Anal Pain (Proctalgia fugax and Levator ani syndrome).
The anal canal (see diagram) is surrounded by various organs, such as the prostate in men and the uterus in women, and is supported by the pelvic floor muscles (or levator ani). The pain caused by the muscles spasming can occur without any trigger in particular. In some situations we know that this may be due to damage or entrapment of the nerve that supplies the anal canal muscles. It can affect anyone, although sufferers tend to be women.
However because the symptoms that people describe can be so variable, your specialist will investigate you thoroughly to exclude other conditions related to organs that surround the anal canal and pelvic floor.
After a thorough examination, including with your permission a check of your genital region, your doctor will organise some blood tests and an endoscopy (telescope test to look at the lining of the bowel). In some cases, you may be referred for investigations related to your reproductive or urinary organs. No investigation can be done to specifically confirm the diagnosis of proctalgia fugax – only to exclude other more serious conditions.
Unfortunately because we don’t really know what causes these conditions, no single treatment is known to work. Often with professional support and by talking about it, you may find that your symptoms are more bearable.