Anal Lump: Medical Causes, Other Symptoms, Complications

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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What is rectal lump?

A rectal lump is a growth in the inner rectum or rectal area. Rectal lumps can vary in size and the degree to which they produce symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause, a rectal lump may or may not cause any pain.

The two most common causes are hemorrhoids and anal warts. Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging veins outside the anus (external hemorrhoids) or inside the anus (internal hemorrhoids). Hemorrhoids can be painful, but they usually resolve with self-care measures. The risk of hemorrhoids increases with increasing age. They are also common in pregnant women.

Anal warts, also called anal condylomata, are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is transmitted by direct contact from person to person. HPV and anal warts are considered to be sexually transmitted diseases (also known as STDs). Left untreated, anal warts can multiply, recur, and increase the risk of cancer in the rectal and anal region.

If you feel a lump in the anal or rectal area, contact your health care provider to determine the cause and get treatment, if needed. Small, external anal warts can generally be treated with medication applied directly to the affected area. Your health care provider may also decide to freeze the warts off using liquid nitrogen. Warts that are located inside the anal canal may require surgical removal. A number of treatment measures are also effective for the management and control of hemorrhoids.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), drainage of pus from a rectal lump, severe pain, or bloody stool. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for rectal lumps, but your symptoms recur or are persistent.

What other symptoms might occur with rectal lump?

A rectal lump may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. The symptoms of rectal lump are usually confined to the rectal or anal areas and include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching feeling
  • Lump or mass in the anal or rectal area
  • Mucus or other discharge from the rectal area
  • Pain or burning sensation
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, a rectal lump may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have a rectal lump along with other serious symptoms including:

  • Bloody stool (blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Drainage of pus from the rectum
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Multiple lumps or masses in the anal or rectal area

What causes rectal lump?

A rectal lump is most often related to hemorrhoids and anal warts. Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging veins in the anus or rectum. Anal warts are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease.

Causes of rectal lump

A rectal lump may be caused by common rectal disorders including:

  • Anal warts (human papilloma virus infection)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Perianal or perirectal abscess
  • Rectal or anal cancer or benign tumors

Questions for diagnosing the cause of rectal lump

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your rectal lump including:

  • When did you first notice the lump?
  • Do you feel one lump or multiple lumps?
  • Is the lump persistent or does it come and go?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?

What are the potential complications of rectal lump?

A rectal lump may be related to hemorrhoids, which will generally resolve with proper self-care measures. A rectal lump may also occur because of anal warts, which is a contagious, sexually transmitted disease. Because a rectal lump can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Severe discomfort or pain
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jan 6
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Hemorrhoids. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.
  2. Anal warts. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.