GI Education

Anus


The anus is the opening of the rectum through which the body passes solid waste (feces) out of your body. It consists of two sections the anal canal and the anus.  The anal canal is a long structure that lies between the anal sphincter (one of the muscles controlling bowel movements) just below the rectum.   The anal verge is the transition point between the digestive tract and the skin on the outside of the body. Muscles within the anal canal and anus control the passage of stool from the rectum to outside the body.  Seeing a doctor about problems in this area is very important especially if you have pain or bleeding.

 

Common anus disorders

 

Anal cancer

Anal cancer is a malignant tumor found in the anal canal or anal verge.  It’s a rare type of cancer where cancer cells form in the tissues of the anus.  Symptoms include bleeding, pain or lumps in the anal area.  Signs of anal cancer include anal itching and discharge.  Treatment depends on the type, size and location of the tumor.

 

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a small tear in the thin tissue lining of the lower rectum.  Anal fissures may cause painful bowel movements and bleeding.  Other causes are constipation, passing large, hard stools or by prolonged diarrhea.  Anal fissures are also common in people with Crohn’s disease and women after childbirth.

 

Anorectal abscess

An anorectal abscess is a collection of pus in the area of the anus and rectum typically caused by a blocked gland, infection of an anal fissure or a sexually transmitted disease.  Constant pain or swelling are common symptoms.

Deep rectal abscesses may be caused by intestinal disorders like Crohn’s but there are generally no other symptoms.

 

Fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to hold a bowel movement until reaching a bathroom. It’s also referred as accidental leakage while passing gas of solid or liquid stool. Fecal incontinence has many causes, diarrhea, constipation, muscle damage, hemorrhoids and nerve damage.

 

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are very common and are the result of increased pressure in the veins of the anus.  The pressure causes pain and swelling, making it uncomfortable especially while sitting. Hemorrhoids are caused by straining during bowel movements, constipation, sitting for long periods of time and anal infections.

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