Pain in the anus: when to consult?
A short lesson in express anatomy: the anus is the external orifice through which the digestive tract ends. It consists of a canal - which is 3 centimeters long on average - and sphincters. These muscles (there are two: the internal sphincter and the external sphincter, the second being the one that can be controlled voluntarily when "contracted") allow to control the opening and closing of the anus, including in the toilet, at the time of defecation.
A pain in the anus should never be ignored: because it can worsen and even lead to complications (for example, a superinfection, which can develop into anal fistula or intestinal pathology), it is necessary to consult your general practitioner or gastro- enterologist-proctologist in the shortest possible time ... despite the discomfort!
Pain in the anus: what can be the causes?
"A pain in the anal area may appear in many cases" says Dr. Alexandra Dalu, Small non-exhaustive list:
- Hemorrhoids. It is "the number one cause of anal pain: hemorrhoids - which affects 30% of French people and is more common after 45 years - occurs when hemorrhoids (these small blood vessels that are found both in the canal of anus and around folds of an orifice) dilate abnormally. This causes severe pain, burns and / or bleeding, aggravated by prolonged sitting or standing posture.
- Candidiasis. This infection is due to a fungus that develops especially in the digestive tract but can "migrate" to the anal region. Anal pain, itching and rashes are seen in the anal area.
- A bacterial infection. These include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis (which can cause sharp and round ulceration in the anus) or anorectal gonorrhea (which can lead to pain in the anus with bleeding and / or or purulence).
- The pinworm. This parasitic intestinal infection (caused by the parasite Enterobius vermicularis) is characterized by anal itching, anal pain, abdominal pain and / or diarrhea.
- Cancer of the anus In France, 900 cancers of the anus are diagnosed each year: this cancer (which should not be confused with colorectal cancer) represents less than 2% of digestive cancers. The main symptoms of anal cancer are: anal pain, bleeding from the anal area, persistent anal lesions and / or anal incontinence.
Anal pain can also be related to allergies (to a lubricant, a soap, a toilet paper ...) or toeczema (which remains rare in the anal region and will also be present in other parts of the body).
Anal pain: what we can do
A pain in the anus is both embarrassing ... and ashamed. When you suffer, you do not necessarily dare to make an appointment with a general practitioner or a gastroenterologist-proctologist: a mistake, because anal pain can quickly lead to complications!
"The anal area is filled with bacteria," says Dr. Alexandra Dalu, "so the risk of superinfection is very real, and in the worst case the appearance of a diffuse infection (such as sepsis) or, even worse, sepsis requiring hospitalization with emergency antibiotic infusion. "
Self-medication is to be avoided "Of course, if the pain is severe, you can take paracetamol while waiting for the doctor's appointment," says Dr. Dalu, "but if a lab sample is needed, it's better not to apply anything to the area - no cream, no ointment ... you have to wait for the opinion of a professional! "
How to prevent anal pain?
To prevent anal pain, it is first necessary to maintain a impeccable hygiene in the area: after defecation, we wipe properly with a soft and thick white toilet paper, we wash each day with a soap of personal hygiene or surgras (to buy in pharmacy or drugstore) without forgetting to spread a little inter-gluteal fold, and we change every day his underwear.
"Against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), only one protection: the condom, which is essential even for anal intercourse, and a balanced diet provides a real plus to protect your rectum.We consume at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day to promote a good transit and evacuation of the stool facilitated and we drink at least a bottle of water a day to accentuate the evacuation of toxins in the stool "advises Dr. Dalu.
Latest info: attention to anal trauma that can also cause pain. These can be particularly related to anal sex without sufficient lubrication; Intimate toys side, no question of recycling, we rather trust products specially dedicated to anal pleasure!
Thanks to Dr. Alexandra Dalu, ex-emergency physician, anti-aging doctor and nutritionist, author of The 100 received ideas that prevent you from going well (Albin Michel ed.)
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>>> Anal fissure: an affection of the current anus ...
>>> Intimate hygiene: 7 mistakes that we all make
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