Why Does It Hurt To Poop

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. “A hemorrhoid is essentially a vein that’s inside your rectum and becomes dilated,” explains Dr. De Latour.

10 Reasons It Hurts When You Poop

Feeling some pain when you poop isn’t uncommon. Your diet, daily activities, and emotional state can all affect what it feels like to go number two, and the pain may only be temporary.

But some conditions that make pooping an uncomfortable chore are more serious and may require a visit to the doctor. Read on to learn what conditions may need medical treatment and what you can do to help relieve and prevent symptoms.

Anal fissures are tiny cuts that happen when anus skin cracks and often bleeds.

  • an area near your anus that looks torn
  • skin outgrowth near the tear
  • stinging or intense pain near your anus when you poop
  • blood in your poop or on toilet paper when you wipe
  • anal itchiness
  • burning sensation around your anus

They’re not too serious and usually go away without medical treatment in a little over a month.

Some treatments for anal fissures include:

  • taking stool softeners
  • hydrating with water and water-rich foods
  • eating about 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day
  • taking a sitz bath to improve blood flow and help muscles relax
  • applying hydrocortisone cream or ointment to reduce inflammation
  • using pain relief ointments, such as lidocaine, to reduce pain

Hemorrhoids, sometimes called piles, happen when the anus or rectum veins become swollen.

You may not notice an internal hemorrhoid in your anus, but external hemorrhoids can cause pain and make it hard to sit without discomfort.

  • pain when you poop
  • intense anal itching and pain
  • lumps near the anus that hurt or feel itchy
  • anal leakage
  • blood on toilet paper when you poop

Try the following treatments and prevention tips for hemorrhoids:

  • Take a warm bath for 10 minutes each day to relieve pain.
  • Apply topical hemorrhoid cream for itching or burning.
  • Eat more fiber or take fiber supplements, such as psyllium.
  • Use a sitz bath.
  • Wash your anus every time you bathe or shower with warm water and a gentle, unscented soap.
  • Use soft toilet paper when you wipe. Consider using a bidet for gentler cleansing.
  • Apply a cold compress to help with swelling.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain, including ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

More serious hemorrhoids may need to be surgically removed.

Constipation happens when you poop less than three times a week, and when you do, the poop comes out hard and with more trouble than usual. Pain is usually less sharp and may accompany pain in your lower gut from backup.

Common symptoms include:

  • hard, dry stool that comes out in small chunks
  • anus or gut pain while you poop
  • still feeling like you need to poop even after you go
  • bloating or cramping in your lower gut or back
  • feeling like something’s blocking your intestines

Follow these treatments and prevention tips for constipation:

  • Drink plenty of water — at least 64 ounces a day — to stay hydrated.
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Eat plenty of fiber or take fiber supplements.
  • Eat foods with probiotics, such as Greek yogurt.
  • Reduce your intake of foods that can cause constipation, such as meat and dairy.
  • Get about 30 minutes of light exercise, such as walking or swimming, every day to keep your bowels moving.
  • Go to the bathroom as you feel it coming to keep stool from getting hard or stuck.
  • Try laxatives for severe cases but talk to your doctor before you take them.

Proctitis happens when the lining of your rectum, the tube where bowel movements comes out, becomes inflamed. It’s a common symptom of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), radiation treatments for cancer, or inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis.

  • pain when you poop
  • diarrhea
  • bleeding when you poop or wipe
  • mucuslike discharge from your anus
  • feeling like you have to poop even if you’ve just gone

Here are some treatment and prevention tips:

  • Use condoms or other protection when you have sex.
  • Avoid sexual contact with someone who has visible bumps or sores in their genital area.
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics or antiviral medications for infections, such as doxycycline (Vibramycin) or acyclovir (Zovirax).
  • Take any prescribed medications for radiation side effects, such as mesalamine (Canasa) or metronidazole (Flagyl).
  • Take over-the-counter stool softeners to help soften stool.
  • Take prescribed medications for inflammatory bowel diseases, such as mesalamine (Canasa) or prednisone (Rayos), or immunosuppressants such as infliximab (Remicade).
  • Get surgery to remove any damaged areas of your colon.
  • Get treatments like argon plasma coagulation (APC) or electrocoagulation.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to any condition that involves inflammation in your digestive tract. This includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Many of these conditions result in a lot of pain when you poop.

