Anal Leakage: Common Causes, Symptoms and Natural Treatments
A leaky anus can be an embarrassing condition causing uncontrollable anal discharge. Many cases of anal leakage are temporary while some are chronic.
There are many causes and treatment options of anal leakage. Don’t feel offended about anal leakage, you’re not alone, and we’re here to educate you on how to treat anal leakage.
What is Anal Leakage?
Anal leakage is a condition where muscles and nerves around the anus don’t work properly. These muscles and nerves usually work together in order to hold feces in the bowels. When either the nerves or the muscles do not work in coordination, anal leakage is a common occurrence. It is also called as anal seepage, bowel incontinence, or fecal incontinence.
Doctors believe that bowel incontinence can be broken down into two different types.
1. Urge incontinence
This is an urge or sense of panic to pass stool when you cannot make it to the toilet in time. The result is a bowel movement occurring in the clothing.
2. Passive bowel incontinence
In this condition, anal seepage occurs, or stool passes, yet the person is unaware of it until he changes his underwear. This anal leakage can also occur during the passing of gas.
What Causes Anal Leakage?
You may often wonder, why is my bottom leaking? Reasons for anal leakage often stem from dietary issues, stomach problems, and other conditions which affect the digestive system. The stress of processing food can cause a variety of symptoms including anal leakage.
Diarrhea is a common cause of anal leakage. Rectal muscles in people suffering from diarrhea cannot hold watery stools well. This causes a leaky anus. Health conditions such as gastroenteritis or irritable bowel syndrome are a primary cause of diarrhea which may lead to anal leakage.
Related Reading: Clear Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
One of the most common causes of anal leakage is constipation or impacted stool. The accumulated feces stretch the muscles of the rectum. This makes mucus or watery stool past the hard stool and leaks out. Symptoms of constipation include lower left abdomen pain, pain in lower back, and stomach pain.
3. Rectal Muscle Problems
Anal sphincters are composed of many different muscles which allow stool to pass through contractions and relaxation. If these muscles get damaged or are unable to contract completely, it can lead to anal seepage. Sphincter muscles can get damaged during childbirth, prostate or rectal surgery, trauma to the anal region, or a condition such as IBS.
4. Nerve Damage
When anal leakage occurs in small amounts without realizing it, the cause can be nerve damage. This occurs when the nerves don’t properly control the sphincter muscles; though nerve damage may not be present.
Some causes of anal seepage from nerve damage include:
- Frequent attempts to pass impacted stool
According to Dr. Benjamin Wedro, inflamed hemorrhoids can cause anal leakage. A hemorrhoid is a condition which causes swollen veins around the lower part of the rectum and anus. If you have hemorrhoids, it’s important to see your doctor for proper treatment.
Related Reading: Epsom Salt for Hemorrhoids: How to Use Epsom Salt to Treat Hemorrhoids
Anal Leakage Symptoms
Apart from leaking of stool the other symptoms one may experience include:
- Itchy anus
- Itchy buttocks
- Anal pain
- Altered bowel movements
- Burning sensation inside the anus
Itchiness is by far the most common symptom of anal leakage. It’s often caused by the irritation of the area and can cause a great deal of discomfort.
Exact symptoms will vary depending on the individual, but it is important to understand these symptoms and how to treat them, which we explain next.
How to Treat Anal Leakage?
Anal leakage can be a traumatic experience and cause great discomfort. There are several options on how to stop anal leakage to avoid any future embarrassment. Most cases are treated successfully with the right treatment plan and medical management. We’ve outlined several ways to treat anal seepage below.
1. Drink Lots of Water
Water is the most natural way to improve functions within the body and help promote a healthy digestive system. Water helps improve digestive health. Make sure you are drinking at least eight ounces of water each day to stay hydrated and limit the risk of anal leakage.
2. Eat Fiber
Fiber is what helps to enhance proper digestion through the process of softening stool. If you are suffering from anal leakage, be sure to incorporate the right amount of fiber in your diet.
Dr. Kathleen M. Zelman recommends incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet including whole grains, nuts, beans, popcorn, and berries. Keep in mind the other health benefits of eating these foods as well as your dietary goals.
3. Chamomile Tea
A wonderful natural remedy to help soothe the digestive system and the mind is chamomile tea. Chamomile has been found to aid in overall health and help relax the muscles in your body. This can aid in the reduction of anal leakage.
Related Reading: 12 Proven Health Benefits of Barley Tea That Will Surprise You
4. Lifestyle Changes
One way to improve the condition of anal seepage is to make lifestyle changes. Often, the condition is worsened through poor dietary habits and can be improved by avoiding certain foods. Some lifestyle changes which could be made include:
- Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and maintain regular bowel movements
- Avoid milk products which contain lactose, to stop diarrhea
- Avoid bowel irritating food including spicy and fried foods
- Limit caffeinated beverages which can disrupt your rectum muscles/nerves
Probiotics may reduce anal leakage by improving symptoms of diarrhea and constipation.
Research on probiotic use has found to effectively reduce the symptoms of anal leakage. This research also led to improved symptoms of diarrhea caused by the use of antibiotics, presence of viruses, or bacterial infections.
One of the most therapeutic roots in the world – ginger – has proven to be a great way to treat anal leakage through its calming abilities. Often used to treat stomach cramps and inflammation, ginger has enormous health benefits which support normal functions of the body.
A great way to consume ginger is to make a tea using the root and steeping it in a cup of boiling water. Daily consumption of ginger root tea can help support digestive health and reduce symptoms of anal leakage.
When to See the Doctor?
Since there are a wide variety of causes of rectal discharge, you must take necessary steps to improve the condition and get proper treatment. Although it’s an uncomfortable situation, it may happen to anyone among us.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience chronic anal leakage; medicinal treatment options are available. The longer a leaky anus goes untreated, the higher the risk of complications. Be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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Hills, J., ”Anal Leakage (Leaky Anus): Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments,” Healthy and Natural World web site; http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/anal-leakage-leaky-anus/, last accessed , October 26, 2017.
Marchione, V., “What causes anal leakage?”Belmarra Health web site, November 24, 2016; https://www.belmarrahealth.com/causes-anal- leakage/