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What is Proctalgia Fugax?

Proctalgia fugax is a condition characterized by sudden intense pain in the region around the anus which usually lasts for a few seconds. The pain is sporadic and can occur without warning. This condition is also known as functional recurrent anorectal pain.

Causes of Proctalgia Fugax

The anal pain occurs as a result of muscles in the anal canal and pelvic floor contracting or going into a spasm suddenly, but the exact cause of the muscle spasms is unclear. Sexual activity, stress, constipation, passing stools, and menstruation can trigger the condition.

Symptoms of Proctalgia Fugax

The symptoms of proctalgia fugax are muscle spasms in or around the rectum region and the anal canal. In most cases, these spasms are sudden and happen without warning, which can be quite a painful experience. It usually doesn’t last for more than a few seconds and generally stops on its own. In some cases, the pain may last for about half an hour. These spasms generally occur during the night and the intensity of the pain may wake you up from your sleep. However, these painful spasms can occur during the day too.

Diagnosis of Proctalgia Fugax

Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and enquire about your pain and its intensity and duration. Proctalgia fugax is only suspected after ruling out all the other possible causes for the painful spasms. Your doctor will check for fissures, abscess, hemorrhoids, and other conditions that might cause anal pain. Once all these other conditions are ruled out, your doctor will consider proctalgia fugax as the probable cause of your anal pain.

Treatment for Proctalgia Fugax

As the exact cause of proctalgia fugax is unclear, the treatment focuses on the management of symptoms. Some of these treatments include enemas with warm water, prescription ointments, and counseling. In very severe cases, Botox injections or a local anesthetic in the anal area may be used to ease the pain. 

  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • American College of Gastroenterology
  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases