Pain Before Bowel Movement


By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS

Pain before bowel movement


Is pain before a bowel movement something to be concerned about? There are numerous reasons why a person experiences pain before a bowel movement.

Some are serious and require immediate medical help, while others can be managed by following certain lifestyle and dietary modifications.


Causes of pain before bowel movement

1. Constipation

2. Excessive gas

3. Intestinal infections

4. Rectal or anal conditions

5. Inflammatory bowel conditions

6. Laxatives and drugs

7. Restricted blood flow to the GIT

8. Injury to the bowel


1. Constipation

Constipation is the most common cause of pain before bowel movements.

While passing hard, dry stools isn’t easy, it can result in other complications, like hemorrhoids and fissures.

The first thing to do to alleviate constipation and the resulting pain is to make sure you are getting enough water and fiber in your diet.

Another effective long-term solution is to take a daily magnesium supplement


2. Excessive gas

Flatulence (gas in the colon) can cause pain before bowel movements. Sometimes flatus is due to something that we ate.

It can also be due to a protozoal infection, which is usually associated with the passage of loud, noisy and stinky flatus. 


3. Intestinal infections

Bowel infections are another common cause of pain before going to the bathroom. Infections are often associated with symptoms like diarrhea, stinky stools, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite and fever.

Some infections are not serious and are resolved with simple bed rest and extra hydration. On the other hand, some bacterial infections require medical intervention and a course of antibiotics.

Gastroenteritis, worm infections and food poisoning are some of the common infections of the gastrointestinal tract.


4. Anal fissure or anal abscess

Anal fissures usually occur as a result of straining to pass hard, dry stools. Other causes of anal fissures include infections and Crohn’s disease. Consult your health care provider to evaluate the condition.

Anal abscess is the accumulation of pus near the anal region. It requires surgical drainage and a course of antibiotics.


5. Inflammatory bowel conditions

Inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease can all cause pain before bowel movements.

Ulcerative colitis involves the formation of ulcers in the digestive tract and leads to the inflammation of the lining of the colon. This causes pain while stools pass through the intestinal tract.

Other symptoms include diarrhea, nausea and cramping. Since the symptoms of these conditions overlap each other, it is important to get them evaluated by a specialist.


6. Laxatives and drugs

The overuse of laxatives or certain drugs can stimulate strong intestinal contractions that can cause pain before bowel movements.

You can consult your doctor and ask him to evaluate the drugs you are taking to see if another drug may be available with fewer side effects. 

If you are using laxatives for constipation, try a home remedy or a magnesium supplement for effective relief without cramping.


7. Restricted blood flow to the GIT

Intestinal Ischaemia is when the blood supply to a portion of the small intestine, large intestine or rectum is hampered. This condition can cause injury to tissue in the affected part. 

Some of the symptoms of intestinal ischaemia include abdominal swelling, bloody bowel movements, extreme pain and vomiting. It is dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.


8. Injury to the bowel

Trauma to the bowels may be caused either chemically or mechanically.

This trauma may result in inflammation of the lining of gastrointestinal tract, which in turn may cause pain as stool passes through the area.

Trauma can be caused by:

  • Something sharp or hard passing through the bowels

  • Exposure to radiation (treatment for cancer)

  • Drug poisoning

Most of the time, a person’s clinical history can help in making an accurate diagnosis of any injury to the bowels.


Conclusion, pain before bowel movement

As discussed above, pain before bowel movements can be simply due to constipation or excessive flatus, both of which can be easily managed with dietary intervention and some natural home remedies.

However, if the condition persists or is associated with any other symptom, consult your physician to make sure there are no serious underlying conditions.

(Return from Pain Before Bowel Movement to Constipation Pain)

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