What It Means If It Hurts When You Poop

Is it normal pain, or something more?

What It Means If It Hurts When You Poop Getty

Everyone has had at least one or two bathroom trips that were less than comfortable. Sometimes the discomfort is a little cramping or gas.

Other times, it could be that you have indigestion. Pain when pooping is pretty common, and truth be told, we all probably have been there once in a while.

Most of the time, a little pain when pooping isn’t that big an issue. That being said, it’s a good idea to know why it hurts to poop. If you know what’s causing the pain, you can stop it from happening next time you have a bowel movenet.


At times, finding out why it hurts to poop can help you uncover other issues that are pretty serious.

So, what does it mean if it hurts when you poop?

Here are some of the most common causes of pain.

RELATED: 3 Things Your Poop (Yes, Your Poop) Says About You And Your Health


1. You could have a hemorrhoid.

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels near your rectum that are, for one reason or another, swollen. They can occur inside or outside the rectum, and typically cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty going to the bathroom.

This is the most common reason for pain while pooping, and, thankfully, can be treated with hemorrhoid cream.

2. It could be an anal fissure.

Anal fissures are small tears around the rectum, and they can happen for a variety of reasons. They can happen if you have anal sex without lubrication or if you just had a very hard stool that was a bit too much to handle. In most cases, they heal on their own.

However, Dr. John Pemberton of the Mayo Clinic notes that "you may need surgery" if fissures are too extreme and don't heal on their own. 


3. You have diarrhea or food poisoning.

Getting the runs or eating bad food can cause poop to burn. Eating veggies and drinking water can help. Even Dr. Ravella of the Columbia Medical Center noted that not eating a lot of fiber or drinking enough water "can cause people to strain a lot going to the bathroom." We all know that, though, right?

4. You just had a baby.

Childbirth, especially through vaginal delivery, is known to cause pain when you go to the bathroom. Between the hemorrhoids, tears your body had as you delivered, and the damage to your pelvic floor, it’s easy to see why most women struggle with bathroom breaks for a while after they gave birth.


Don’t worry, most bathroom problems associated with pregnancy go away after a couple of weeks.

5. Your anus prolapsed.

It's possible to have your rectum fall out of you. An anal prolapse can happen during childbirth or from extremely rough activity. If you have a prolapse, you’ll feel a dull pain or heaviness back there most of the time.

Passing stool will be very painful as a result of things being so out of place. This requires medical attention in order to both diagnose and treat.

6. You’re dehydrated.

No water means constipation. Your digestive tract needs water to help push things through. Not having enough water in your intake can harden stools, which, in turn, can make them difficult to pass.


If you regularly have pain while your pooping, try upping your water intake a bit.

RELATED: What It Might Mean If You Have Constipation Pain

7. Your diet could use more fiber.

Fiber is known for helping your digestive tract pass things along, and also clears out your guts in a safe and healthy manner. More fiber in your diet naturally softens stools and increases regularity.

A lack of fiber hardens stools and makes it painful to hit the toilet. Having leafy greens every day or just taking a fiber supplement can help you get your daily dose.  

8. You’re constipated for reasons unknown.

Constipation can cause rectal pain, too. If you can’t seem to go to the bathroom with ease, a stool softener or laxative can help get rid of the blockage.


9. You have an impacted bowel.

When you’ve been constipated for a long time, poop can build up in your rectum or bowel. It then gets stuck, making it harder and harder to pass anything through.

Bloating, pain, and belly cramping are common symptoms associated with this. Thankfully, a talk with your doctor can get you treatment fairly quickly.

10. Your rectum is inflamed.


Rectal inflammation, also known as proctitis, happens for a variety of reasons. People who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s, or STDs like chlamydia can all have it.

If your rectum is swollen, it’s hard for stool to pass through. A trip to the doctor can help narrow down the cause and also help you get treatment.

11. It could be an STD.

Believe it or not, painful poops can be a sign that things really went down in your dating life. Certain sexually transmitted diseases are known for causing inflammation around the anus, which can make it harder to poop comfortably.

Syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are some of the most common culprits. However, this symptom can also happen with HPV.


12. Painful bowel movements are also a sign of cancer.

Before you freak out, it’s good to know that these cancers are very rare. That being said, if you’re worried about the pain and you regularly feel something hurting down there, you should get it checked out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

RELATED: The Healthiest People In The World Poop At This Time Of Day

Alex Alexander is a health and wellness writer.