An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus as a result of trauma or injury to the anal canal. Most of the time this occurs with constipation, diarrhea, vaginal delivery, or anal sex.
The most common symptom is anal pain that can worsen during or after having a bowel movement. Bleeding can also occur.
If you suspect you have an anal fissure, scheduling an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist can help. They can accurately diagnose and treat your anal fissure. Other disorders that can
What are the Symptoms of an Anal Fissure?
Common symptoms of an anal fissure include:
- Visible tears in the anus
- Pain that can last for hours after you have used the bathroom
- Itching sensation
- Discomfort before, during, or after passing of stool
- Bleeding on the top of your stools, tissue, or in the toilet
What are the Causes of an Anal Fissure?
For some patients, anal fissures are a short-term issue. Others, however, may have chronic anal fissures that last six weeks or more. Chronic anal fissures can arise due to other gut conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
Diet and hydration can play a significant role in the size, shape, and consistency of your stool. A diet that's low in fiber and water can result in harder stools, resulting in constipation or large and hard stools that are painful and create tears as they pass through the canal.
Treatment for Anal Fissures is Safe When Performed by a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist
Depending on the symptoms and your overall health, your board-certified gastroenterologist can prescribe one or more types of treatments for your anal fissures. This can include:
- Changes to your diet
Eating a diet high in fiber-rich foods like vegetables and fruits and drinking more water can help change your stool from hard to soft.
- Taking a laxative or other stool softeners
This can regulate your frequency of going to the bathroom and also help to soften your stool.
- Nitroglycerin or nifedipine ointment
A prescription medication, this ointment relaxes the muscles around the anus and promotes healing of the tears in the area. Side effects can include headache or low blood pressure
- Sitz baths
A warm, shallow bath has been shown to help ease the symptoms associated with anal fissures.
- Botulinum toxin
Botox is injected into the anal muscle which allows it to relax and let the fissure heal. The main side effect is temporary fecal incontinence (leakage of stool).
For fissures that do not heal after 1-3 months, a minor outpatient surgery called a lateral internal sphincterotomy can be performed that cuts the muscle of the anus and allows the fissure to heal. Pain from this procedure is generally mild. The main side effect of this surgery is temporary fecal incontinence.