Pain During Bowel Movements

woman on bed bent over in pain
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Pain is never pleasant, but pain during bowel movements can be especially anxiety-provoking. For one, there can be anticipatory anxiety because you know that at some point the next trip to the bathroom will be coming! Pain during bowel movements can also be worrisome due to a fear that there might be something seriously wrong with you. An occasional fleeting twinge might not be a big deal, but ongoing or severe pain is a sign that something is wrong and should not be ignored.

In this overview, we will discuss some of the more common causes of pain during bowel movements. However, do not self-diagnose. You must tell your doctor about your symptoms so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. No need to be embarrassed! You are just sharing information about some particular body parts so that your doctor can do a proper investigation of your symptoms.

Adominal Cramping and Pain During Bowel Movements

The following are two of the more common health conditions in which pain in the form of intestinal spasms and cramping is associated with bowel movements:

1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Pain associated with bowel movements is a hallmark symptom of IBS, although it is not known exactly what is behind this pain. According to the Rome III criteria for diagnosis, the pain of IBS should be relieved by a bowel movement. However, in the real world, IBS patients tend to experience pain before, during, and after their trips to the bathroom.

Other symptoms of IBS include constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, mucus in the stool and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.

Click here to learn more about the symptoms of IBS...

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Abdominal pain is also a symptom of the two inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The pain is a result of the inflammation that characterizes the two diseases. Other symptoms of IBD include blood and/or mucus in the stool, diarrhea, fever, and appetite and/or weight loss.

Click here to learn more about the symptoms of IBD...

Pain In the Anus During Bowel Movements

For some people pain during bowel movements has to do with the process of the stool making its way out of the body. Here are two of the more common reasons for this symptom:

1. Hemmorhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and rectum, most frequently caused by constipation. In addition to pain during bowel movements, other symptoms of hemorrhoids include rectal itching and the appearance of small amounts of bright red blood seen on toilet paper as you wipe. Even if you suspect that such blood is simply from a hemorrhoid, it is still essential to inform your doctor of the symptom.

Click here to learn all about the symptoms and treatment of hemorrhoids...

2. Anal Fissures

An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus.

Such tears most often are the result of the passage of hard stool. In addition to pain during a bowel movement, other symptoms of an anal fissure include itching and bright red blood on the stool. As with a hemorrhoid, it is important to tell your doctor about any pain or bleeding symptoms.

Click here to learn about the treatment of anal fissures...

For a list of the many possible causes of anal pain, see:

Bowel Movement Pain Associated with Your Period

If you are a woman and your experience of pain during bowel movements is accompanied by other gynecological symptoms, the problem may be endometriosis. Endometriosis is the result of endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus. There are a wide variety of symptoms of endometriosis, with pain during bowel movements being one of them. However, do not self diagnosis endometriosis! See your gynecologist.

Click here to learn about the overlap between endometriosis and IBS...

Click here to learn more about endometriosis...

Bowel Movement Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy does all sorts of weird things to your body. For some women, this includes a problem with pain during bowel movements. Why does this happen? Part of the problem may lie in the fact that hormonal changes associated with pregnancy affect the functioning and sensitivity of the intestines. Another factor may be that the weight of the developing fetus puts pressure on the organs of the digestive tract. These changes increase the risk of the following symptoms, all of which can result in the experience of pain during bowel movements:

  • Constipation
  • Increased gas and bloating
  • Hemorrhoids

Click here to learn more about intestinal symptoms during pregnancy...

For tips for dealing with specific intestinal symptoms during pregnancy, see:

Source:

Minocha, A. & Adamec, C. (2011) The Encyclopedia of the Digestive System and Digestive Disorders (2nd Ed.) New York:Facts on File.

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