What is an Anal Fissure?
An anal fissure (punit sa puwit) is a small tear or cut in the skin that lines the anus. Fissures typically cause sharp pain during and after defecation and often bleed. Fissures are in fact quite common, but are often confused with other causes of pain and bleeding, such as hemorrhoids. Anything that can cut or irritate the inner lining of the anus can cause a fissure. A hard, dry bowel movement is typically responsible for a fissure. Other causes of a fissure include diarrhea or inflammatory conditions of the anal area.
What are the Symptoms of an Anal Fissure?
The typical symptoms of an anal fissure are pain during or after defecation and bleeding. Patients may try to avoid defecation because of the pain.
Often treating one’s constipation or diarrhea can cure a fissure. An acute fissure is typically managed with non-operative treatments and over 90% will heal without surgery. A high fiber diet, fiber supplements, stool softeners, and plenty of fluids help relieve constipation, promote soft bowel movements, and aide in the healing process. Increased dietary fiber may also help to improve diarrhea. Warm sitz baths for 10-20 minutes several times each day are soothing and promote relaxation of the anal muscles, which can also help healing. Occasionally, special medications may be recommended. A chronic fissure may require additional treatment, likely surgery.