Common symptoms include:

  • diarrhea
  • feeling exhausted
  • pain or discomfort in your belly
  • blood in your poop
  • losing weight for no reason
  • not feeling hungry, even when you haven’t eaten for a while

Some treatments and prevention tips for IBD include:

  • anti-inflammatory medications, such as mesalamine (Delzicol) or olsalazine (Dipentum)
  • immunosuppressants, such as azathioprine or methotrexate (Trexall)
  • medications to control your immune system, such as adalimumab (Humira) or natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • antibiotics for infections, such as metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • diarrhea medications, such as methylcellulose (Citrucel) or loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • iron supplements to limit anemia from intestinal bleeding
  • calcium or vitamin D supplements to lower your risk of osteoporosis from Crohn’s disease
  • removal of parts of your colon or rectum, leaving a small pouch from your small intestine to your anus or to the outside of your body for collection
  • a low-meat, low-dairy, moderate-fiber diet with small amounts of caffeine and alcohol

Diarrhea happens when your bowel movements are thin and watery.

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Diarrhea doesn’t always make pooping hurt. But wiping a lot and passing a lot of stool can irritate skin and make your anus feel raw and sore.

  • nausea
  • stomach pain or cramps
  • feeling bloated
  • losing too much fluid
  • blood in your poop
  • needing to poop often
  • fever
  • a large volume of stools

Treatment for diarrhea usually consists of rehydration, inserting an intravenous line if necessary, or antibiotics. Here are some prevention tips for diarrhea:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after you eat.
  • Wash and cook food properly, eat it right away, and put leftovers in the fridge quickly.
  • Ask your doctor about antibiotics before you visit a new country.
  • Don’t drink tap water when you travel or eat food that’s been washed with tap water. Only use bottled water.

Endometriosis happens when the tissues that make up the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grow outside the uterus. They can attach to your colon and cause pain from irritation or scar tissue formation.

Other symptoms include:

  • pain during your period
  • lower abdominal or back pain and cramps before your period starts
  • heavy menstrual flow
  • pain during or after sex
  • infertility

Some treatments include:

  • pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil)
  • hormone therapy to regulate growth of tissues
  • birth control, such as medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) injections, to mitigate tissue growth and symptoms
  • gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRNH) to reduce estrogen that causes tissue growth
  • minimally invasive laser surgery to remove tissue
  • last resort surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, and ovaries to stop menstruation and tissue growth

STIs such as chlamydia or syphilis spread through anal sex can result in bacterial infections that cause your rectum to swell and make it painful to poop.

Both STIs are spread through unprotected sexual contact with someone who’s infected, and painful rectal swelling can also accompany symptoms like burning when you pee, discharge from your genitals, and pain during sex.

Some treatment and prevention tips for these STIs include:

  • antibiotics, such as azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline (Oracea)
  • penicillin injections for severe syphilis
  • abstaining from sex while you’re being treated for either STI
  • using protection whenever you have sex, including oral or anal sex
  • getting tested for STIs regularly if you’re sexually active

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that can cause warts to form near your anus, genitals, mouth, or throat. Anal warts can get irritated when you poop, making you feel a rawness or stinging pain.

Untreated HPV can cause anal and cervical cancer. HPV can’t be fully cured. Warts may come and go, and your doctor may use laser or cryotherapy to remove warts. Make sure you get tested for STIs and for cancer regularly if you have an HPV diagnosis.

Prevention tips for HPV include:

  • getting the HPV vaccine if you’re under age 45
  • using condoms every time you have sex
  • getting Pap smears and regular health and STI screenings

It’s highly unlikely that anal cancer or rectal cancer is the culprit for painful pooping, but it’s a small possibility. Some symptoms that may indicate cancer include:

  • sudden, abnormal changes in poop color or shape
  • small, thin stool
  • blood in your poop or on toilet paper when you wipe
  • new or unusual lumps near your anus that hurt when you apply pressure to them
  • itchiness around your anus
  • unusual discharge
  • frequent constipation or diarrhea
  • feeling unusually exhausted
  • having a lot of gas or bloating
  • losing abnormal amounts of weight
  • constant pain or cramps in your abdomen

See your doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Early treatment can help stop the spread of cancer and limit complications.

