Causes of Rectal Pain: Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Rectal pain is a common complaint, especially among women. The medical term for rectal pain is commonly referred to as proctalgia. There are many possible causes of rectal pain, including constipation, internal and external hemorrhoids. Other causes of rectal pain will be included in future articles.
Constipation can be caused by hormonal changes in pregnancy, and also from pain medications, antidepressants, iron tablets, antacids, and other types of drugs.
Constipation can also be caused by living a sedentary lifestyle, not eating enough fiber, and not drinking enough. Another primary cause of constipation may include poor bowel habits such as holding back the urge to defecate. Most of the time constipation caused by drugs induces hypomotility of the colon. Some conditions may cause hypermotility of the colon. A common name for hypermotility of the colon is called spastic colon.
Hypomotility of the colon is characterized by slow peristaltic waves in the colon; hypomotility causes the fecal material to stay in the colon for too long. Fecal material that stays too long in the colon will dry out and be trapped within the colon, making it difficult for defecation to occur.
Hypermotility of the colon is characterized by excessive peristaltic movements that lead to painful spasms. The lumen (inner passageway of the colon) narrows during periods of hypermotility, which causes the fecal material to become trapped inside the colon.
Hemorrhoids are swollen varicosities of the arterial blood vessels in the rectum and around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids are the same as external hemorrhoids, except that the internal ones are located inside the rectum. External hemorrhoids form at the lower portion of the rectum. Hemorrhoids form in the rectal arteries; bleeding that occurs with hemorrhoids is bright red because they contain arterial blood.
Hemorrhoids can be caused by chronic constipation. Oftentimes, people who suffer from hemorrhoids don’t eat enough dietary fiber. Prolonged sitting and straining when having a bowel movement can also be attributed to the formation of internal and external hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are very common in women during and after pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids are primarily caused by an increase in the arterial pressure in the rectal canal and around the anus. The presence of hemorrhoids can make it very difficult and painful to move the bowels. Aside from pain, you may also experience itching on the inside of the rectum and/or around the anus. If you feel a lump when wiping, you are most likely feeling an external hemorrhoid. Internal hemorrhoids cannot be felt with the fingers unless a digital examination is done.
I suffered greatly with internal hemorrhoids. My surgeon said I had 3rd degree internal hemorrhoids. I had surgery in the 1980s and that relieved my rectal pain. Over the years I have developed some external hemorrhoids, but they are not bothersome at the present time.
Trapped feces can get very dry within the colon. Some people who experience chronic constipation have very large fecal impactions. A fecal impaction can get so large that it is impossible or almost impossible to pass it. In some cases, constipation can lead to injury of the colon.
Moving your bowels through a passageway filled with internal and external hemorrhoids can feel like being cut with razor blades. The pain can be unbearable. If you are having pain when moving your bowels, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
If you suffer from constipation and/or hemorrhoids, it is important to limit the amount of animal fats and increase the amount of vegetables eaten. Diets concentrated with fats from eggs and meats may be lacking in dietary fiber. Ask your doctor or nutritionist about a healthy eating plan to promote colon health.