The digestive system, including the rectum and anus

What is anal pain?

Anal pain is pain that occurs in or around the anus and rectum (the last section of the large intestine that ends in the anus). Pain and bleeding from the rectum often accompany anal pain. People may feel embarrassed to ask their doctor about anal pain, but it is a common symptom of many different medical conditions and is usually easily treated.

What causes anal pain?

Many different conditions can cause anal pain. Most symptoms are minor and will go away quickly with treatment. In rare cases, anal pain is a symptom of a more serious condition, such as anal cancer.

Common causes of anal pain include:

  • Anal abscess: An infected cavity caused by a blockage of glands in the anus
  • Anal fistula: A small tunnel connecting the infected gland in the anus to an opening on the skin around the anus
  • Anal fissure: Small tear in the lining of the anus, like a paper cut
  • Hemorrhoids: Swollen veins in the rectum or anus
  • Infections: Bacteria or viruses, including fungal infections and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: Conditions such as Crohn’s disease (the intestine becomes inflamed and marked with sores) or ulcerative colitis (tiny ulcers in the colon and rectum that flare up periodically and cause bloody stools and diarrhea)
  • Levator ani syndrome: Muscle spasms and pain around the anus
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction: When the muscles of the pelvic floor don’t relax properly
  • Skin conditions: Disorders such as psoriasis and warts

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/14/2019.

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