What is an anal fissure?
An anal fissure is a small tear in the skin lining the opening of the anus. Fissures can cause severe pain and bleeding, especially after bowel movements. Anal fissures can be caused by hard or difficult bowel movements. Changes in diet resulting in softer stools, as well as topical anesthetics to reduce pain, are common nonsurgical treatments. If surgery is required, your surgeon will work to relax the anal area so there is less anal pain. Click here to learn more about anal fissures.
What is the treatment for an anal fissure?
The majority of anal fissures do not require surgery. The most common treatment for an acute anal fissure consists of improving bowel habits. Bowel habits are improved with a high-fiber diet, bulking agents (fiber supplements), stool softeners, and plenty of fluids to avoid constipation and promote the passage of soft stools. Topical anesthetics for pain and warm tub baths (sitz baths) for 10-20 minutes several times a day (especially after bowel movements) are soothing and promote relaxation of the anal muscles, which may help the healing process.
A chronic fissure (lasting greater than one month) may require additional treatment. Depending on the appearance of the fissure, other medical problems such as inflammatory bowel disease or infections may be considered, and testing may be recommended. A manometry test may be performed to determine if anal sphincter pressures are high. An examination under anesthesia may be recommended to determine if a definite reason exists for lack of healing.