin surrounding the anus.
Although, it may be easier to enlist a doctor or very, very close loved one to assess the area for you, as it’s a tough region to inspect yourself. The best way to prevent fissures is to consume plenty of fiber so you have regular, easy bowel movements.
3. You’re constipated.
Constipation is most often caused by dietary factors: Either you’re not eating enough fiber or you’re not drinking enough water and are dehydrated.
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“If you’re dehydrated, your colon is going to suck up all the water from the stool it’s forming,” says Dr. De Latour. “As a result, you’re going to have hard, painful poops. And when that happens, it’s harder for them to pass through the anal canal.” When that happens, it can cause strain on the muscles in your pelvic area, resulting in pain.
Again, the primary solution is eating enough fiber and drinking plenty of water. If you’ve been backed up for a while and need a more intense intervention, stool softeners can help, she says (Dr. De Latour recommends Colace and Miralax), but they’re not a long-term solution.
4. You have proctitis.
Proctitis is a scary-sounding word for an inflamed rectum. It can be caused by ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (both inflammatory bowel diseases), sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and chlamydia, or inflammation from an enema you didn’t respond well to. The rectum is the last part of the colon before the anus, so when it’s inflamed, it’s harder for stool to pass through.
“The treatment depends on the cause,” Dr. De Latour says, so you’ll need to see a doctor to figure out why you’re experiencing inflammation. “With inflammatory bowel diseases, we may treat with anti-inflammatory medications,” she explains. “But if you have an infection, we’ll need to treat the infection itself, often with antibiotics.”
5. You have food sensitivities.
Also called food intolerances (think lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity or fructose sensitivity), these can cause painful poops, says WH advisor Samantha Nazareth, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City.
Lactose and fructose intolerance can be diagnosed through a breath test administered in a doctor’s office. Gluten intolerance is a little trickier to identify. Sensitivity usually comes to light after a person eliminates gluten for at least three weeks and reintroduces it to see if they have a reaction. Once you know if you have an intolerance, “avoid the offending agent,” says Dr. Nazareth.
6. You have skin issues.
Skin problems like psoriasis and eczema can occur around the anus (ouch), making it painful when poop passes your irritated, flaky and inflamed skin, says Dr. Nazareth.
These skin issues require the same kinds of treatment that they would anywhere on the body, says Dr. Nazareth, so see a dermatologist to get diagnosed. Topical creams and medications can make the skin surrounding the area less irritated.
7. You have an inflammatory bowel disease.
If you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or even irritable bowel syndrome, you probably experience excessive diarrhea. And thanks to a constant flow through the anal canal, you’re likely to end up with irritation and pain.
“Your gastroenterologist will want to give you an exam to test for abscesses and pus, which can be very painful,” Dr. De Latour says. If you’re diagnosed, there are various medication options you can try to ease IBS symptoms.
8. You’re just pooping a whole lot.
“Everyone, at some point, gets diarrhea,” Dr. De Latour says. “And if you have lots of bowel movements in a short period of time, you’re constantly wiping and cleaning the anal area, which will become irritated and sensitive.”
In this instance, she says to avoid topical creams and instead use a lot of water to keep the area clean. Excessive wiping will lead to further irritation (think of a baby getting diaper rash—this is the grown-up version of that), so be extra gentle with the area. (Now may be the time to hit up Amazon and invest in a bidet attachment for your toilet—seriously; it cuts down on wiping and cleanses the area with water. Win-win.)
9. You have endometriosis.
If you experience severely painful bowel movements during your menstrual cycle, that may be a sign of endometriosis.
“If this is the case, see your gynecologist,” Dr. De Latour says. “Some women with endometriosis have endometrial implants in their colon, which leads to pain and bleeding. It’s not that common, but it can happen.” In this case, your doctor is likely to prescribe medicine that can ease symptoms and recommend surgery to remove the foreign tissue from your colon.
10. You had anal sex recently—or unprotected anal sex even once.
If you’re new to anal sex, you may simply be sore from penetrating an area that’s new-to-you in the penetration department.
But Dr. De Latour says she sees “a fair share of patients” who contract rectal STDs from engaging in anal sex. “It can look like inflammatory bowel disease—then I find out they had unprotected anal sex and got chlamydia or syphilis,” which can cause localized inflammation, she says.
Basically, “always use protection, know your partner’s STD status, and avoid painful situations,” Dr. De Latour says. “If you feel pain, you may be causing trauma, so know and respect your limitations.” And if you’re experiencing IBS-like symptoms but not testing for it, mention any recent anal sex to your doc.
11. You have HPV, anal cancer, or rectal cancer.
First, you probably don’t. So don’t skip reasons one through 10 above and immediately assume your painful poop is a sign of cancer. But, Dr. De Latour says, there has been a recent increase in the United States of younger patients—ones in their thirties—presenting with rectal cancer. (And HPV can cause both cervical and anal cancer.)
“It’s a concerning epidemic, so keep your Spidey senses up,” Dr. De Latour says, and watch out for other symptoms with your painful poop, like noticeable weight loss, that might be a sign of a greater issue, and talk with your doc about any worries.
Kristin Canning Kristin Canning is the associate editor at Women’s Health, where she covers fitness, health, mental health, sex and relationships, nutrition, active travel and wellness entrepreneurs.
Why it hurts when you poop, and when to get help
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“In the past people had long-term relationships with their doctors and were more willing to to talk about their personal issues,” she explained. “But now we have a culture in younger people where they don’t have regular medical followups and when they see a doctor, it’s in an emergency setting or walk-in.”
She also added we rely too much on what we find online, often diagnosing ourselves before we even see a doctor. A quick search on “pain while pooping” can lead to articles about irritable bowel syndrome or cancer, which are rarer.
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Below, both experts help us determine the most common reasons why pooping can be a painful experience.
Constipation is common across all age groups and something that causes many symptoms. Marwaha said doctors often define it two ways. “One is that it’s a decrease in frequency in bowel movements, going less than three times a week,” she explained. “But we also use the second definition of passing a stool that is hard, even though that is not the medical definition.”
Often the terms are used interchangeably, but any type of irregularity from your unique pattern can be a cause of pain when you poop.
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Zenlea added constipation can also become chronic, where people shift back and forth between constant diarrhea to normal stools. “I would speak to an expert if there are bothersome symptoms like pain, bloating and definitely if there is blood.”
Diet can also play a role in making your poop irregular, and while it may not cause pain, it could lead to constipation or frequent bowel movements, which could eventually be painful to pass gas or stools.
“Certain high in fibre, caffeine and alcohol can make stool looser, as well as greasy food,” Zenlea said. She adds people with food intolerance like dairy or gluten may also experience irregular bowel movements. Story continues below advertisement
Hemorrhoids are also very common and some research suggests three in four adults will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lifetime, Marwaha added.
“You have blood vessels that supply and drain blood from the anus and rectum and they are kind of exposed,” she explained. adding they are sensitive to pressure or strain.
READ MORE: What the colour of your pee says about your health
“When the walls of the blood vessels are stretched, they become painful… you can probably see it or feel it when you wipe.”
A rectal exam can help determine whether or not you have hemorrhoids, but Marwaha said it is often the result of passing blood when you poop. “People that do activities that cause increased pressure in that area, like heavy weightlifters who squat or pregnant women .”
Trauma or anal fissure
An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus and it is very common in young children and adults. “This is also pressure based, after a long period of time you can get hemorrhoids,” she continued.
During childbirth, anal fissures are common or even after anal intercourse, which is considered trauma. And while they can be mild and go away on their own, if they are causing pain when you poop, talk to a doctor.
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