Rectal problems are health conditions relating to the rectum and anus.
The lower part of the large intestine is called the rectum, where the body stores stool. The anus is the lowest part of the digestive tract, where the stool passes prior to leaving the body. Both the rectum and anus are prone to problems with itching, bleeding and pain.
Rectal problems are very common ranging from minor to severe. Most rectal issues involve itching, bleeding or pain. Many of these can be treated at home and will go away in a short amount of time, while others need medical attention.
Itching is not usually considered serious and is normally caused by reactions to foods, soaps, or improper wiping after a bowel movement. Other causes of rectal itching are viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungus, pin worms or parasites.
Removing offensive foods like sugar, hot spices, coffee, wheat, alcohol, and changing to unscented soap and toilet paper can all help give you relief. Medicated hemorrhoid pads, topical creams and sitz baths also relieve itching. If none of these take care of the itching, you may need to see a doctor to rule out or treat infections.
Rectal bleeding is common and its causes range from minor to very serious.
Irritation to the rectal area, constipation, diarrhea, and small hemorrhoids are all causes of minor bleeding. Bleeding from these causes typically produce a small amount of blood that disappears after going to the bathroom.
Anal fissures, larger internal hemorrhoids, scratching, polyps, colitis and colon cancer all can cause severe bleeding. Bleeding can happen anywhere from the small and large intestines to the rectum and anus.
Generally speaking, bright red blood is usually produced by a condition close to the rectum, and darker red to black blood is from higher up in the digestive tract.
Certain supplements, medications and foods can alter the color of stools as well. Iron supplements, bismuth preparations like Pepto Bismol, beets, dark blue food coloring, and deep green vegetables can all cause the stool to change color.
Learn more in our article: What are Bleeding Hemorrhoids?
Rectal pain is almost always an indication that something is wrong. Often due to hemorrhoids, anal fissures and fistulas, rectal prolapses, abscesses, injuries, or infections, pain should be taken seriously.
Medical conditions that can cause rectal pain are diabetes, Crohn’s disease, lymphoma, ulcerative colitis, proctitis and radiation to the rectal area.
Rectal problems that involve fever, anal leakage that involves bleeding, stools that contain black and/or dark red blood, hemorrhoids that don’t respond to home treatment and pain that doesn’t go away are all cause for concern.
Rectal Problems Doctor
If you have tried home remedies to treat minor rectal problems and they don’t help, call a doctor specializing in rectal conditions. If hemorrhoids are the cause, they will suggest various types of banding procedures that will provide relief. If infections are the cause, they may suggest you take medication for the short term to eradicate the problem.
A physician that practices natural medicine in addition to traditional medicine will be able to suggest diet and lifestyle changes to prevent the problem from recurring.