Pain on Opening Bowels

Pain when using the toilet is often attributed to the motion of your bowels through the anal canal when you need to go to the toilet.

The mechanism by which your canal allows the stools to pass through is often regulated via the straining mechanism that we do when we go to the toilet. Should there be a problem with the muscle or the skin in and around the anal opening, this can often give a sharp pain when the bowels opened. This occasionally can be accompanied with also some rectal bleeding. This is often the most common cause of pain when we open our bowels and is often due to a tear or what is commonly known as an anal fissure. These typically occur when we are straining or constipated or if we are having to go to the toilets regularly.

Anal fissures can vary in severity from only lasting a few days to lasting a few months. Because we have to open your bowels on a daily basis, the healing time for anal fissures can often be quite protracted particular if it is a large tear. In this should this be the scenario you are faced with then and it is lasting over 10 days then it would be advisable to either contact us for a consultation or see your doctor to ensure this is the exact diagnosis. Getting some treatment early on can help things settle down as quickly as possible.

Other causes for pain on opening your bowels can be due to localised lesions and skin irritations. Common causes for this include anal warts and anal skin tags and potentially more sinister things such as rectal cancers.

Anal Pain Checklist

  • Pain that is fleeting feel sharp and has occurred after a straining episode of constipation and is associated with a small amount of rectal bleeding can sometimes just be a simple anal fissure that should settle down after a few days. However should it persist after 10 days then you should consult your doctor.
  • Pain that lasts over 10 days and associated with constant rectal bleeding as well as any other associated symptoms such as an altered bowel habit that has been going on for more than a week or two again is a reason to consult and seek medical advice

Frequently Asked Questions – Pain/Discomfort on Opening Bowels

How long should I put up with the pain before seeking medical advice?

If you have pain for more than 7 to 10 days on opening your bowels plus rectal bleeding then it would be worthwhile seeing your doctor.

Is it normal to just have pain on bowel opening?

If you’re just having pain when you’re opening your bowels, it is most likely due to a localised issue such as anal fissure, skin lesions or skin irritation; particularly if this settles down as soon as you’re finished going to the toilet.

What are the causes for pain and pain that lasts longer last after going to the toilet?

Should you have a ongoing pain that is lasting after you’ve gone to the toilet or certainly throughout the day and this is not settling down after a week or so, it would be worth seeking some medical advice.

If I have pain and swelling what does this mean?

Pain and swelling in the area can sometimes be attributed to haemorrhoids, which are swollen blood vessels at the exit of the anal canal. This can cause a pressure feeling that is uncomfortable as well as a localised swelling. Should this persist, then it would be worth seeking medical advice.

Get in Touch


020 3340 0304

Mon-Fri: 9am – 5.30pm, Sat: 9am – 2pm

Harley Street Clinic:

41 Harley Street,
London, W1G 8QH

City of London Clinic:

42 New Broad Street,
London, EC2M 1JD

Putney Clinic:

4 Disraeli Road, Putney, 
London, SW15 2DS