Anal pain: Causes, differentiation, treatment, and prevention

Written by: Mr Amir Ghanbari
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Anal pain, though often dismissed as a minor discomfort, can signal underlying health issues that require attention. From the sharp sting of an anal fissure to the persistent ache of anal cancer. In his latest online article, Mr Amir Ghanbari helps us understand the causes, differentiation, treatment options, and prevention measures for anal pain.

What are the common causes of anal pain?

The primary culprit behind anal pain is often an anal fissure, a tear in the skin surrounding the anus. This condition manifests as sharp, severe pain similar to passing glass during bowel movements, persisting for hours afterward. However, several other conditions can contribute to anal pain, including infections like abscesses or fistulas, thrombosed prolapsed haemorrhoids, perianal haematomas, or even anal cancer, characterised by persistent discomfort. It's imperative not to overlook anal pain, as it could indicate a more serious underlying health problem.


How can I differentiate between haemorrhoids and other causes of anal pain?

While haemorrhoids typically present with heavy bleeding rather than pain, prolapsed or thrombosed haemorrhoids can induce discomfort. To accurately differentiate between haemorrhoids and other causes of anal pain, a thorough examination by a colorectal specialist is necessary. Misdiagnosis is not uncommon, leading patients to receive treatments for haemorrhoids when they may actually be suffering from conditions like anal fissures, necessitating entirely different treatment approaches.


What are the available treatment options for anal pain?

Treatment for anal pain varies depending on the underlying diagnosis. It may involve topical creams, laxatives, or surgical interventions such as abscess or haematoma drainage. In cases of anal fissures, Botox injections are sometimes utilised to alleviate symptoms. However, the appropriate treatment can only be determined through proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional.


Is anal pain a symptom of a serious medical condition?

Anal pain can stem from both benign and malignant conditions, highlighting the importance of seeking medical evaluation. Consulting a colorectal specialist is crucial for accurate diagnosis and timely initiation of the correct treatment regimen. Ignoring anal pain can lead to the progression of underlying conditions, potentially compromising one's health.


How can I prevent anal pain from recurring?

Preventing recurrent anal pain largely hinges on addressing its underlying cause. Embracing a high-fibre diet and avoiding constipation and straining are general recommendations to avoid conditions like anal fissures, thrombosed haemorrhoids, or perianal hematomas. However, individualised preventive measures may be necessary based on the specific diagnosis.


Mr Amir Ghanbari is an esteemed colorectal surgeon. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Ghanbari on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Amir Ghanbari
Colorectal surgery

Mr Amir Ghanbari is a highly respected consultant colorectal and general surgeon based in London. He specialises in treatment for colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases and rectal bleeding. He is also expert in performing haemorrhoid and hernia surgery as well as gallbladder procedures.

Mr Ghanbari was awarded a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree from the University of Dundee in 2002. He then went on to complete further training in surgery in London and the East Midlands, including a specialist fellowship in inflammatory bowel disease. He was appointed consultant colorectal surgeon at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital and has since returned to London. He is clinical director for the general surgery department and colorectal lead at Homerton University Hospital and also sees patients privately at The Princess Grace Hospital and The London Independent Hospital

Mr Ghanbari is a leading educator in his field and instructs on courses for medical trainees on basic surgical skills and caring for the critically ill. Additionally, he lectures and supervises medical students as part of their training. He has written numerous academic papers and maintains an active interest in research. He also shares his expertise at national and international meetings with fellow surgeons.

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