Rectal pain (or anal pain) is a common, but irritating, complaint that one in four Americans experiences. It isn’t always a sign of a serious condition though. Just to be safe, make an appointment with S. Radi Shamsi, MD, of Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Shamsi will evaluate any prolonged instances of rectal pain or rectal bleeding you have, to help determine its cause and provide you with treatment.
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 has 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.
The cause of your rectal pain will usually determine the symptoms you’re having. Most hemorrhoids only produce mild itching and discomfort, for instance. But if a clot forms in the hemorrhoidal tissue, severe pain can result.
If you have an anal fissure — which is a small cut or tear in the lining of your intestine or colon — there's often a sharp pain when the fissure forms. Eventually, this becomes a dull, aching pain. An anal fissure will cause sharp pain during bowel movements, and you’ll sometimes have blood in your stool, on the tissue, or in the toilet bowl.
Most causes of rectal pain (or anal pain) can be diagnosed through a visual examination done by Dr. Shamsi during a quick office visit. If additional tests are needed or indicated, he’ll let you know. Usually they aren’t necessary.
Surgery, expensive medicines, or other costly treatments can often be avoided once Dr. Shamsi has determined the cause of your anal discomfort. Depending on the source, some over-the-counter medications may be recommended. Sometimes treatment such as sitz baths, modifying your diet — to include more fiber-rich foods — or the use of stool softeners, can all be done at home.
If necessary to relieve hemorrhoid discomfort, Dr. Shamsi may need to perform a procedure, such as an infrared coagulation (IRC), during a quick office visit. He might prescribe certain medications that are compounded by a specialized pharmacy. After your examination, he’ll provide you with full details about how to best treat your condition and how to prevent any reoccurrence.