Proctalgia is the common name for pain that usually affects the anus, as well as the projection area of the rectum. Typically, pain causes spasms of the rectum, the cause of which can serve as a variety of pathologies affecting the organ.
Types of pathology
Cramping spasms may also be known as colic. Colic is found in several common types:
- Primary volatile – this means that the spasm in the rectum has a spontaneous abrupt onset and also spontaneously and unreasonably comes to naught. Maximum volatile colic lasts for several hours, but it is not possible to get rid of them with the help of painkillers. The causes of this symptom are often not established.
- Secondary ones are colic, which develops as symptoms of any disease of the gastrointestinal tract, be it hemorrhoids, anal fissures, tumor tumors of the rectum or anything else.
- In women, colic can result from the irradiation of pain caused by endometriosis of the uterus.
Depending on the type of pathology, the treatment is selected, as it is often not enough just to remove the spasm, it is necessary to control the relapse of the pathology.
Spasm in the rectum can be a faithful companion of a large number of diseases. The most common causes of cramping symptoms may be as follows:
- Anal fissure – as the reason for the appearance of colic, occurs most often. And neither aged people nor small children are insured against it. Pathology occurs in all age groups, if there are factors provoking its development.
- Paraproctitis can also be the reason why muscle spasm develops in the rectum, especially if the anal glands are inflamed, located close to the anus, and the person aggravates the situation by combing the itchy spot early on.
- Injuries to hemorrhoidal lumps – in this case, sharp pains most often occur when trying to go to the toilet and empty the intestines, since large nodes with a delicate mucous membrane are easily injured by solid feces. Pain can also occur due to pinching or thrombosis of the nodes.
- An anal muscle spasm is a pathology that rarely develops separately from any concomitant disease. It is more often perceived as a syndrome of a disease, and not as an independent disease.
- Coccygodynia – in this case, the characteristic pain symptoms develop in a person in response to a contusion or another injury of the coccyx. This condition is aggravated, usually in a sitting position.
- Hematoma in the anus – this pathology occurs if the injury causes damage to the vein that supplies blood to the anus. In most cases, the symptoms of the disease disappear without treatment.
- An ulcer in the rectum is a rather rare pathology, which, however, cannot be written off. Usually in this case, the pain is combined with the development of bleeding each time the ulcer is injured by feces or other effects.
- Prostatitis, which occurs in men, can cause pain and spasm of the intestinal muscles, as pain has irradiating features.
- Ovarian cyst – a pathology peculiar to women. With a cyst, pain can radiate and provoke the formation of such a symptom as colic in the intestine.
It is necessary to be attentive to the causes of pathology, since most often it is impossible to get rid of recurrent spasm of the rectum until it is possible to identify and eliminate the cause.
Idiopathic colic is quite rare, and in order to make such a diagnosis, a doctor must rule out other possible causes of the onset of characteristic symptoms.
Spasm in the rectum can develop for various reasons and many other symptoms may accompany it. The following symptoms can often be found in patients with pain:
- complaints of flatulence;
- increased gas separation;
- diarrhea or constipation;
- discharge from the anus, having a slimy or bloody appearance and others.
Describing pain, patients can give it a completely different characteristic, ranging from dull aching pain and ending with strong short attacks.
Particular attention is paid to bowel spasm if, in the background of frequent complaints of this symptom, weight loss, loss of appetite, exhaustion and metabolic disorders also develop – in such cases the doctor first of all assesses the risk of developing a tumor.
Much says not only the characteristic of the pain itself, but also the characteristic of its intensity and duration. It is also important where the spasm gives an unpleasant feeling, and whether it is primary or has arisen against the background of any other pathology.
For example, sphincter spasm, which is characteristic as a symptom for many diseases, can be expressed in the following manifestations:
- painful attacks are acute, with irradiation to the anterior abdomen, in the perineum, in the coccyx region is often observed;
- attacks can develop, both in response to attempts to empty the intestines, and independently, without any objective reason (most often in this case, the effect of stress factors on the body affects);
- attacks can be weakened or stopped completely by lowering the perineum with the anus in warm water, since the action of warm water relaxes the muscles and leads to self-withdrawal of spastic pathology;
On the other hand, for example, complaints of persistent pain in the abdomen with irradiation to the rectum may indicate the development of such diseases as:
- non-specific ulcerative colitis (UC);
- irritable bowel syndrome.
How to diagnose
Physical examination of the patient
Examination of the patient necessarily begins with a detailed collection of complaints and anamnesis of life. In this case, the doctor draws attention to the nature of the diet, the presence of bad habits in the patient, especially the daily regimen. On the other hand, the transferred diseases described by the patient are evaluated, and it is recommended to pay maximum attention to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and the urogenital system.
After anamnesis is collected, a physical examination begins, which makes it possible to assess the general condition of the patient, as well as to study the rectal area in more detail, after conducting a digital rectal examination and a simple visual examination.
Doctors, in order to assess the condition of the intestinal walls, can use sigmoidoscopy, collonoscopy and irrigoscopy.
A radiography of the abdominal organs is required for review. If on the X-ray immediately it is possible to note any deviations from the norm, the images can be repeated using contrasting to clarify the diagnosis.
The mandatory stage of the diagnostic search is the delivery of blood and urine, as well as feces. When a stool is taken, they are analyzed for the presence of hidden blood, which helps diagnose bleeding.
The patient is diagnosed on the basis of the data obtained after the examination, as well as after assessing the symptoms of pathology.
The method of treatment of spasm of the rectum is chosen by the doctor after diagnosis
Naturally, treatment can not be built only on the elimination of muscle spasm of the rectum. After the diagnosis, first of all, treatment of the disease that provoked the development of characteristic symptoms begins.
For example, in hemorrhoids, the treatment tactics largely depends on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, the patient is only given advice on lifestyle, and as hemorrhoids progress, medication therapy may be prescribed or surgery performed.
If we are talking about a fissure of the anal intestine, then the doctor will most likely prescribe local wound healing and antibacterial agents, as well as be sure to normalize the patient’s stool.
In each case, the decision on the methods of therapy should be made independently, taking into account the recommendations received from the coloproctologist.
It is not recommended symptomatically to treat spasm of the rectal muscles, since this symptom can be a sign of a large number of diseases, some of which may well be fatal if the treatment approach is not correct.