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Posted Jun 02 2009 4:39pm 3 Comments

The term Proctalgia fugax refers to fleeting anorectal pain. It often occurs in the middle of the night and can last a variable amount of time; generally from a few seconds to 30 minutes. Many sufferers encounter it less than 6 times a year.

The pain can sometimes accompany the urge to defaecate (without success) or be associated with an erection (in males).

There is no known cause for proctalgia fugax, but it is thought to be related to a muscle spasm of the rectum. There is also no known cure.

There are remedies which range from warm baths (if the pain lasts long enough to draw a bath), relaxation techniques, and gentle massage of the anus. It has been suggested that salbutamol may shorten the duration of attacks, although its effectiveness in this capacity remains unproven.

Sedatives and antispasmodic drugs have been used to obtain pain relief.

After the onset of an episode, the most comforting measure to combat the pain is often to attempt defaecation for as long as the pain lasts, even if defaecation will not occur.

Comments (3)
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I’ve been having 4 or 5 episodes a year of Proctalgia Fugax for years. My symptoms are exactly like those you described. I think anyone having these attacks should check with their doctor as I did, but the great news is, there is new information on the cause of PF and a recommended self-administered treatment that works wonderfully on me to immediately relieve the pain without the use of any drugs. See for all the details. What a breakthrough!

I've had proctalgia fugax for over 10 years.  It occurs every couple weeks, and sometimes up to 3-4 times a week.  It used to wake me up in the middle of the night, but lately, I've been getting attacks in the middle of the day, and at least weekly.  Nothing triggers it, nothing causes it, nothing controls it.  I envy people whose episodes last only 30 minutes or less.  Mine last from a minimum of about 30 minutes to over 2 hours some times.  I've tried Vicodin (just makes me high), hot baths, massaging the anus, and Xanax.  The latest thing I'm experimenting with is nitroglycerin ointment.  I rub a tiny amount on my anus when I have an attack.  It seems to help a little bit, but then I get an instant headache that doesn't go away for days.  And the headache is like no other in the universe - imagine having an ice pick shoved up your rectum, turned sideways, and having an axe pressed right straight through your skull at the same time.  It seems to be better, the less nitro I use, but then the nitro is less effective.  My doctor has talked about botox injections, but I'm not sure I want to numb my anus - I can only imagine the repurcussions.  So at least twice a week, I spend approximately one hour in excrutiating pain.  Another thing I've got is a Valium syringe that I'm supposed to insert in my anus when I have an attack - but 2 of these doses costs almost $500.  I'm afraid to use it!  Plus, I don't know how long the Valium would stay in my system.   I typically treat myself with 3 aspirins first (for the headache I know will come), then the smear of nitro, then 1-2 Xanax, and a sleeping pill.  And I have to say Goodnight Irene at that point.  But I've got my bag of Valium syringes, Vicodin, Xanax, and nitro ointment with me at all times.  Oh, and I forgot to mention - I have to hold down a job, and I live alone.  I'm generally a happy person, but this is almost suicide depressing!

I am just like the person gets me for hours like maybe 1-2 1/2. comes on in mid day or night but with a vengence. Nothing works except waiting with soma and valium and then walking dispite the horrific pain. I stand in shower and it can help for a moment. I hate sitz baths cause it will cause my bladder issues if the rectum fluids come into contact inthe hot water with my urethra....i have also levator ani and pelvic floor issues...all due to back surgeries ath resulted from polio as a child in the abdominal muscles.

as I write this I am begining to get some relief with the soma some 1 hour ago and vaium 2 mg.

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