The Cause of Proctalgia Fugax / Anal Pain

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi all,

After suffering from anal pain for years I have recently being overjoyed by the fact I've found the name of it - Proctalgia Fugax!

Having tried to read as much as I can I've found no one really knows the cause yet.

So I'd like to start a post, not to discuss treatments/pain relief, but to discuss what people think is causing this.

Two things I've done that have helped lessen the frequency of episodes are switching to a pescatarian diet (a lot less wind) and regularly drinking tea (for regular bowel movements), but they have not stopped it.

I've started to log when I have episodes and what I've found.

Two causes that seem to occur around an episode are

-When I've sat down for too long at a desk

-When I haven't drank enough water

What I'm aiming to try soon is take a ginkgo biloba supplement and also to greatly increase the amount of fiber in my diet to see if this helps.

If anyone else has any thoughts please do share as I hope we can get to the "bottom" of this!

Thank you


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7 Replies

  • Posted

    I've suffered from the worst case of proc for 30 + yrs. Nothing can stop this monster from showing up again. I've discovered we who suffer from this monster have a weakness in our nuero transmitters. Our system has episodes to where our transmitters aren't sending the correct transmissions to our anal muscle & it clenches up on us. Like people who suffer from regular Charlie horses in their calf muscle or foot throughout their lives.

    And yes, dehydration & lack of potassium are major triggers for this genetic weakness for sure...

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  • Posted

    Hello Sam,

    I am a female aged 45 years of age.  I have had PF for about 15 years.   

    The episodes or sporadic.  I may go 2 months without one and then I can have 3 in a month.  The episodes last between 20 mins and 1hr.  One can never tell how long they will actually last.  Each has its own intensity. As the pain can be classified as "acute" I have spent years researching.  The main trigger for me is a sudden empty bowl movement and stress.  Mine manifests like a dull toothache or ear ache and eventually reaches full blown acute pain.  It starts during the night once I have fallen asleep. I very rarely have day episodes.  There is only one way I have learned to manage the pain and that is to think and focus really deeply on trying to fall back asleep again.  I know that this may sound very strange indeed but almost like a woman focuses on one point in a room during childbirth that is what I do with my eyes shut.  I breath methodically and I think and focus on one thing breathing through the pain and forcing myself back into a deep sleep, albeit only after about 30mins of enduring the agony.

    Anyway I really do think that stress is a MAJOR factor in this but mine is definitely brought on only if i have completely emptied my bowls.  I also think this is why they categories it in the "IBS - Irritable Bowl Syndrome" category, although I am not so sure it should be.

    To shed some more light on this it is quite possible that this can also be genetic.  My mother has it, my brother has it and so does my son who is 23 years of age. (although my brother and my son's episodes are very few).

    In men more so than woman it can also be triggered by orgasm. There is quite a bit online regarding this.

    Hope this helps!



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  • Posted

    Dear Samuel & Wendy,

    Try this. This is the ONLY thing that works for me & was brought to this discussion a year ago by another sufferer of this monster.

    There is a nerve that resides between our upper lip & nose. At the very bottom of your noses PINCH tightly with your index finger & thumb. Hold it firmly & within 30 seconds the pain will begin to subside. Often times doing this will completely break the spasm' cycle altogether & it disappears. But in the very least it dulls the pain 10 fold & makes the episode bearable.

    I call this the "PINCH METHOD" & this has worked for many people on this site...

    Please reply the next time you have an episode & give me your feedback on this method. If it helps or not. I'm willing to bet if you try this, you'll be very pleased...


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  • Posted

    @cory31975, thank you for your response and although I don't disagree with you I still think there are things we can do to reduce the number of episodes, esp via diet. I've been reading about magnesium deciciency being a caause of muscle cramping - so going to try a supplement too.

    wendy11930, thank you - it is amazing how similar everyones expereinces are. I agree with you that stress, empty bowels and orgasms are all triggers for me now that I think of it.

    @cory31975, I actually read your posts on the pinching method before and see you both have had success with that - so will let you know once I've tried it.

    @everyoneelse - please keep sharing your causes! Thank you!

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  • Posted

    Oh I absolutely agree w/ you on diet helping Samuel! I completely cut gluten out of my diet 8 months ago & take prescription grade multi-vitamins every day. And it went from a 2 hour (screaming at the top of my lungs) attack once every 6 weeks for the last 15 yrs, down to 1 attack in the last 8 months. So diet is a major role player affecting our episode frequency.

    And also I too have learned that my 3 biggest triggers are stress, dehydration, & orgasm.

    If I've had an extremely high stress day, more stressful than normal, an attack is surely to follow that night or the night after. And my attacks come if I don't drink enough water during the day every time. So I agree with you 100% on diet, stress, & dehydration being the biggest players in our episodes...

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  • Posted


    Thanks to everyone whose posted. I typically just read posts silently, but want to help.

    I too have experienced sporadic rectal spasms - started searching online when there was little to no results over 8 years ago.

    You all may be on to something with the dehydration, however I had several bananas last week in which I had not consumed in a while (over 1-2 months) and still experience an episode tonight. I normally do not consume enough FLUIDS in a day (I can't say just water I don't get enough of). My spasms have averaged approved every other month for less than 15 mins.

    I ask that you all pay attention to this.

    I noticed I have a better chance at experiencing PF Spasms if my anus is exposed to a cool draft or cool air.

    Whether during sex (not anal) and the fan is on or eliminating in a cool bathroom.

    I'm a female, mid 30's.

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  • Posted

    cd13032 – thank you for sharing! Just so I understand – you are less likely to experience spasms if your exposed to cold air?

    Since 2017 I have started to log when they happen for me – so I hope this data might be useful:


    • 23 Feb

    • 14 May

    • 13 June

    • 23 July

    • 21 August = no water

    • 16 Sept = during day, no water


    • 15 April = no water

    • 31 May = during day

    • 29 June = during day - not great eating past few days

    • 17/18 August = stress

    • 5/6 Sept = no fruit/water

    • 4 Nov = no fruit/water

    It’s truly amazing how regularly they are – I know there are gaps (less in winter months and more in the summer) – but essentially they are once a month. It is almost like a period in regularity, apart from I’m a male aged 30.

    Re the Pinching Method – it’s worked on and off for me – but I still do it as I do think it helps.

    Re triggers – couldn’t agree more with cory31975 - stress, dehydration, & orgasm.

    Re my current thinking – I’m going to get my bloods done soon and see if they show anything. But I think I really need to start vitamins/supplements to see what makes a difference.

    Thanks again for everyone that is contributing to this.


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