He comes suddenly and is very painful: the sphincter spasm. The Proctalgia fugax not only occurs on the toilet, it is also common at night. Only a few people suffering from cramps on the butt openly talk about it. We asked an affected person how such a spasm feels.
The anal sphincter spasm, also called Proctalgia fugax or Levator syndrome, is an episodic spasm of the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles. What exactly triggers the painful cramps, is not known exactly. Ultrasound examinations usually show no pathological changes in the affected area. Rarely, endocrine diseases favor occurrence. Also, hemorrhoids and constipation are discussed as triggers.
Anal spasms often occur at night
Many sufferers report an accumulation at night, but even during the day, such as in the toilet, the muscles of the anus can cramp. After intercourse or long periods of sitting, the symptoms may also increase. Women are twice as likely to be affected by sphincter spasms than men. Many report increased cramping around the time of the menstrual period.
How many people suffer from cramps is hard to say. There are studies that account for about 14 percent of the adult population. Experts assume a high number of unreported cases. Not everyone concerned goes to the doctor.
For sphincter cramps always to the doctor
Often, the pain radiates into the lower abdomen and pelvis. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting and circulatory problems due to severe pain can accompany the sphincter spasm. According to medical experts, the complaints are very unpleasant, but harmless. However, sufferers should seek out a proctologist to rule out endarthritis.
Proctalgia fugax can take up to an hour
How often the seizures occur can not be predicted. Also intensity and length can vary. Some patients suffer from the pain for up to one hour. Anyone who has a tendency to convulsions must reckon that they come again and again. Frequency often decreases with age. According to medical experts, prevention can hardly be prevented. In some patients, the spasm is manifested by a pull. Then, anticonvulsant drugs can bring relief in the acute phase.
Some patients also help with heat or by pressing their hands against the anus. Others report that convulsions are less pronounced and much less common when taking high-dose magnesium and calcium supplements. Also, a digestive diet can relieve some spasms in the sphincter. Regular warm sitz baths are often found to be helpful.
Proctalgia fugax affects women more often than men
Often the symptoms start around the age of 40 for the first time. But even younger people can be affected – like the 35-year-old Verena *. For several years she suffers again and again under the anal sphincter spasms. In her case, the cramping occurs mainly in the toilet after a bowel movement: “It happens suddenly and without warning.” Suddenly, my sphincter cramps, I can not help it, “she says. “It hurts so much, the whole area between the pelvis and the genital area hurts, it’s a dull ache that takes your breath away.”
“I was really scared”
When the cramp in the anal area occurs for the first time, Verena is very scared. “I was totally overwhelmed, I did not know what was happening and if that was a bad thing, I was really scared,” she recalls. The sphincter spasms last about five minutes with Verena. “It seems to me like an eternity, if I imagine that some suffer for up to an hour – unimaginable.”
During a spasm Verena tries to relax. Really can help her in acute cases, but nothing. “I read that it can help to squat down and lean against the wall, it does not work for me, there’s no position to help me, I just sit huddled up and hope it is quickly over, “she says. “Sometimes it happens several times a month, then I rest for a while.”
Stress favors sphincter spasms
Especially in stressful phases Verena observed an accumulation of convulsions. “No idea why that is, maybe I, or my muscles, then tense,” she surmises. “Maybe sometimes I unconsciously press too hard on the toilet and it happens because of it, I certainly do not know, but I suspect that constipation promotes convulsions, I’m just glad that it has always happened at home I really would not know what to do. “