Burning Anus and Rectum After Bowel Movements

The bowels are comprised of the small intestine which leads from the stomach and the large intestine which starts where the small intestine ends. The large intestine which is often referred to simply as the colon ends at the rectum which then leads to the anus. The entire inner lining of the bowels (mucosa) is largely the same and is made up of a thin mucous membrane which can be easily irritated or injured.

Why is their burning after a bowel movement?

A burning sensation is usually due to inflammation. With regards to burning after a bowel movement, the rectum and/or anus may be inflamed. It is not an uncommon occurrence and we all experience it at some point in life. Often it is due to consuming foods like chili or other hot-tasting spices. In these cases the spices irritate the bowel lining once it reaches the lower bowels.A single episode of burning that may last or day or two and then resolve entirely is usually not a cause for concern.

However, frequent burning after a bowel movement especially when there are other symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, mucus and bleeding from the rectum needs to be investigated. Usually in these cases there is some underlying bowel disorder. Spicy foods and other edible irritants may exacerbate the burning sensation but the root cause is a bowel problem, either acute or chronic. It is important to note that burning during and after a bowel movement is a symptom that may occur with a host of different conditions.

Causes of Burning Bowel Movements

The exact cause of burning bowel movements is difficult to identify without considering other symptoms and sometimes conducting investigations. Burning usually arises from the rectum and/or anus but there are many possible conditions that can affect this part of the digestive tract.

Spicy Foods

A number of different spices can travel down the gut without being fully digested. The chemicals within some of these spices irritates the inner ling of the digestive tract. Chili and other such spices are often a problem especially when very hot foods are eaten, particularly in large quantities. It can cause chemical irritation of the inner bowel lining but may also trigger diarrhea which can then irritate the anus particularly with frequent wiping after passing stool.

Inadequate Cleaning

Stool can be an irritant even in the anus which is accustomed to it passing through. Improper wiping after a bowel movement where there is still extensive stool on the anus and around the anus (perianal) area can lead to irritation, itching and sometimes even a rash. This known as irritant contact dermatitis. Scratching can cause micro-tears which burn especially with further pressure like wiping after passings tool. I addition secondary infections may set in which can cause a burning type of pain.

Diarrhea and Constipation

Both diarrhea and constipation can be associated with burning during a bowel movement. Diarrhea and constipation are symptoms just like the rectal or anal burning. Therefore the cause of these symptoms may be a single condition. However, the disturbance in the bowel movement may also cause the burning, irritation and injury. Frequent passing of stool and repeated wiping as seen in diarrhea can lead to the burning. Constipation where hard or large stool is passed out can injure the rectum or anus.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids or piles is one of the most common cause of burning during and after a bowel movement. It can persist for long periods of time and occur repeatedly as acute episodes. Hemorrhoids is where the veins in the rectum and anus region become inflamed and tortuous. It is often a consequence of straining during a bowel movement, sitting on the toilet for long periods of time, trauma to the anus or rectum and with either constipation or diarrhea.

Anal Fissures

An anal fissure is a tiny tear in the lining of the anus. Given the highly delicate nature of this area, there is often intense pain and burning which may exacerbate after a bowel movement. This condition is relatively common but not as well known as hemorrhoids. It usually occurs with injury to the anus like with constipation particularly when the stools are large and hard, persistent diarrhea and inflammatory bowel dis

Infections

Burning bowel movements is a common symptom in rectal and anal infections. These infections can occur for a number of reasons but the cause is often related to sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes are some of the sexually transmitted infections that can affect the rectum and anus. While the infection can sometimes spread from the genital organs and groin, it is also possible that the infection is isolated to the rectum and anus due to certain sexual practices like anal intercourse.

Skin Diseases

The burning sensation may not always emanate from deep in the anal canal or rectum. Sometimes it is the skin around the anus that is diseased or damaged which may be the cause of the burning. It can then extend to the anus. Seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and contact dermatitis are some of the possible causes. However, any skin disease may occur in the area around the anus (perianal area). Remnants of stool and wiping after a bowel movement can further injure the area and contribute to a burning sensation.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is where there extensive inflammation in the bowel wall due to autoimmune mechanisms. The condition is chronic and there are acute episodes marked by intense symptoms. The burning after a bowel movement could be due to inflammation of the rectum and anal canal. Furthermore episodes of intense diarrhea can also contribute to the burning as a result of repeated wiping after diarrheal stool.

Diverticulitis

Abnormal outpouchings that form in the wall of the large intestine are known as diverticula (singular ~ diverticulum). This is more common among older people. The diverticula may become infected every now and then leading to pain and other symptoms. Although diverticula in the colon is common, rectal diverticula is rare. However, it can occur and this may be a possible cause of burning after a bowel movement. It is often accompanied by changes in bowel habit.

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