Managing Rectal pain

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Rectal pain, also known as anal pain refers to discomfort near or around the anus. The pain is often caused due to inflammation, injury or infection. The most common cause of anal pain is haemorrhoids.

Symptoms such as anal discharge, bleeding, swelling and redness are common in people suffering from rectal pain. Doctors often treat anal pain through cold compresses, antibiotics in case of infection, stool softeners and recommending a high fibre diet to promote proper bowel movements.

Important Note: The material posted on this page on managing rectal pain is for learning purposes only. Always consult your doctor when managing any serious medical emergency. For more information about serious medical emergencies and how to recognize and manage them enrol in workplace approved first aid training programs.


Causes of rectal pain commonly include:

  • Anal fissure
  • Anal cancer
  • Anal injury
  • Infection
  • Cellulitis
  • Perianal abscess
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Foreign body in the rectum
  • Herpes genitalis infection

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms that may indicate rectal pain include:

  • Anal discharge
  • Anal bleeding
  • Anal redness and anal swelling
  • Anal tenderness
  • Constipation
  • Pain that worsens while passing stool or making bowel movements
  • Mild rectal bleeding – stool may be blood-streaked or toilet tissues may show blood after wiping


Seek medical help if rectal pain is persistent, if you notice blood in the stool or if you experience persistent bleeding from the rectum or anus.

Follow the given treatment steps until you see your doctor and check if symptoms improve after homecare treatment.

Home treatment involves relieving pain. To reduce rectal pain, follow these steps:

  • Soak in warm water baths
  • Every time you make bowel movements, use a moist toilet paper or pad and gently pat the area
  • To reduce pain, you may take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • If you suspect you may have hemorrhoids, consult your doctor and take over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream under your doctor’s consent
  • If you notice anal fissures – splits or cracks around the opening, use over-the-counter hydro-cortisone cream

When to seek medical attention

See your doctor if any of the following problems occur:

  • Anal pain and skin redness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anal swelling
  • Black  or red stool
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Pain while urinating
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Worsening rectal pain
  • Fever of over 101 degrees F or 38.3 C

Your doctor will treat your condition depending on the cause of the rectal pain. After an exam, your doctor may advise certain creams for treatment. He will also recommend a few lifestyle changes, which include dietary changes in order to prevent further cases of rectal pain or bleeding.

Sometimes, surgery and other treatment may be required in case of complication conditions.


Prevention of rectal pain include following the given steps:

  • Do not strain while making bowel movements
  • Do not rush in the bathroom and give yourself plenty of time
  • Use a soft, moist baby wipe or toilet paper to gently wipe yourself after bowel movements
  • Drink plenty of water every day
  • Take plenty of dietary fibre and take fibre supplements
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take stool softeners

Learn More

To learn about serious medical emergencies and preventing disease transmission during first aid enrol in workplace approved training programs (more information).

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The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
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