Are you experiencing painful bowel movements, but you don’t know why? Before you feel embarrassed or worried, understand that pain during bowel movements is quite common.
Most individuals will experience painful bowel movements at some point in their lives. If it is a one-time or isolated event, you likely don’t need to be overly concerned. However, if you would describe most of your bowel movements as painful, there could be an underlying cause.
What Can Cause Painful Bowel Movements?
There are a variety of potential causes for painful bowel movements. It’s important to always consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any kind of pain or discomfort. Below are some of the more common causes of pain during bowel movements.
Constipation and Diarrhea
On occasion, we eat something that doesn’t agree with us, have unusual amounts of stress, improper hydration, a break in our normal routine, and/or other event that can cause a bout of constipation or diarrhea. Painful bowel movements can accompany both diarrhea and constipation, but if you experience consistent constipation or diarrhea it’s always important to consult with your physician to determine the root cause.
Food intolerance, also known as food allergies, are a common culprit behind painful bowel movements. Two of the more common food sensitivities are lactose and gluten. Keep a food diary to track what foods you eat and whether or not you experience pain while moving your bowels to determine any correlation. Consult with your doctor to investigate potential food sensitivities or allergies.
Hemorrhoids occur when there are swollen veins around the anus. This can be caused by prolonged periods of sitting, straining when having a bowel movement, pregnancy, or weight gain.
A fissure is when you get a tear in the skin of the anus; when passing a bowel movement, and it can be very painful. Fissures are most common from passing hard stool, a local trauma, or giving birth.
Proctitis / Anusitis
Proctitis (inflammation in the rectum) and anusitis (inflammation of the anus) have similar symptoms to hemorrhoids. However, proctitis and anusitis are generally caused by conditions such as ulcerative colitis, STIs or STDs, colon infections, or the consumption of certain medications or foods.
Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
If you are suffering from pain before, during, and after a bowel movement as well as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and incomplete emptying of the bowel, you may be suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS). Consult your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Side Effects from Other Medical Issues
There is a wide range of medical conditions that can have painful bowel movements as a side effect. These include (but are not limited to) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”), Endometriosis, certain skin conditions, and some cancers. Before jumping to the conclusion that you have one of these more serious medical issues, it is essential to consult a physician.
Treatment Options for Painful Bowel Movements
It’s understandable that you want relief from painful bowel movements as soon as possible! Always consult with your physician first to be sure you’re on the right track for symptom relief and treatment.
There are also steps that you can take at home to promote healthy bowel movements, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight;
- Eating plenty of fiber;
- Be aware of food intolerances;
- Staying hydrated throughout the day;
- Having a regular fitness routine;
- Avoiding sitting for extended periods of time without a break; and
- Proper use stool softeners when needed.
The DocuSol® and DocuSol® Plus Advantage
DocuSol® mini-enema delivers 283mg of docusate sodium and functions as a stool softener hyperosmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, softening the stool and promoting a bowel movement.
For people with painful bowel movements, DocuSol® Plus also contains 20mg of benzocaine, assisting in the anesthetization of the rectum and lower bowel. The formulation was developed for patients who experience hemorrhoids, fissures, or painful bowel movements.
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