Proctalgia fugax may be diagnosed using criteria proposed at the Rome II conference.


Fugax indicates fleeting and is derived from the Latin fugere "to flee".


Criteria for proctalgia fugax:

(1) Sporadic and recurrent episodes of sudden, sharp pain localized to lower rectum or anus.

(2) The episodes last for a few seconds or minutes.

(3) Between episodes there is no pain.

(4) Examination of the anorectal area shows no structural lesion.


Additional features:

(1) Smooth muscle spasm appears to be the cause in many cases.

(2) Many patients are perfectionistic (maybe this is where the terms "anal retentive" and "pain in the ass" come from), anxious, or hypochondriacal.


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