The dark and internal portions of our bodies are scary places to explore. We think we know ourselves, but there is so much we can’t see and don’t understand. We have to rely on professionals to walk us through the motions and guide us to better health.
The rectum is one such deep place we can’t probe all alone. We hope pairing this article’s information with medical insight will aid you on your path.
What Does a Hard Lump in Rectum Mean?
The rectum, if you are not familiar, is the medical term for the anus or butthole. It is the opening to the colon that helps us expel feces waste from the body. It has a sour reputation, but it really is a beautiful part of our digestive system. We just might not recognize the reality until it quits functioning properly and reveals to us its pivotal role.
Finding a hard lump in the rectum compounded by the fact that you can’t visualize what’s happening can bring you to a frightening moment. Like with other health scares, the statistics are in your favor that it is a minor condition, but you should still immediately book a visit with your general practitioner.
If the lump is hard to the touch it could be any of the following:
Perianal hematoma. Fancy medical language for when a blood vessel bursts on the rectum. Burst vessels can be caused by straining to poop, heavy lifting, or vigorous coughing. Purple swelling occurs up to the size of a baseball. As you can imagine, it is quite painful.
Perianal hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). A symptom of this inflammatory skin disease is clogging of hair pores and sweat glands near the anus. Little firm bumps form that are filled with stinky pus. The bad smell is a clear signal of this condition. It has strong ties to other inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s. It affects males staggering more than women with one study reporting that 93% of cases were males. African-American men develop the condition at higher rates than other races too. Burst bumps are prone to scarring and can cause permanent hardness in the area.
What Does a Soft Lump in Rectum Mean?
The firmness of the foreign or unidentified object will factor into the diagnosis. A soft lump in the rectum will usually lead to a different ending, like the following:
Anal Warts. The scientific name is condyloma acuminata and anal warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Lumps are soft and moist and can pop up anywhere including the anus, vagina, scrotum, and penis in infected people. There are over 100 strains of HPV identified. The kind that causes anal warts is not the same as the one that causes cervical or anal cancer.
Hemorrhoids. This uncomfortable situation affects as many as 50% of all people by the time they turn 50 in the U.S. In layman’s terms, piles develop when there is strain on the anus from a stiff stool, pushing too hard to pass waste, or sitting on the toilet for too long. Constipation can contribute to the issue as well by hardening poop or causing long sitting sessions. Obesity dispenses added pressure on the lower colon and rectum.
Painful Lump Between Vagina and Rectum
What if you discover a growth that’s not quite in the anus and not quite in the vagina? Describing the specific area could prove challenging and may have you whirling from confusion.
The location does shed a bit more light on what might be the foundation of a painful lump between the vagina and rectum, most likely it is:
- Leiomyomas. These are small masses of benign muscle tissue that form in almost any organ, but are most common in the uterus or vaginal area.
- Folliculitis. This super common condition is when the hair follicle becomes inflamed. Small, pimple-like bumps can pack a big punch when it comes to pain.
- Bartholin’s Gland Cyst. The Bartholin’s gland sits at the bottom of the vaginal opening and secrets mucus to lubricate the opening. In about 2 percent of woman, the gland becomes infected and quite painful.
Cause of a Lump Inside Rectum
Many of the conditions mentioned above can occur at the sphincter opening or internally. Hemorrhoids, anal warts, perianal hematoma, and anal fissures can all cause a lump inside the rectum. Anal cancer can also be internal.
Symptoms of Anal Cancer
As WebMD will tell you, all symptoms lead to cancer potentially. The outcome isn’t usually that diagnosis for the happenings we mentioned above, but it would be irresponsible to gloss over the possibility that a lump could be anal cancer.
What sets it apart is the coexisting symptoms like:
- Rectal Itching
- Bleeding from the anus
- Mass near the opening
- Swollen lymph nodes in groin and anus areas
- Sensation of fullness (when there is no stool present)
- Abnormal discharge
There is a ton of overlap between cancer and benign occurrences, so it is important to consult your doctor.
Treatment for Rectum Diseases
Each illness will have a slightly different cure. We have broken them down here a bit.
- Hemorrhoids generally heal themselves. Treatment includes topical ointments, like Preparation H, that soothe pain and itching.
- Perianal hematoma, like piles, are mostly left alone to heal independently. Pain management with drugs and topical treatments like creams are used for pain. Ice can be recommended to reduce swelling. If the affected spot has grown to an uncomfortable size, a physician can drain the area to relieve pressure and promote healing.
- Anal warts can be frozen, lasered, or chemical peeled off. There is no cure for HPV.
- Perianal HS is treated with antibiotics.
- Anal cancer is fought with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
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