Published on Oct 23, 2021 and last reviewed on Nov 15, 2022 - 5 min read
Does it burn when you poop? Do not worry. You are not alone. Several people experience this in common, and this article aims to explain in detail its causes, risks, and ways to manage burning sensation while defecating.
Pooping is a natural phenomenon to get rid of bodily wastes and toxins. Pooping should only make you feel good, and in fact, pooping gives pleasure both physically and mentally. Thanks to the nerves and muscles. But if your bowel movements are not regular, have digestive problems, or have other health conditions that make your pleasurable morning act a nightmare that too routinely, you might be having some serious health issue demanding medical assistance.
Many disease conditions cause a burning sensation with the act of excretion and are discussed in detail below. But what happens in the anorectal region to cause the burning sensation? Firstly, the tissues lining the walls of your anal and rectal regions get inflamed. Such a condition is known as proctitis. This inflammation may be caused by an underlying medical condition. And when your stool traverses the rectal region, it gets in contact with the inflamed tissues, which worsens the pain or burning sensation while defecating.
The conditions causing a burning sensation while passing stools can range from mild to severe.
Spicy Foods - Foods with extreme spiciness contain an ingredient called capsaicin that can irritate your intestinal, rectal, and anal lining while leaving the body along with stools.
Diarrhea - If you pass more than three loose, watery stools within a day, it indicates diarrhea, and diarrhea can irritate the delicate lining of your anal and rectal passage, thereby causing a burning sensation while pooping.
Constipation - Constipation is when you have reduced bowel movements, and you end up pooping once in three days, exerting more pressure to pass hard stools or pass minimal stools. These hard stools too tend to irritate your skin or mucosa surrounding and inside the anus while you exert force to excrete.
Anal Fissure - As a result of constipation, your anal lining tends to tear, or minor cuts form at the exit point of your anus. This causes sharp, intense pain that might be perceived as a burning sensation at times.
Hemorrhoids - Exerting excessive pressures to defecate, lifting heavy weights, pregnancy, and persistent diarrhea or constipation causes enlargement and bulging of the blood vessels in and around the anorectal region resulting in hemorrhoids. In the presence of hemorrhoids, people experience burning sensations, pain, and blood in stools (if they rupture) during excretion.
Activities That Damage the Anal Lining - Scratching the anus to get relief from worm infestation and having anal sex without proper lubrication can also damage the anal and rectal tissues leading to burning sensations.
Colorectal Cancer - This is one of the life-threatening conditions with burning sensation while pooping as one of the symptoms. If polyps are present in your rectal region, they might eventually turn out to be cancer in the presence of risk factors. They additionally cause rectal bleeding, anal discharge, altered bowel movements, pain with defecation, weight loss, etc., as their symptoms. Sometimes they can also be present asymptomatic.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two such conditions that cause inflammation in the lining of the bowel. Apart from burning sensation with pooping, they also cause bloody stools, altered bowel movements, fecal incontinence, abdominal pain, cramps, etc.
Sexually Transmitted Infections - Certain sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc., can get transmitted to your anus through unprotected anal sex. These infections cause inflammation of your rectal or anal lining resulting in pooping with a burning sensation.
Warts - Anal warts can form due to human papillomavirus infection, and these warts cause stinging pain and burning sensation while pooping. HPV infection is also an STI, but under favorable circumstances, it can even lead to anal cancer.
Based on the cause of burning sensation, accompanying symptoms include,
Bleeding from the anus.
Ulcers and abscesses in the anus.
Presence of growths in the anal region.
Altered bowel habits (like alternating diarrhea and constipation with altered frequency).
If you experience a burning sensation while pooping occasionally for a day or two and feel that spicy foods and occasional diarrhea or constipation due to food poison, infection, or poor hydration are causing the discomfort, then it should not be a concern. Because treating diarrhea or constipation and refraining from spicy foods can restore your poop pleasure.
But if your pooping discomfort is persistently extending for more than two days and you could not identify the cause or have other risk factors such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, STIs, etc., it is definitely concerning. You should seek a physician’s help to identify and rectify the problem.
You will be thoroughly examined to rule out the cause. The treatment for burning sensation in the anal canal while defecating is cause-oriented, and simultaneous localized symptomatic treatment will be started.
For diarrhea, you will be prescribed antibiotics. Apart from that, drink adequate amounts of fluids and oral rehydration solution to replenish the lost fluids and electrolytes. Once diarrhea gets treated, your burning sensation will also subside.
For constipation, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods rich in fiber content. Laxatives will also be prescribed to ease your bowel movements. Regularly exercise for better bowel movements.
