Air conditioning can trigger gastrointestinal pain

Air conditioning can trigger gastrointestinal pain

Among the more unusual medical symptoms that may lead you to see a gastroenterologist is something called "proctalgia fugax" which is, quite literally, a pain in the behind.

Dr. Kenneth Brown, a Dallas-area gastroenterologist explains that proctalgia fugax manifests itself as severe anal pain that often occurs in the middle of the night when the patient is sleeping. This symptom, which can last for hours preventing any hope of a return to sleep, typically has a simple cause -- cold air.

The cold from triggers a spasm of the anal muscles resulting in painful cramping. Once the condition is diagnosed it can usually be avoided by changing the fan or air conditioning in the home or by having the patient wear warmer bed clothing.

Any severe gastrointestinal pain can be an indicator of a more serious problem. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, bleeding or hemorrhaging, combined with pain in the groin or hip can indicate a perforated bowel, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

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