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Rectal Pain - When to Seek Medical Attention

Rectal Pain - When to Seek Medical Attention

Rectal pain is a common complaint that most often develops as a minor irritation. In some situations, however, the pain can be severe. There are numerous potential causes for pain in the rectum, and the majority are not serious. There is, however, is a slight risk that a severe underlying condition could cause rectal pain. As a result, it is important to seek prompt medical attention for the pain that is severe or does not go away in a reasonable amount of time.

Causes of Rectal Pain

In the vast majority of cases, the cause of rectal pain is not serious. The most common causes include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, proctalgia fugax, and levator anti syndrome. These conditions affect the anus and can cause sporadic pain. In many cases, pain caused by these conditions can be managed using home remedies. Most patients experience pain that is sudden and intense but goes away quickly. Patients with hemorrhoids may only experience mild discomfort unless the blood within the hemorrhoid clots. Clotting will cause stabbing or throbbing pain that may last up to 4 days.

Underlying Conditions

In rarer cases, rectal pain may be caused by underlying conditions that are more severe in nature. Severe conditions are known to cause pain in the rectum to include infection, inflammatory bowel disease, rectal prolapse, and cancer. Foreign objects lodged in the rectum will also cause pain, and the situation may become dangerous if the object cannot be removed right away. When left untreated, these conditions can lead to severe complications.


Doctors can often diagnose the cause of rectal pain through a visual or digital examination of the area. The patient's medical history may also aid in reaching a diagnosis. In severe cases or when bleeding is present, and a source cannot be detected during an examination, additional testing may be needed. Doctors may perform colonoscopies or utilize diagnostic imaging procedures when reaching a diagnosis.

Treatment Options 

The treatment options for rectal pain vary depending upon the cost. Doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs to ease symptoms. They may also recommend stool softeners. In limited cases, a simple procedure known as a sphincterotomy may be needed. When serious conditions like cancer are present, additional treatments and procedures are usually necessary. When treating severe causes of rectal pain, early detection guarantees the best possible prognosis. Therefore it is important to seek prompt medical attention when it is suspected that rectal pain may be caused by something serious.