Anal pain can affect the area in or around your bottom (anus) or back passage (rectum). Anal pain is sometimes accompanied by rectal bleeding and can be distressing.

By Wallace Health I Medically reviewed by Adrian Roberts.
Page last reviewed: October 2018 I Next review due: October 2021


Anal pain, which is also known as proctalgia, is a common complaint which can affect anyone, at any age.

Anal pain is often caused by a minor condition and often goes away on its own. You’ll usually be able to relieve the pain yourself but if not, your GP will be able to offer treatment.

Causes of anal pain

Anal pain causes include:

  • Haemorrhoids (piles) – swellings inside or around your anus which can also make your anus itchy, sore and red and can sometimes cause bleeding after passing a stool
  • Anal fissure – a tear in the skin tissue that lines the opening of your bottom which usually causes sharp, severe anal pain after a bowel movement
  • Anal abscess – a painful swelling containing infected liquid with swelling and redness
  • Anal fistula – an infected tunnel that develops between your anus and your rectum which can cause throbbing, constant pain, swelling and itchy skin around your anus

Occasionally, other anal pain causes include:

  • Digestive system symptoms and conditions, including constipation, diarrhoea and Crohn’s disease
  • An infection or urinary tract problem
  • Coccydynia – a painful tail bone
  • Anal sex
  • Some rare cancers

Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about symptoms.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

Getting a diagnosis for anal pain

See your GP if you have anal pain which:

  • Has lasted for several days
  • Is severe or getting worse
  • Is accompanied by rectal bleeding, fever, a change in your bowel habits or anal discharge

Your GP will ask about your symptoms, any pain after a bowel movement and your general health. To help with diagnosis, your GP may examine your anus and carry out a rectal examination.

Your GP may refer you for further investigations or to a consultant, such as a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon.

Treatments for anal pain

To help relieve anal pain, try:

  • Ensuring your diet is full of fibre, taking regular exercise and drinking lots of water
  • Having warm baths, especially if you have anal pain after a bowel movement
  • Taking over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol and, if you have haemorrhoids, a haemorrhoid cream or, for anal fissures, hydrocortisone cream

Depending on the cause, your GP may recommend:

  • Laxatives, a special cream or medication for an anal fissure
  • Minor surgery to remove painful haemorrhoids
  • Antibiotics or surgical draining for an anal abscess
  • Surgery for an anal fistula

If another underlying condition is responsible for your anal pain, your GP or consultant will recommend treatment depending on your diagnosis.

Get in touch


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