Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Rectal pain is pain or discomfort in the lower portion of the gastrointestinal tract. The term is often used interchangeably with pain in the anus or anal pain. It is a fairly common problem and can result from conditions such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Rectal pain can be associated with symptoms such as prolapse, pressure, or bleeding. Rectal or anal pain can also occur with inflammatory diseases of the bowel, localized infections, or minor injuries to the area. Some causes of rectal pain, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures, can be accompanied by other symptoms like blood in the stool or bleeding. Diarrhea or constipation may also be present. Cancers are a rare cause of rectal pain. Levator syndrome, also known as levator ani syndrome, is a spasm of the levator ani muscle that causes fleeting pain in the rectum. Proctalgia fugax is another term that refers to rectal pain occurring from muscle spasm.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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