Treatment for these cancers may include:

  • chemotherapy injections or pills to kill cancer cells
  • surgery to remove anal or rectal tumors and prevent cancerous tissue from spreading, possibly removing the entire rectum, anus, and parts of your colon if cancer has spread
  • radiation treatment to kill cancer cells
  • regorafenib (Stivarga) for advanced rectal cancer to stop cancer cell growth

Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

  • pain or bleeding lasting for a week or more
  • fever or unusual fatigue
  • unusual bleeding or discharge when you poop
  • pain or other symptoms after sex, especially with a new partner
  • intense abdominal or back pain and cramps
  • newly formed lumps near your anus

Pain When You Poop? Here’s What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You


This might be a little personal, but does it hurt when you poop? If you have trouble on the toilet, you shouldn’t just grin and bear it.

We spoke to Niket Sonpal, MD, a New York-based internist and gastroenterologist, to understand the most common causes for an achy anus when you go number two, plus ways to prevent painful poops and soothe your sore butt.

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If your anal pain does not subside within 24 to 48 hours, you experience ongoing rectal bleeding, you have a mass that does not improve or you’re running a fever along with anal pain, you should see a doctor, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).

1. You’re Constipated

It’s probably no surprise that constipation is a common culprit for painful poops.

“Constipation is painful for two reasons: the strain of pushing and how hard the stool is,” Dr. Sonpal says. “Stool that is too hard or large to pass will cause pain during a bowel movement because the muscles are stretching.”

To make matters worse, when you strain regularly or sit on the toilet too long, you increase pressure in the lower rectum, which may result in painful hemorrhoids (more on this later), according to the Mayo Clinic.

The fix:​ To help prevent constipation (and hemorrhoids), consume high-fiber foods, drink six to eight glasses of water daily and exercise regularly, per the Mayo Clinic. Also, avoid straining and sitting for extended periods, and hit the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to go.

If you’re already constipated, try a stool softener like MiraLAX or Colace.

2. You’ve Got Diarrhea

Conversely, diarrhea could be the source of your discomfort on the toilet.

“Because diarrhea speeds up the digestion process, food is oftentimes not broken down fully,” Dr. Sonpal says. This means that stomach acids, digestive enzymes and bile may be present, which can cause a burning sensation in the rectum during a bowel movement.

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And if you ate spicy food, you might also have to contend with capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot peppers) passing in your stool, Dr. Sonpal says. This chemical compound can irritate digestive tissue and trigger a burning feeling with diarrhea.

What’s more, “food that hasn’t been processed entirely may cause physical trauma to the rectum, leading to pain,” Dr. Sonpal says. “Large, rough foods and those with seeds, shells or pods can rub against or cut the rectum’s delicate tissue.”

Adding insult to injury, wiping — which, let’s be honest, you do more of when your poops are runny — can irritate your butt too. “Wiping too hard can also cause small tears,” Dr. Sonpal says.

The fix:​ “To treat diarrhea, eat a diet high in fiber to make stools more solid and increase liquid intake,” Dr. Sonpal recommends.

3. You Have Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can cause a world of hurt when you’re trying to take care of business in the bathroom. But what are they, exactly?

“Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower part of the rectum and anus,” Dr. Sonpal says. “The blood vessels’ walls are often stretched so thin, the veins bulge and become irritated, even more during a bowel movement.”

The fix:​ Mild cases of hemorrhoids only cause pain when you poop (because the blood vessels stretch) and usually go away on their own, Dr. Sonpal says.

However, more severe hemorrhoids might hurt throughout the day and may need an over-the-counter cream like Preparation H, he says.

4. You’ve Got an Anal Fissure

If your butt bothers you when you have a bowel movement, you might be experiencing an anal fissure.

“An anal fissure is a tear in the anus, exposing the delicate lining of the anal sphincter,” Dr. Sonpal says. “This tear may cause the muscle to spasm, which pulls the edges of the fissure.”

