Painful bowel movements can cause you to spend inordinate amounts of time in the bathroom or attempting to avoid it. Most bouts of constipation or diarrhea leading to painful bowel movements are temporary and unrelated to serious illness, but it's wise to see your doctor if painful bowel movements accompany other symptoms such as blood in your stool. If you're health has been cleared, these remedies, self-care tips and lifestyle changes can help you avoid the recurrence of painful bowel movements.
Cause of Painful Bowel Movements
Whether you suffer from constipation or diarrhea, both can lead to pain during a bowel movement. With constipation, the bowel movement progresses through the digestive system too slowly and, in the process, becomes dry and hard. Insufficient amounts of liquid and fiber in your diet can contribute toward stool hardness that leads to constipation. Painful bowel movements that occur in conjunction with diarrhea are often related to hemorrhoids or anal fissures that develop as a result of increased frequency of bowel movements. Illness, medication and food allergies are a few of the culprits that can lead to diarrhea.
Symptoms of Painful Bowel Movements
Bowel pain can occur beforehand as the waste moves through your digestive tract. Abdominal pain and a bloated stomach can accompany this, adding to the discomfort. When you have a bowel movement, you might feel pain as you strain to go to the bathroom. As much as it's a relief to go to the bathroom, you may feel as if you didn't have a complete bowel movement even after working so hard to go to the bathroom.
Lifestyle Changes for Prevention
If medication is the source of changes in your bowel movements that lead to pain, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives to the medication you're taking. Additionally, your diet plays an important role in the ease with which you pass bowel movements. Consume a high fiber diet that includes 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. Eat legumes, fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help you reach sufficient fiber intake. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and engage in at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week to help bowel movements move through your digestive tract.
The Role of Hygiene and Sanitation
Painful bowel movements resulting from diarrhea can be related to poor sanitation or hygiene. It's important to wash your hands after a bowel movement and before eating. When hand-washing isn't possible, you can use hand sanitizer instead. Wash all food preparation surfaces before and after preparing food, and store food properly to avoid the development of bacteria.