An anal fissure is a tear or open wound (ulcer) that develops in the lining of the large intestine, close to the anus.
Anal fissure symptoms
The mostly common symptoms of anal fissures include:
·A sharp pain when you poo, regularly followed by a deep burning pain that may last for some hours
·Bleeding when you poo – most people observe a small amount of clear red blood either in their poo or on the toilet paper
When to see a Doctor
See a doctor if you feel you have an anal fissure.
Do not let embarrassment prevent from you seeking help. Anal fissures are common issues doctors are used to dealing with.
Most anal fissures heal without treatment, but a doctor will want to rule out other conditions with close symptoms, such as piles (hemorrhoids)
They can also brief you about self-help measures and medications that can relieve your symptoms and decrease the risk of fissures coming back.
Diagnosing anal fissures
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and the kind of pain you have been experiencing. They may also ask about your toilet routine.
They'll generally be able to see the fissure by lightly parting your buttocks.
A digital rectal examination is performed, where a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your bottom to feel for abnormalities, is not often used to diagnose anal fissures as it's apt to be painful.
The doctor may refer you for specialist diagnosis if they feel something serious is the cause of your fissure.
This may consist of a more thorough examination of your bottom performed using anesthetic to minimize pain.
Sometimes, a measurement of anal sphincter pressure may be mistaken for fissures that have not responded to simple treatments.
The anal sphincter is the ring of muscles that opens and closes the anus.
What causes anal fissures?
Anal fissures are mainly caused by damage to the lining of the anus or anal canal, the last section of the large intestine.
Most cases happen in people who have constipation, when a particularly hard or large poo causes a tear in the lining of the anal canal.
Other potential causes of anal fissures include:
· Persistent diarrhea
· Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), e.g Crohn's disease & ulcerative colitis
· Pregnancy and childbirth
· Sometimes, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as syphilis or herpes, can infect and damage the anal canal
· Having abnormally rigid anal sphincter muscles, which may raise the tension in your anal canal, causing it more prone to tearing
In many cases, no precise cause can be identified.
Treatment for anal fissure
A doctor can prescribe medication to assist relieve your symptoms and accelerate the healing process.
This can comprise laxatives to aid you poo without difficulty and painkilling ointment that you apply directly on your anus.
Surgery may be recommended in severe cases of anal fissure where self-help measures and medicine have not helped.
Surgery is usually very effective at treating anal fissures, but it does come with a small risk of complications, such as temporary or permanent loss of bowel control.
Anal fissures often heal in about few weeks without the need for treatment.
But they can easily return if they're caused by constipation that remains untreated.
In some people, symptoms from anal fissures last for up to 6 weeks or more (chronic anal fissures).
How to ease symptoms of anal fissure
Adopting some simple self-help procedures can make going to the toilet easier.
This will let existing fissures to heal, as well as lower your chances of developing new fissures in the time to come.
Self-help measures for preventing constipation include:
· Abundance of fiber in your diet, such as fruit and vegetables and whole meal bread, pasta and rice – adults should try to eat at least 30g of fiber a day
· Always staying well hydrated by drinking much of fluids
· Not ignoring the urge to poo – this can make your poo to dry out and become difficult to pass
· Exercising regularly – you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.
You can assist soothe the pain by simply taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, or by soaking your bottom in a warm bath for quite a few times a day, particularly after a bowel movement.
Anal fissures are very common, with around 1 in every 10 people affected at some point in their life.
They affect both sexes equally and persons of all ages can get them.
But kids and young adults between 10 and 30 years of age are more apt to get anal fissures.
The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com.
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