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Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 893–898 | Cite as

Proctalgia Fugax: Demographic and Clinical Characteristics. What Every Doctor Should Know from a Prospective Study of 54 Patients

  • Vincent de Parades
  • Isabelle Etienney
  • Pierre Bauer
  • Milad Taouk
  • Patrick Atienza
Article

Purpose

This prospective study was designed to describe a typical attack of proctalgia fugax.

Methods

Patients were recruited from May 2003 to June 2004. Whatever the reason for consultation, they were systematically asked: “Do you ever suffer intermittent and recurring anorectal pain lasting for at least three seconds?” If the answer was yes, they were interviewed with a questionnaire and had a proctologic examination. The criterion for proctalgia fugax was a positive answer with a negative examination.

Results

The study included 1,809 patients. Fifty-four of these patients (3 percent) had proctalgia fugax and 83 percent of them had never sought medical advice for this problem. The mean age was 51 (range, 18–87) years. Thirty-seven patients were females (69 percent). The onset of pain was sudden and without a trigger factor in 85 percent of cases. Attacks occurred in the daytime (33 percent) as well as at night (35 percent). The pain was described as cramping, spasm-like, or stabbing in 76 percent of cases. It did not radiate in 93 percent of cases. There were no concomitant symptoms in 81 percent of cases. Attacks stopped spontaneously in 67 percent of cases. The average duration was 15 minutes (range, 5 seconds to 90 minutes). The average annual number of attacks was 13 (range, 1–180).

Conclusions

Proctalgia fugax affects twice as many females as males at approximately aged 50 years. Commonly the roughly once-monthly attack occurs as a sudden pain with no trigger factor, diurnally as often as nocturnally. The nonradiating cramp, spasm, or stabbing pain, without concomitant symptoms, is most severe on average after 15 minutes and declines spontaneously.

Key words

Proctalgia fugax Anorectal pain Attack 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Marie Pierre Lang, M.D., for her valuable assistance and Clara for her patience.

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Copyright information

© The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent de Parades
    • 1
    • 2
  • Isabelle Etienney
    • 1
  • Pierre Bauer
    • 1
  • Milad Taouk
    • 1
  • Patrick Atienza
    • 1
  1. 1.Proctologie Médico-InterventionnelleGroupe Hospitalier Diaconesses - Croix Saint SimonParisFrance
  2. 2.Proctologie Médico-InterventionnelleGroupe Hospitalier Diaconesses - Croix Saint SimonParisFrance

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