Painful Bowel Movements

Bowel movements with pain can be the outcome of different underlying health conditions. Some of these conditions are relatively serious, while others are rather normal. You do not need to worry a lot about occasional bloating or the pain in bowel movements, but you should consult with your doctor if problem persists.

What Causes Painful Bowel Movements? How to Treat Them?

As mentioned, there can be many different causes of why you feel pain while having a bowel movement, and some of them are covered below.

1. Anal Fissure

In this condition, you develop small cuts in the skin lining the anus. Straining during bowel movements, childbirth, bouts of constipation or diarrhea may lead to anal fissure. They usually heal without any medical intervention, but if they persist, you may need surgery.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms include a visual tear on the anus, streaks of blood on stools, severe pain in the anal area during bowel movements, burning in the anal area, and a small lump of skin close to the anal fissure.

Treatment: Taking fiber supplements usually resolves the issue. Warm baths also help relieve irritation and relax the anal muscles.

You can use OTC ointments to relieve itching and pain. Topical pain relievers like Lidocaine are also quite effective. For serious cuts, you may need to take Botox injections into your anal sphincter for relief.

Surgery is required when other treatment options do not work.

2. Constipation

If you often feel constipated, you are more likely to have painful bowel movements. Everyone experiences constipation at some time, but you need to worry if the problem persists. The most common symptoms of constipation are straining during bowel movements, hard stools, stomachache with cramping, and bloody stools. You may also notice leaks of diarrhea-like stool between regular bowel movements.

Treatment: Be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water every day and add more fruits and veggies to your diet. Have warm liquids in the morning and eat bran cereal as well.

You can also take OTC stool softeners like Peri-Colace for relief. Avoid taking any laxative for more than a couple of weeks.

Prevention: Maintain a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber. Add whole-grain bread, legumes, and vegetables to your diet. Avoid caffeine and do not drink milk if that makes you feel constipated. Be active and exercise regularly. Be sure to use the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

You will experience altered bowel habits with pain and discomfort while passing stool. It is not a life-threatening condition but it may lead to colon conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or colon cancer.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, excess gas, abdominal pain, visible abdominal distension, painful bowel movements and harder or looser stools.

Treatment: Eliminate high-gas food and gluten from your diet. Take fiber supplements if required to control constipation. You can take OTC anti-diarrheal medications if you are more concerned about diarrhea. Some people also find relief from anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications. Medications such as LEvsin and Bentyl help relieve painful bowel spasms. If your symptoms include pain as well as depression, you may have to take tricyclic antidepressant for relief.

4. Proctitis

It refers to the inflammation of the lining of the rectum. To go out of the body, stool has to pass through the rectum but proctitis can make it difficult to pass properly. Proctitis causes pain and makes you feel that you need to have a bowel movement.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms of proctitis are rectal bleeding, rectal pain, diarrhea, a feeling of fullness in your rectum and painful bowel movements. You may also pass mucus through your rectum.

Treatment: You may have to take antibiotics if proctitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Sometimes, the condition is caused by inflammatory bowel disease that requires anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids, such as budesonide or prednisone. You may require surgery if medications do not work.

5. Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer refers to a small polyp grown inside your colon. A regular cancer screening will detect these polyps and growths. The most common symptoms of colon cancer are bleeding and a change in bowel habits. You may even have very thin stool with dark patches of blood. Other symptoms include abdominal discomfort, pelvic pain, unexplained fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite.

Treatment: Your doctor will determine the best treatment option considering the severity of your condition. The most common treatment options are radiation therapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery for rectal and colon cancer. For advanced rectal cancer, your doctor may recommend ablation or embolization. Sometimes, your doctor opts for a combination therapy and uses two or more types of treatment options for relief.

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