If it’s painful to do your business, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), says John Inadomi, M.D., a gastroenterologist who practices at the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. People with IBS often experience abdominal pain with either constipation or diarrhea, but the pain always gets better after a bowel movement.
“IBS certainly interferes with your quality of life, but it’s not a dangerous condition,” says Inadomi. “If the pain doesn’t go away after a bowel movement, that’s out of the ordinary and we’d want to evaluate that.”
Pain that doesn’t go away paired with diarrhea may be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a spectrum of inflammatory diseases that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, says Inadomi. These conditions require treatment by gastroenterologists who have specialized knowledge of the disease complications and how to manage it.
In rare cases, the pain could be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Once more common in older adults, colon and rectal cancer are on the rise among people in their early 50s and younger, research shows.
If Your Poop Is… Red