If you are suffering from discomfort in the rectal area (rectal spasms in particular), you may have a condition known as levator ani syndrome. Rectal pain is not just physically uncomfortable; it’s also a major source of worry for most, since they can’t always locate or easily manipulate the sore points. Therefore it may not be clear what is causing the problem.
Understandably, we often don’t want to discuss problems in the anal area – even with a Doctor. This may prolong getting a diagnosis and finding suitable treatment. However, it is difficult to live with pain in general, and pain in the pelvic region can be overwhelming, especially when it is frequent. It is important not to leave it to get better on its own, as symptoms of levator ani syndrome can be persistent and ongoing.
If you are looking for ways to relieve pain in the rectum, read on for information on 5 natural remedies for levator ani syndrome. They may just change your life!
What is levator ani syndrome?
The levator ani is a thin but wide muscle group located on both sides of the pelvis, and it makes up part of your pelvic floor. It consists of the pubococcygeus, iliococcygeus, and puborectalis muscles. Levator ani syndrome is a form of pelvic floor dysfunction. In men, the pelvic floor supports the rectum, bladder, and urethra. In women, it’s the rectum, vagina and uterus. There are many possible disorders of the pelvic floor, but this specific disorder affects the muscles of the anus.
Although anal pain can affect both males and females, levator ani syndrome is more common in women. Levator ani syndrome is also referred to in several other ways, including chronic anorectal pain, levator spasm and pelvic tension myalgia.
Put simply, if you have this syndrome, your pelvic floor muscles are too tight, and this is causing discomfort. In this case, the problem results in painfully tight anal muscles and other concurrent symptoms, which we’ll cover below.
Why do I have rectal pain?
Without an official diagnosis for levator ani syndrome it is not easy to be totally sure. However, if you are having muscle spasms near to the anus, there is a strong possibility you have it. The levator ani muscle goes into spasm, causing pain that may spread outward to the tailbone, hips and sometimes beyond.
Although levator ani syndrome doesn’t have a definitive cause, probabilities include:
Since levator ani pain is not solely linked to passing stools, you will experience it at other times. Nor are the symptoms caused by structural abnormalities, thus the syndrome can be considered a type of muscular dysfunction of the rectum. If you only feel pain during bowel movements, you may have anal fissures or another rectal disorder. In this case, a qualified healthcare provider should diagnose it for you.
How do I know if I have levator ani syndrome?
Of all the symptoms of levator ani syndrome, the most common is pain. Levator ani muscle discomfort can present as frequent or constant dull pain and spasm in the rectum.
The pain might come and go, and it can stay for hours and even days. It is often triggered or exacerbated by extensive periods of sitting or lying down. You might find that your rectal pain feels higher up, or that the left side is more tender than the right. You may have lower back pain, pain in the groin, and even the thighs. Levator ani syndrome in men may also present as pain in the testicles, prostate and tip of the penis.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the coccyx region when defecating
- Feeling bloated
- Urgency and frequency of urination (but sometimes difficulty releasing it)
- Urinary incontinence
- Pain during and after sex/painful ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
Natural remedies for levator ani syndrome
There are several great natural levator ani syndrome treatments available to you. Here are 5 of our favorites:
- VuVa Neodymium rectal dilators
VuVa rectal dilators have so many benefits. They lengthen soft tissue while helping the muscles and ligaments to relax, making the rectum easier to open. These patented rectal dilators contain Neodymium magnets, which are there to increase the blood flow to the rectum. This calms the nerves and reduces pain. Our rectal dilators are the only ones to contain these powerful pain-relieving Neodymium magnets, which makes them the best rectal dilators on the market.
- Ayurvedic herbs
Many people are able to relieve levator ani pain with ayurvedic herbs. The most commonly used herbs are:
- Yograj Guggul
- Avipattikar Churna (a blend of various herbs)
- Arogyavardhini Vati (a blend of various herbs)
- Navkarshik Churna (a blend of various herbs)
- Dhanwantaram oil (a blend of various oils)
- Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)
Herbs are some of the best natural treatments for levator ani syndrome since they can calm the central nervous system and other bodily systems that affect this muscle group. Ayurvedic herbs can also relax nerves and muscles, strengthen the neuromuscular system and boost the immune system. Some are helpful for treating spasms, cleansing the bowel and improving its functions, and others are good for relieving pain.
If you are interested in treating levator ani syndrome with ayurvedic herbs, it is best to consult a qualified practitioner.
- A hot castor oil pack (to relax the muscles)
You can use your fingers to massage cold-pressed castor oil in a horseshoe shape, as follows:
- The base of the right sitz bone
- Up to the tailbone
- Across the sacrum
- Down to the bottom of the left sitz bone
- Heat it with a parabolic electric dish or infrared heater
Alternatively you can soak a cloth in the oil, apply it to the skin, cover it with plastic to keep the oil in place, and heat it with a hot water bottle for between 10 and 30 minutes. The heat will warm the oil, helping it to penetrate the rectal muscles.
- Magnesium (to relax the muscles)
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant with a wide range of other health benefits. You can use transdermal magnesium (magnesium chloride) to apply topically, since oral magnesium supplements may irritate the colon or have a laxative effect (except for nanoparticle magnesium, which needs no digestion). Alternatively, soak in a hot bath containing 2oz magnesium oil, or 1oz and a cup of Epsom salts. This way the magnesium can enter your body through the skin, while the heat also relaxes your muscles.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy or A.R.T
If you don’t want to take matters into your own hands, or you’re not finding sufficient relief this way, it might be a good idea to find a practitioner who can help. You may wish to get in touch with a bodywork therapist trained in myofascial release techniques or Active Release Technique (A.R.T.).
We highly recommend finding a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, who may also be able to diagnose the issue in the first place. They will be able to tell you whether you have tight or weak muscles, offer treatment and give you protocols to follow at home.
Natural remedies for levator ani syndrome should provide you with sufficient relief from your pain and discomfort. However, it may be sensible to get a proper evaluation, and in some instances, professional treatment. Whichever route you take, it is absolutely possible to recover from levator ani syndrome, so don’t give up!