Your rectum is the last few inches of large intestine where the intestine straightens vertically and flows into the anus. Pressure within your rectum is uncomfortable and it could be a sign of a more serious issue.

It may be embarrassing to talk to a doctor about pressure in your rectum, but you need a proper diagnosis to find the right treatment. Learn about some common causes of rectal pressure so you can be prepared to talk with your doctor.

Pressure in your rectum may be caused by any number of conditions. There are a few common causes that are treatable by medical attention.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition in which your stool is in liquid rather than solid form. It can be caused by:

  • bacteria
  • stress
  • allergies
  • parasitic infection
  • other gastrointestinal diseases

Sometimes, diarrhea is related to something you ate and can be treated with an antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium).

Constipation

Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea. It’s marked by the inability to efficiently move stool through your bowels and is usually associated with a dry, hardened stool. This can be caused by:

Constipation can be treated by:

  • laxatives
  • drinking more water
  • adding fiber to your diet

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located in your lower rectum or anus. They can usually be visually diagnosed if they’re located in your anal region. They can be caused by:

You can usually treat hemorrhoids at home. Doctors may suggest preventive measures, including eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying hydrated.

Anal fissure or tear

Anal fissures are categorized as small tears in the anal surface lining and may cause a feeling of pressure or pain near the rectum area. These are typically caused by trauma from constipation or passing stool, but may be from a more concerning underlying issue.

Anal fissures are often treated by topical creams or blood pressure-lowering medication. Your doctor may also advise to let it heal on its own by keeping a proper diet and staying hydrated.

Coccydynia (tailbone pain)

Tailbone pain stems from an inflamed or bruised tailbone. This is usually caused by injury to your tailbone. Tailbone pain is localized and may be felt through the rectal area. This can usually be treated with:

  • additional seat cushions
  • over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • prescription pain medications from your doctor

Sometimes rectal pressure can be a sign of a more serious condition that may require immediate or more extensive treatment. If you’re experiencing prolonged or intense rectal pressure, consult with your doctor.

Anal cancer

While uncommon, anal cancer can be life-threatening. It doesn’t usually spread elsewhere, but a small percentage has been found to spread to the lungs or liver. Anal cancer is marked by bleeding from the rectum and a mass in the anal canal. You can also have pain and itchiness in this region.

Anal cancer is usually treated with radiation and chemotherapy but all depends on personal diagnosis. Surgery may be a necessary option in certain cases as well. If you believe you may have anal cancer, contact your doctor.

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches in your large intestine bulge out and are inflamed. Constipation, low fiber intake, and weak intestine walls are some of the possible causes of diverticulitis. While not usually life-threatening, severe cases of diverticulitis may require a hospital stay. Treatment for noncomplicated acute diverticulitis typically includes antibiotics, hydration, and possibly even a liquid diet.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes a group of serious chronic conditions without a current cure. The two main types of IBD include:

You should see a doctor about the possibility of IBD if you’re experiencing:

  • bloody stool
  • fatigue
  • cramping
  • weight loss
  • uncontrollable diarrhea
  • fevers

If you receive a diagnosis of IBD, your doctor will typically put you on a focused, long-term disease management plan.

Rectum pressure or pain could be caused by many different conditions and causes. If you’ve already used the restroom and are still feeling intense pressure in your rectum, you should visit your doctor so they can check for any serious issues or conditions.