Pain in the back passage, also referred to as anal pain and proctalgia, is usually the result of a minor, treatable condition.
A common cause is an anal fissure which is a small tear in the skin of the anus that can be caused by passing a large or hard poo.
But how can you be sure you have an anal fissure? The NHS lists three symptoms to look out for.
The first sign is a severe, sharp pain when doing a poo.
Secondly, you may experience a burning or gnawing pain that lasts several hours after doing a poo.
The final sign is rectal bleeding. You may notice this as a small amount of blood on the toilet paper after you wipe.
The health body goes on to explain: “Anal fissures can be very painful, but many heal on their own in a few weeks. Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, drinking plenty of fluids and takin laxatives and over-the-counter painkillers can help.
“If the pain persists, you may need special ointment that relaxes the ring of muscle around your anus. Occasionally, surgery may be needed to help the fissure heal.”
But fissures aren’t the only cause of anal pain. Haemorrhoids (piles) and anal fistulas and abscesses can be to blame.
Haemorrhoids are lumps that occur inside or around the anal canal which contain swollen and enlarged blood vessels.
Dietary changes are usually recommended to treat the condition, as well as creams and ointments.
An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus which can be a result of an anal abscess – where a collection of pus develops near the anus. This is usually the result of an infection near the anus.
Anal fistulas usually require surgery as they rarely heal if left untreated.
The best way to prevent these anal conditions, particularly fissures and haemorrhoids, is to prevent constipation.
Harvard Health says to do this, soften your still by gradually adding more fibre to your diet and by drinking six to eight glasses of water daily.
It adds: “Although it is not always possible to prevent other types of anal disorders, you may be able to decrease your risk for these illnesses by using gentle techniques to clean the anal area.
“Also, keep the anal area dry by changing underwear frequently and using powder to absorb moisture.”
In rarer cases, pain in the back passage can be an indication of anal cancer.
With anal cancer, pain in the anal area affects around 30 per cent of people.