Sometimes caused by physical trauma, childbirth or a sexually transmitted infection, anal fissures can be very painful during poop sessions when the tear stretches, Dr. Sonpal explains.

The fix:​ But they can be easily treated with a multipronged approach. For starters, Dr. Sonpal suggests upping your fiber and liquid intake to soften stool, which will make it easier to pass and cause less pain (and stretching).

Plus, soaking in warm water and applying a nitroglycerin cream like Fissure Control from Forces of Nature (to increase blood flow to the fissure) helps the sphincter to relax and promotes healing, he says.

“You can also try an anesthetic cream like lidocaine hydrochloride to reduce pain,” Dr. Sonpal adds. “However, if the anal fissure is unresponsive to these treatments, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove it.”

5. You Have Pelvic Floor Issues

Pelvic floor problems can produce pain while you poop, too.

“When there is dysfunction in the pelvic floor, one is unable to control muscles that help you complete a bowel movement,” Dr. Sonpal says.

In addition to uncomfortable bowel movements, you might also experience unexplained lower back and pelvic pain and constipation.

The fix:​ “Treatment usually involves behavioral changes (like avoiding pushing or straining during a bowel movement), learning how to relax the pelvic floor muscles, warm baths, yoga, relaxants like diazepam and physical therapy,” Dr. Sonpal says.

11 Reasons It Hurts So Bad When You Poop

Anyone have an ice pack that fits between the cheeks?

By Alison Feller and Kristin Canning Published: Jul 23, 2019

preview for 5 Misconceptions About Bowel Health

Let’s get super honest: Few things in life feel as good, as satisfying, and as downright cleansing as a good poop. Most of the time, your daily number two instantly makes you feel lighter, happier, more relieved, and less bloated (praise effing be).

But uh, what if your time in the bathroom doesn’t feel good? What if. it actually hurts ?

“This is a pretty common complaint,” says Rabia De Latour, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health. “Unfortunately, many women feel embarrassed talking about these symptoms, so they go underreported and untreated. But trust me, it’s not uncommon at all.”

So, whew for that—but that still doesn’t explain why your poops hurt so damn much. Here’s what might be going on if you legit dread going to the bathroom. (And, as always, see your doctor or snag a gastroenterologist’s opinion if you’re experiencing any of this stuff on the reg.)

1. You have hemorrhoids.

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. “A hemorrhoid is essentially a vein that’s inside your rectum and becomes dilated,” explains Dr. De Latour.

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While both internal and external hemorrhoids can happen for many reasons, the most common reasons are weight gain and pregnancy, both of which lead to increased pressure and stress above the vein. “When the pressure builds in that area, the thin-walled veins around the rectum become dilated,” she says.

“Internal hemorrhoids shouldn’t be painful, though they may bleed,” she says. “But external hemorrhoids, which you’ll find on the edge of the anus, can be exquisitely painful and itchy.”

What to do:

The key to preventing hemorrhoids is to maintain a healthy weight, avoid rapid weight gain, and include plenty of fiber in your diet. The good news is that usually hemorrhoids aren’t serious or dangerous, and topical creams can help treat symptoms of external hemorrhoids (you’ll have to see your gastroenterologist for internal ones).

2. You have fissures.

A fissure is a tear in the skin of the anus. And if it sounds painful, well, that’s because it is. “That area of the body is very sensitive,” says Dr. De Latour.

These anal fissures can happen after local trauma, due to anything from passing a hard bowel movement, to engaging in anal sex, to giving birth vaginally, or even administering an enema incorrectly.

What to do:

You’ll know you have an anal fissure if you experience pain during or after your bowel movements (poop passing by an open wound—serious ouch), if you see bright red blood accompanying your stool or on your toilet paper, or if you can visibly see a crack or tear in the skin surrounding the anus.

Although, it may be easier to enlist a doctor or very, very close loved one to assess the area for you, as it’s a tough region to inspect yourself. The best way to prevent fissures is to consume plenty of fiber so you have regular, easy bowel movements.

3. You’re constipated.

Constipation is most often caused by dietary factors: Either you’re not eating enough fiber or you’re not drinking enough water and are dehydrated.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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