What is Proctalgia Fugax – Symptoms
Proctalgia Fugax or Levator Ani Syndrome is a condition characterized by recurrent, intermittent, severe and self-limited pain in the rectum. It was first described more than 2000 years ago in ancient Rome. Proctalgia Fugax is a Latin word and it translates to “fleeting rectal pain” in English. About 14% of people in good health are affected by this condition, out of which 75% of them are women. Before getting to know further details, let’s have a look at the anatomy of the body parts affected by this syndrome.
Colon or large intestine is the last part of the digestive system ending in pelvis to become sigmoid, rectum and anus. Fecal matter or feces is temporarily stored in sigmoid and rectum. When anal sphincters (valves) relax, defecation occurs.
Internal and external sphincters surround the anal canal. Rectum is held in place and surrounded by pelvic floor containing a set of muscles known as levator ani. Coccyx is the last part of the spine or tail end of the spine that is located very near to the anal canal.
Symptoms of Proctalgia Fugax:
- It can start during urination or defecation or sleep or intercourse.
- People often complain of waking up from sound sleep due to a sharp, stabbing pain in rectum as though a knife is stuck deep into the rectum.
- The episodes of pain are brief often lasting less than 20 minutes.
- Patients remain pain-free between the episodes of pain.
- Pain may be experienced several times in a single week or once in a year.
- Palpitation and sweating may occur as the pain becomes severe.
- Some people often come across the situation where they feel movements in the bowel that do not lead to defecation.
Information on causes, diagnosis and treatment of Proctalgia Fugax can be found in the next article.