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For most people, waking up in the morning and passing stools is a part of their daily routine. However, for someone who has been experiencing a burning sensation and acute discomfort in the anal area, this routine could turn into a nightmare. While some people can experience this symptom after having extremely spicy food, in some conditions, anal pain can become a recurring problem and significantly affect one s quality of life.
In fact, living with anal pain can start to feel a lot like sitting on a bed of thorns. Dr Prabha Sawant, head of the gastroenterology department at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital, Mumbai, tells us what the most common causes of anal pain are:
1. Anal fistula
An anal fistula is caused by an infection in an anal gland and other than anal pain, the symptoms include bleeding, discharge and pus from the anus. The most common type is perianal fistula, and the patient suffers from this condition after having an anal abscess where a boil-like swelling forms near the anus. In more severe cases, the patient will need to undergo surgery to drain the pus. Here s what you need to know about fistula treatment.
2. Anal fissures
Chronic constipation is the cause of an anal fissure, which is a crack or a small tear in the anal opening. This is caused due to excessive straining or while passing hard stools. In most cases, symptoms like pain, itching and bleeding during and after passing stools subside on their own within two to three weeks. However, in some cases patients might need to undergo surgery if they suffer from recurring fissures despite conventional treatment.
Hemorrhoids or piles cause swollen veins in the rectum and anal area. Like anal fissures, piles occurs due to constipation, diarrhea, excessive straining and pregnancy. Piles is the most common cause of anal pain and itching. These are the common mistakes that can aggravate piles or hemorrhoids.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease and in most cases, it is asymptomatic. However, in some cases, gonorrhea can cause rectal infection in men and women. The symptoms include pain and bleeding while trying to pass stools along with discharge and anal itching.
5. Anal spasms or proctalgia fugax
Proctalgia fugax is a condition that causes episodes of persistent rectal pain that patients describe as a sharp and stabbing pain down there. Patients could suffer from anal pain during night or daytime that lasts for up to 30 minutes and then subsides on its own.
6. Inflammatory bowel diseases
Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn s disease are known to cause anal pain. Other symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases include stomach aches, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and even rectal bleeding.
Proctitis is a severe inflammation of the rectum or the last section of the large intestine and anus. The inner lining of the rectum becomes inflamed and is caused by an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn s disease or ulcerative colitis, a sexually transmitted disease or even rough anal sex. Symptoms include anal pain, diarrhea, bleeding and mucous in the stools.
8. Anal cancer
Anal cancer is usually seen in men above 60. Unprotected anal sex and the HPV virus are known as risk factors for anal cancer and symptoms include a lump in the anus, change in bowel movement habits, anal pain, swelling and discharge from the anus.
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