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What Are the Common Causes of Anal Swelling?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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A range of medical conditions have the potential to cause anal swelling. Among the most common culprits, however, are such conditions as anal bleeding; hemorrhoids; and anal tears, which are commonly referred to as fissures. Sometimes anal cysts can cause swelling in the area as well. Rectal abscesses may also be at fault in some cases.

Anal bleeding is one of the most common causes of anal swelling. Anal bleeding may come from the anus itself or may appear when blood is mixed with a person’s stools. There are many reasons a person may have bleeding from the anus, including inflammatory bowel disease, rectal cancer, constipation, and ulcers. An individual may also develop anal bleeding and swelling in relation to infections of the intestines and polyps.

Hemorrhoids may also cause anal swelling. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that develop around a person’s anus. They often cause itching and pain in addition to swelling of the anus. A person may develop them for a number of reasons, including constipation, straining, and diets that do not contain enough fiber. Tumors that develop in the pelvis and pregnancy are also among the things that may contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.

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Anal swelling also may be caused by anal fissures. An anal fissure is basically a tear in a person’s anus. A person may develop an anal fissure because of the repeated straining to have a bowel movement that often accompanies constipation or in relation to a condition called inflammatory bowel disease. Conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may also contribute to the development of anal fissures. Less frequently, anal intercourse may cause a fissure.

Sometimes anal swelling also develops because of abnormal lumps or masses that form in the area. For example, a person may develop an anal cyst that causes the swelling. An individual may also develop swelling of the anus because of an abscess. An abscess is a mass of pus that forms in an affected person’s body tissues. It is often surrounded by areas of inflammation.

In some cases, the causes of anal swelling are relatively minor and only appear temporarily. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes, the anal swelling may linger or develop because of a medical condition that requires treatment. For this reason, a person who notices swelling in this area may do well to seek an evaluation and advice from a medical professional he trusts.

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Discuss this Article

amypollick
Post 6

@stevenmf: Yes, you need to see a doctor. Immediately. No, bleeding like that is *not* normal.

Don't hold off on going because you're embarrassed. I guarantee doctors have seen it all. I have a friend who worked as an ER nurse. They had a man come in who had a glass soda bottle *stuck* in his rectum. They were able to get it out. So don't allow misplaced pride or fear to keep you from getting the medical help you need. Go today.

stevenmf
Post 5

I was constipated so I tried using the top of a soda bottle. I cut the bottom off to try and pour water into my rectum because I heard that it helps you go. But when I was pulling the top of the bottle out, I punctured the skin. Now my anus is very swollen. I can't make stool -- only dark blood comes out. Can this just be an infection or should I seek medical help? Any response wold be a huge help. I'm like scared to death. I'm only 18. Please, someone help.

anon315967
Post 3

I have felt like I have a ball inside my rectum. I have been seen by various doctors and nothing seems to be causing it. What can I do. It is so swollen and painful upon sitting. Why?

miriam98
Post 2

@SkyWhisperer - I agree. Rectal cancer is a dangerous condition that can mimic the normal pains you experience with constipation. For example, it may cause a lump in your rectum that will prevent the stool from passing through in a normal manner, causing you intense pain.

You might notice blood in the stool and think it’s a fissure when in fact you have a mass that has already developed. The best thing to do is to seek medical attention when you notice blood in the stool.

Many people are embarrassed to talk to their doctors about this, but they are trained to deal with these issues. They will probably recommend a colonoscopy to investigate the exact cause of the problem.

SkyWhisperer
Post 1

I’ve had my bouts with anul fissures. Blood in the stool can be frightening indeed. It can signal anything from a simple fissure to colon cancer.

Fortunately in my case it was a fissure, but still, that’s not a healthy condition. So I radically changed my diet to the point where I now eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water all day long.

I have never had another reoccurrence of the condition. I would encourage anyone not to treat either fissures or hemorrhoids lightly. I consider hemorrhoids dangerous as well because it could eventually lead to something worse if you don’t get it treated right away.

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