February 7, 2024

Causes of Painful Bowel Movements

Painful bowel movements are never normal or something you have to live with; in many cases these conditions are easily treatable. Common culprits include constipation, anal fissures and hemorrhoids as potential culprits of such discomfort.

Constipation occurs when your stool becomes hard, dry and bulky. It can be caused by medication, not eating enough fiber, living an inactive lifestyle, pregnancy and sudden changes to diet or routine such as traveling; and food sensitivities or allergies like lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. If you're having difficulty on the toilet, adding over-the-counter dietary fiber such as Metamucil(r), MiraLAX(r), Citrucel(r) or Benefiber(r). Additionally, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly for best results.

Anal fissures are small cuts on your anus that may lead to pain and bleeding when straining for a bowel movement or sitting for too long on the toilet, and may also be caused by inflammation-related conditions or infections.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in or around your anus and rectum that cause itching and pain during bowel movements, with increased incidence in overweight, pregnant or elderly individuals over 50. Though painful and itchy, hemorrhoids are generally easy to treat using over-the-counter medicines and at-home treatments.

Other sources of pain during bowel movements could be more serious, including bloody or tarry stool from colon cancer. If this is happening to you, consult your doctor immediately.

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