ZocdocAnswersWhy do I always have stomach pain before a bowel movement?

Question

Why do I always have stomach pain before a bowel movement?

About 15 or 20 minutes before I have to have a bowel movement I get sharp, intense pain in my stomach. It completely goes away after I use the restroom but the pain is pretty bad. Any reason this would be going on? What do I do?

Answer

You should definitely go to see your primary care doctor for evaluation for this symptom. Any persistent abdominal pain really needs a full medical evaluation to make sure that there is nothing serious going on. It may be that your pain is not a serious problem. For example, when you are getting ready to have a bowel movement, sometimes the intestinal contractions can be quite strong and these can be painful, especially if you are not readily able to go to the bathroom and have to 'hold it.' In these cases, trying to plan for your bowel movements so that you have access to a bathroom when you need one can be very helpful. However, sometimes pain before a bowel movement can be a sign of a more serious medical problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease (known also as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), which would require medical treatment. When you go to see your doctor, make sure to mention if you have had any of the following serious symptoms: weight loss, fevers, blood or mucus in your bowel movements, recent change in your bowel movements, or joint pains. This information will help your doctor figure out if additional workup for your symptoms is needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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