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Rectal problems are common. Almost
everyone will experience some rectal itching, pain, or bleeding at some time
during his or her life. These problems are often minor and may go away on their
own or with home treatment.
Rectal itching (pruritus) is usually
not a sign of a serious disease. At first, the skin of the
anal area may appear red. Itching and scratching may
make the skin become thickened and white. Common causes of rectal itching
Rectal pain may be caused by diarrhea,
constipation, or anal itching and scratching. Rectal pain caused by these
conditions usually goes away when the problem clears up.
common causes of rectal pain include:
Many people have small amounts of
rectal bleeding. Irritation of the rectum from diarrhea or constipation, a
small hemorrhoid, or an anal fissure can cause a small amount of bright red
blood on the surface of the stool or on the toilet paper. Hemorrhoids and anal
fissures usually occur after straining during a bowel movement because of
constipation. This type of bleeding can cause pain during a bowel movement and
does not make the toilet water bloody. It is not serious if there is only a
small amount of blood and the bleeding stops when the diarrhea or constipation
stops. Home treatment is usually all that is needed.
occur anywhere in the digestive tract. The blood is digested as it moves
through the digestive tract. The longer it takes the blood to move through the
digestive tract, the less it will look like blood. Often blood that is caused
by bleeding in the stomach will look black and
tarry. A tarry stool has a black, shiny, sticky appearance and looks like
tar on a road. Blood that has moved quickly through the
digestive tract or that begins near the rectum may appear red or dark red.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
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Home treatment for rectal itching
depends on the cause of the itching.
Try these home treatment
measures for the following causes of anal itching:
To control itching, try the
When you have rectal bleeding, do
aspirin and other
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin
and other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can cause bleeding in the digestive tract,
which can increase the amount of
blood in your stools. These medicines can also make
bleeding hemorrhoids bleed more. If you need to use something for pain, try
acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
bleeding can be caused by constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
To prevent rectal problems:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
April 14, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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