If localized infection at the anal site is causing the burning sensation, topical and oral antibiotics will be prescribed.
If anal fissures are present topical numbing agents like Lidocaine or Benzocaine and topical nitrates will be prescribed for local application. This greatly relieves your burning sensation or pain. Sitz bath, stool softeners, a high fibrous diet, and hydration help relieve the symptoms.
Antiseptic ointments can also be applied.
In case of warts or polyps, your surgeon might remove them surgically or with lasers and cryotherapy.
If STIs are the reason for your burning sensations, your treating physician will prescribe you antibiotics.
Use condoms and lubricate adequately while performing anal sex.
Note: If you are susceptible to intestinal polyps or have a family history of intestinal or colorectal polyps, you are at high risk of developing polyps and colorectal cancer. Hence yearly screening for colon and rectal cancer is necessary.
Burning sensation with bowel movements might make you feel embarrassed with hesitancy to open up regarding your condition to your friends, family members, or healthcare providers, thinking they might make fun of your problem. But it is not so. Leaving the condition untreated might disrupt your peace, well-being, and health. Feel free to contact a gastroenterologist at the comfort of your house.
Wash the area with water and non-perfumed soap and apply soothing cream before and after defecating. As a temporary fix, applying soothing cream such as Hydrocortisone creams can help.
Normally the pH of human feces is alkaline, but when the stool is acidic, it indicates an underlying digestive disorder like lactose intolerance, an infection caused by E.coli, or an overgrowth of acid-producing bacteria.
A small tear or fissure in the skin of the anus that is caused due to passing a large or hard poop can cause a severe sharp and burning pain when doing a poop that can last for several hours after doing a poop.
You can eat spicy food with some dairy, like adding some cream, yogurt because the chemical called capsaicin present in spicy foods binds itself onto a compound in milk and neutralizes the burn. Even eating something sweet with spicy food can lessen or neutralize the spiciness.
Spicy foods contain a chemical substance called capsaicin which can irritate the digestive tract triggering the TRPV1 receptors. This capsaicin is present even after the digested food reaches the anus and gives this burning sensation when you poop after eating spicy food.
Diarrhea triggered by eating spicy foods usually resolves in a day or two. In most cases, eating non-spicy foods for a few days can help resolve the burning sensation better.
While being pregnant, the uterus becomes enlarged, putting pressure on the anus leading to discomfort or pain. This extra pressure can also cause hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins caused due to increased blood flow in the pelvic area and pressure on the veins from the growing uterus.
The body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, especially early on in your pregnancy. It can even affect bowel movements causing either hard or loose stools. When the levels of progesterone increase, it can cause the digestive system to slow down, resulting in constipation.
Low-fat food goes through the baby so quickly that all the lactose gets digested. When the lactose reaches the lower bowel, it draws extra water and is fermented by bacteria producing gas and acidic stools.
During pregnancy, there is an increase in the hormone progesterone. When the hormone level increases, the muscle contractions in the intestines slow down. And when the muscle contractions slow down, the bowels do not flow as freely or as easily, resulting in straining or painful bowel movements.
When the veins present in and around the anus and rectum are inflamed, it is called hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can irritate the veins and can cause burning and pain during bowel movements.
There are many different types of viruses, such as norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus, that can cause viral gastroenteritis. The symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and burning poop.
Last reviewed at:
15 Nov 2022 - 5 min read
Why is there heart beat below my throat after drinking hot?
Query: Hi doctor, Before a month, I had a feeling of heart palpitation and some beats below my throat after having a party meal. I am a vegetarian. So after checking ECG, I started taking Pan IT in the morning and evening, Gaviscon and Ciplar for ten days. My heartburn has gone. But I have a little bit o... Read Full »
Peripheral Neuropathy – Types, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment
Article Overview: Any damage to the peripheral nerves, that is the nerves that carry signals from the brain to rest of the body, is called peripheral neuropathy. Learn about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Read Article
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy? The peripheral nervous system carries information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, and also send sensory information to the central nervous system. The nerves that make up the peripheral nervous system are called peripheral nerves. Damage to thes... Read Article
Black or Tarry Stools - Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment
Article Overview: Black or tarry stools can be a result of a medical condition or a diet. Read this article to know more about black stools. Read Article
Introduction Black or tarry stool is not always something to panic about. Many common causes like food, iron supplements, and other medicines can make your stool appear black. When food is not digested properly in the stomach because of some surgery or including licorice and beet in the diet, it wil... Read Article
Most Popular Articles
Do you have a question on Burning Poop or ?Ask a Doctor Online