Have you experienced excruciating pain in the rectum as a result of spasms in your anal sphincter? You may not even know this condition is called proctalgia fugax and you may struggle with the agonizing pelvic floor pain with no quick solution. You may also not get much help from your doctor because the management of proctalgia fugax remains challenging.
The good news is that there is a simple solution that eases the spasms and stops the pain very quickly, typically in less than 2 minutes and sometimes as quickly as 30 seconds. Ashlee discovered how quickly a GABA lozenge worked to give her immediate relief from her scary and excruciatingly painful spasms.
Here is Ashlee’s wonderful feedback on the blog I wrote on this topic a few years ago after this started happening to me:
I want to personally thank you for this article and option of GABA to relieve the excruciating pain I was having.
After research I realized that my pelvic floor was having spasms. Such a new and scary feeling to have been having, and finding your advice and immediate relief of GABA changed everything!
Of course the scariest part initially is the pain and the “what is happening feeling!” But it’s quickly followed up with “when will this happen again, where will I be, and what do I do in that situation?”
I would highly recommend the GABA lozenges which I got at the vitamin store down the street. I carry them in a little baggie with me now just in case an episode happens. I did have an episode happen when I was on site of a job, and thankfully had the GABA lozenge to immediately relieve the pain, literally (within 30 seconds!! INCREDIBLE!)
The option otherwise (and what I did when it first happened) was to soak in a warm bath or with a heating pad, which obviously is not an option if you are at work or not at home.
The other options as suggested online are even scarier… resorting to electric shock up the rectum to ease the spasms! Yikes!
I thanked her for sharing how well the GABA lozenge works for her, saying how happy I am for her! I also let her know that I’d love to share it as a new blog post because it offers so much hope to others (hence this blog).
GABA Calm lozenge and other low GABA symptoms
I assume Ashlee is referring to Source Naturals GABA Calm lozenges which contains 125mg of GABA and is a sublingual lozenge. They do really work this quickly for spasms, pain and anxiety too. GABA always works best when used in a sublingual form like this or when a GABA capsule is opened onto the tongue.
I agree with her – it’s a good plan to keep GABA on hand in case she gets the spasms during the day. I also recommend having GABA next to the bed because it often seems to happen in the middle of the night.
I did ask if using GABA has also helped with easing her other low GABA symptoms. These can include:
- physical anxiety and overwhelm
- intrusive thoughts
- stiff and tense muscles or other muscle spasms/pain
- insomnia (often the type where you lie awake feeling stiff and tense)
- stress eating carbs or sugary treats
- self-medicating with wine or other alcoholic beverages in order to relax and fit in
You can see the entire list of low GABA symptoms here.
(I’ll share an update when I hear back from Ashlee.)
My experience, definition of proctalgia fugax, incidence and overview
I acknowledged her comment about it being very scary the first time it happens. I first blogged about this after it happened to me in 2017 and I figured out GABA worked very quickly for my excruciatingly painful spasms. It was really scary!
You can read about my experience and triggers on this blog: How GABA eases agonizing rectal pain and spasms in under 2 minutes.
The above blog also
- defines this condition called proctalgia fugax which leads to rectal spasms and sharp fleeting pain in the lower rectum or anus. In some people it can be more than fleeting and is often described as excruciating and agonizing
- shares how others describe the pain and how common it is (up to 18% of the population, more common in women and affects individuals between 30 and 60 years of age).
- discusses heating pads as a solution (they also work but can take 20 minutes to take effect and that is simply too long when you are moaning and writhing in pain)
- mentions medications that are commonly prescribed
- describes using 30-60 seconds of finger pressure as one possible solution
- reviews the BEST solution – sublingual GABA. Theanine and taurine can also help
Electrical stimulation of the anorectal muscles or botox – as treatment approaches
When I had first researched this a few years ago, I had not read about “electric shock up the rectum to ease the spasms” that Ashlee mentioned in her comment. I went looking and found this on Webmd:
For severe proctalgia fugax, electrical stimulation of the anorectal muscles may provide relief. This treatment option involves inserting a small, finger-sized probe into the rectum and using a low voltage current to relax spastic muscles through vibration.
This may be similar to the 30-60 seconds on finger pressure I described but I’ll take the GABA supplement thank you!
This article also mentions botox injections which I am aware is often done. But this opens up another whole can of worms with toxicity issues and the risk of increased panic attacks with botox.
I also share additional information here: How to address rectal spasms with GABA, pelvic floor work, gluten removal and squats
Management of proctalgia fugax remains challenging and treatment outcomes modest at best
A paper, Proctalgia Syndromes: Update in Diagnosis and Management, published June 2020 by gastroenterology departments in Ireland, Romania, Italy and the USA recognizes that “functional anorectal pain syndromes” are complicated and “are a neglected yet often disabling clinical entity resulting in significant economic and psychological burden to the patient.”
They acknowledge that “management of proctalgia fugax remains challenging and treatment outcomes modest at best” and conclude that “further investigation of treatment approaches in proctalgia fugax is required.”
I plan to reach out to the authors and share these wonderful results that individuals are reporting with the use of sublingual GABA. I would also love to get some case studies published so this approach becomes common knowledge.
Resources if you are new to using GABA and the amino acids as supplements
If you are new to using the amino acids GABA and the other amino acids as supplements, here is the Amino Acids Mood Questionnaire from The Antianxiety Food Solution (you can see the low GABA symptoms here) and a brief overview here, Anxiety and targeted individual amino acid supplements: a summary.
If you suspect low GABA or low levels of any of the neurotransmitters and do not yet have my book, The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings, I highly recommend getting it and reading it before jumping in and using amino acids so you are knowledgeable. And be sure to share it with the team you or your loved one is working with.
The book doesn’t include product names (per the publisher’s request) so this blog, The Antianxiety Food Solution Amino Acid and Pyroluria Supplements, lists the amino acid products that I use with my individual clients and those in my group programs.
Have you ever experienced this rectal pain and spasms/proctalgia fugax? Has GABA worked for you? What else has helped?
If GABA helped ease the spasms and pain, how quickly did it work and what product did you use? Did it help with some of the other low GABA symptoms too?
Have you been able to figure out possible triggers or root causes other than low GABA?
If you’re a practitioner, have you seen this with clients or patients and has GABA helped them?
Feel free to ask your questions here too.