What are anal fissures?
Anal fissures are tears in the lining occur in the anus (lower rectum). These can cause an intense burning pain following a bowel movement. The pain can last from minutes to hours, depending on the severity. Some home remedies can be used to address minor anal fissures, but more severe cases might require a surgery called fissurectomy.
Causes of anal fissures
Anal fissures can be quite common. Chronic constipation or diarrhea are two causes of anal fissures. However, the fissures can also be caused by frequent passing of large stool or from giving birth.
Symptoms of anal fissures
Symptoms of an anal fissure can include:
- Minor bleeding after bowel movements
- Yellow discharge
- Itching in the anus
- Pain that can sometimes lower quality of life
- Spasms of the anal sphincter
Treatment of anal fissures
Minor anal fissures can be treated with the following:
- Sitting in warm baths. Fill a tub with warm water and sit in the tub for 15 minutes.This can be done 3-4 times each day to help reduce pain and relax the anal sphincter muscles.
- Topical anesthetics. These can numb the anal fissures and temporarily relieve pain.
In cases where anal fissures are more severe, surgical treatment, such as fissurectomy, may be necessary. The fissurectomy procedure relieves the anal sphincter muscles by cutting through from the internal sphincter to the interior anal canal. Also, edges of the fissure and skin tags that developed from chronic fissures are also removed. While symptoms may be relieved immediately from a fissurectomy, recurrence rates of fissures are higher.
Anal fissures can be prevented by doing the following:
- Eating a high-fiber diet. High fiber foods include whole grains, fresh fruit, bran, and beans. Over-the- counter fiber powders (Citrucel or Metamucil) can also supplement fiber in the diet.
- Taking stool softeners. These over-the- counter treatments can reduce the size of stool and help prevent anal fissures.
- Increasing water intake. Large amounts of water – 6-8 glasses each day – can help soften stool.
If you are interested in fissurectomy, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our proctology specialists.