Overview and Facts about Proctalgia Fugax
Proctalgia fugax is a condition characterized by episodes of severe pain in the rectum and anus. While it is not linked to a specific disease, the intense muscle spasms of the levator ani muscle are thought to be affected by a muscle disorder or nerve condition.
Symptoms and Signs of Proctalgia Fugax
The primary symptom of proctalgia fugax is sudden pain brought on by muscle spasms around the anal canal. The pain may last for only a few seconds or up to 30 minutes, and usually occurs at night. Severity of a proctalgia fugax episode can be so painful that a patient is woken from sleep or must stay home from work. The pain is absent between episodes, however, and there may be a long period of time before another spasm occurs.
Causes and Risk Factors of Proctalgia Fugax
There is no specific trigger associated with proctalgia fugax, but some studies reported stress as causing the onset of spasms. Typically, the condition only affects individuals that have started or completed puberty, and more women than men have been diagnosed with proctalgia fugax. It may also be a consequence of certain procedures to treat hemorrhoids or hysterectomy.
Possible triggers for proctalgia fugax include:
- Sexual activity
Tests and Diagnosis of Proctalgia Fugax
Proctalgia fugax is usually diagnosed only by ruling out all other possible causes of anal pain. Your doctor will ask about the severity of the pain and spasm duration and perform a physical examination to rule out hemorrhoids, fissures, digestive health issues, or other conditions contributing to anal pain.
Treatment and Care for Proctalgia Fugax
Because there is no specific cause associated with proctalgia fugax, treatment focuses on symptom relief and management of an identified trigger. Some of these treatments include enemas with warm water, prescription ointments and counseling. If spasms are extremely severe, a local anesthetic or Botox injections around the anal region may be recommended.