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Introduction
The rectum is referred to the last couple of inches of the digestive tract and its opening to the outside is called anus. Rectal problems can occur in both men and women. Most of these problems are treatable as long as they are detected early and properly diagnosed. It highly recommended that patients suffering from rectal pain or bleeding to visit the doctor as soon as possible.

Rectal Problems in Women
Some of the common rectal problems that affect women are:

Hemorrhoids
This is a medical condition that occurs in the anal region due to swollen veins. Hemorrhoids usually appear either inside the rectum or under the skin surrounding the anus. They can arise from a number of problems, like straining during bowel movement, anal sex, obesity, low-fiber diet or constipation.

The doctor diagnose this condition by,

  • Physical Examination
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Fistulography

The doctors treat patients with hemorrhoids by any of the following treatment options,

  • Non-Surgical Treatment options, which include creams and suppositories, fiber-rich diet and specific exercises.
  • Surgical Treatment options are usually recommended when the hemorrhoids bleed excessively or are very painful. Some of the surgical procedures opted by doctors are:
    • Banding
    • Sclerotherapy
    • Infrared Coagulation
    • Radiofrequency Ablation
    • Hemorrhoidectomy

Anal Fissure

This medical condition is usually caused when the lining of the anus tears due to constipation. The doctor diagnoses anal fissure by external examination of the anal region, or by using the anoscope to check the extent of the tear.

The doctor would recommend a high-fiber diet for a regular bowel movement. Some other treatment options include,

  • Stool Softeners
  • Creams and Suppositories
  • Nitroglycerine ointment

Anal Abscess or Fistula
This is a medical condition where a sack of pus is formed near the anal region. The doctor usually treats this condition with the help of antibiotics and surgical drainage.

Patients suffering from anal abscess experience pain and swelling. The doctor might prescribe medications if the fistula is caused by Crohn’s disease or surgical intervention might be recommended if required.

Fecal Incontinence
This is the medical condition where the patient suffers from accidental stool loss. The common causes of Fecal Incontinence are:

  • Back Trauma
  • Sphincter Disruption due to accidents
  • Anorectal Surgery
  • Obstetrical Trauma
  • Ailments like Multiple Sclerosis, and Diabetes Mellitus etc

The doctor performs the diagnosis by examining the patient’s anorectal area for any changes, scarring, fissures or rectal protrusion. Some of the other diagnostic tests used for confirming the diagnosis are:

  • Anal Manometry: measures the pressure generated by the resting anal sphincter muscles and at maximal squeeze effort.
  • X-Rays: will help in identifying the physical abnormalities of muscle function.
  • Ultrasound: can help in evaluating the muscles and other structures of the anal area.

The doctor might suggest the following as treatment options for this condition:

  • Dietary changes: would include,
    • Avoid foods that can produce gas
    • Avoid foods with lactose, fructose, and sorbitol
    • Fiber supplements are recommended to help the bowel movement and improved control.
  • Medications: like Loperamide might help decrease stool volume and frequency.
  • Biofeedback: is a conditioning technique where the patients are taught to strengthen the sphincter muscles.
  • Surgery: is usually considered if rectal prolapse is the cause.


Rectal Pain
This is usually caused due to other medical conditions like hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulas or abscess.

In some cases, the aching rectal pain might be related to the spasm of the pelvic floor muscles and is called Levator Syndrome. The left side is usually the more tender area. The doctor will inspect the area to confirm the diagnosis to exclude inflammation or any infection. The doctor might opt for the following to treat this condition:

  • Apply heat
  • Massage locally
  • Electro-galvanic stimulation will break the spasm pain cycle. A high voltage-pulsed current is passed using a rectal probe.
  • Biofeedback might be recommended for some patients.

Pain in the tailbone, also called Coccygodynia, is another cause for rectal pain. It could result from traumatic arthritis or childbirth. This pain is usually triggered by bowel movements. Tumors of the spine, pelvis and rectum and endometriosis have also been associated with rectal pain.

Pruritus Ani

This is referred to as the itching sensation that is present around the anal region. Patients usually experience them after a bowel movement and they are often troublesome, especially at night.

Some of the causes of Pruritus Ani are:

  • Excessive wiping or cleaning of the anal region.
  • Excessive sweating of the anal region
  • Alcohol, citrus and other drinks with caffeine

Some of the ways that can be used to treat this disease are:

  • Avoid soaps that contain perfumes
  • Avoid excessive rubbing or scratching the affected area
  • Use a moist washcloth to gently blot the area clean
  • Keep the area dry
  • Avoid foods and beverages like coffee, alcohol and spicy foods to prevent aggravation
  • Apply a paste with zinc oxide and menthol to protect the perianal skin and to reduce itching.

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