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Rectal Pain

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

Rectal pain can be caused by a number of conditions, such as hemorrhoids, an abscess, trauma, or anal tear. Infection, muscle spasms, or anal intercourse can also cause rectal pain.



You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Bowel movement softeners help soften your bowel movement. They help prevent straining and more damage to the area.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your pain does not decrease after 1 to 2 days of treatment.
  • You cannot take the medicine prescribed for your condition.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Take a sitz bath:

Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain, muscle spasms, or swelling. 

Apply heat:

Apply a warm, moist compress on your anus for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.

Eat high-fiber foods:

This will help prevent constipation and soften your bowel movements. High-fiber foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, and beans. A dietitian or healthcare provider can help you create a high-fiber meal plan.

Drink liquids as directed:

You may need to drink more liquid than usual to help soften your bowel movements. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.