Proctalgia fugax is a variant of levator ani syndrome and is a condition in which one’s deep pelvic floor muscles spasm (like a cramp) episodically. These spasms can occur on a regular basis but are often quite random.
Proctalgia fugax generally causes intermittent and severe pain in or near the rectum (anal canal, or end of the large intestine). People with proctalgia fugax usually describe this pain as sharp, shooting, stabbing, or deep. The pain usually comes suddenly and lasts for a few seconds or minutes, but it can last up to about 30 minutes.
Proctalgia fugax seems to affect women more often than men, and typically affects people between 30 and 60 years old. It’s unknown what exactly causes it, but nerve damage and other factors affecting pelvic floor function may play a role. In some individuals with proctalgia fugax, their symptoms are sometimes triggered by things like constipation, bowel movements, menstruation, and sexual activity.
You should know that other conditions can cause rectal pain, including inflammatory bowel disease and hemorrhoids. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re bothered by recurrent intense rectal pain, especially if you have additional symptoms like rectal bleeding, fever, chills, and lightheadedness.
Physical Therapy for Proctalgia Fugax
Our McLean and Bethesda pelvic floor physical therapy team understands the pain, frustration, concern, and embarrassment that conditions like proctalgia fugax can cause. Unfortunately, these feelings may keep people from seeking help. In fact, research suggests that only 1 in 5 of individuals with proctalgia fugax talk to a doctor about their symptoms!
At ITR Physical Therapy, we don’t believe anyone deserves to suffer in silence. We’d be happy to meet you and help you understand how to find lasting relief from your pain and discomfort. Book your session today and explore the diverse range of services and techniques we offer.