Anal pain — pain in and around your anus or rectum (perianal region) — is a common complaint. Although most causes of anal pain are benign, the pain itself can be severe because of the many nerve endings in the perianal region. Many conditions that cause anal pain may also cause rectal bleeding, which is usually more frightening than serious. It's rare for anal pain to be an indication of a more serious condition, such as cancer.
Your GP should be able to diagnose the cause of your pain after an inspection of your bottom or after a gentle rectal examination.
In many cases, the cause will either be:
- an anal fissure (tear),created by stool tearing the anus, which is generally an acute, sharp pain. There may be associated muscle spasm, resulting in prolonged pain over hours.
- a pile that contains a blood clot.
- an abscess, resulting from a bacterial infection, which may cause fever, night sweats and prolonged, constant pain.
- an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease, where there may be anal fissures and abscesses as well as inflammation in the rectum.
- a bone-related problem, such as coccydynia (pain from your tailbone) or referred pain from your lower back, pelvis or hips caused by arthritis or bone tumours.
- a urinary tract problem, such as prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate gland).
- tumor, such as cancer, which may produce progressively worsening pain.
- muscle spasm in the pelvis, which can produce a very sharp pain that often resolves quickly.
- fungal infection, which may create prolonged pain that is less severe than an abscess.
- anal ulcer, a kind of sore or raw area, which may be painful and can represent an infection.
- skin problem, such as psoriasis or dermatitis, which may cause itching or burning.
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