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Pain in your butt

When the discomfort or itch in your anus becomes a life-disrupting one, it is time to seek medical attention.

It is natural to be worried if you have discomfort, itching, pain or bleeding in your anal area. First of all, these are uncomfortable sensations – there’s no getting around that. And secondly, you are probably wondering, “What is going on down there?”

Many patients will almost at once assume that they have haemorrhoids (more commonly known as ‘piles’) which are causing these symptoms, but it is important to know that there are other possible culprits, such as anal fissures and anal fistula.

Recognising anal fissures

Anal fissures – or tears in the lining of the anal canal – can happen to anyone, but there are definitely factors that increase your risk. For example, superficial fissures are common and may be due to hard stools and straining on the toilet. These undesirable habits usually form in childhood and must be stopped as they can put stress on your body and lead to these tears. In the case of superficial fissures, they are shallow and only skin deep. While they may cause severe pain during bowel movements, they typically last for several days to a week. Some of these may, however, persist and deepen to cause deep fissures.

Deep fissures result when the anal tear is deep and the anal muscle spasm is severe. This results in a local drop in blood circulation and a non-healing wound.

If you suspect that you are suffering from a deep anal fissure, seek medical advice from a specialist immediately. Do not try to self-medicate by increasing your intake of fibre; doing so will only aggravate this problem.

Understanding anal fistula

If you are experiencing constant pain in the anal region that is accompanied by swelling and itchiness, you may have an anal fistula. Other symptoms include fever and pus discharge.

There is nothing that you can do to prevent this condition. Fistula is a condition in which organs or vessels in your body form abnormal passageways. For example, a connection could form between the anus and vagina.

Anal fistula symptoms are unpleasant at best and lifechanging at worst. But the good news is that this condition is highly treatable. The common treatment methods include antibiotics, applying special glues to seal up the fistula or using plugs made of collagen to close the abnormal passageways. There are also different types of surgical methods, including minimally invasive options. As there is no one-size-fitsall solution, it is best to go for a clinical inspection and let your specialist draw up a treatment plan for you.

Early detection, better quality of life

Although pain in the backside is not a common problem, the symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life. Delaying treatment can also lead to complications that may eventually require expensive treatments. For instance, if left alone, an anal fistula can lead to nerve damage, organ failure and a chronic cycle of infections. Since most of the conditions can be easily resolved with medical attention, take action if you recognise one or more of the symptoms. The pain in your butt need not linger for longer than you have already endured.