When any kind of cut or crack is formed in the anus or anal canal, it is called fissure or anal fissures. This often happens when hard and large stools come during bowel movements due to which there is pain while passing stool and sometimes blood also comes with the stool. During a fissure, the patient feels a muscle spasm at the end of his anus. Fissures are a fairly common condition in young children but they can occur at any age. Most of the problems with fissures are cured by simple treatments, such as consuming high amounts of fibre in foods and taking sitz baths, etc. In severe cases of fissures, the patient may need medical help and sometimes surgery.
Types of Anal fissure
There are generally two types of fissures-
A hole or crack on the upper surface of the skin is called an acute fissure.
When the holes or cracks on the surface of the skin are not healed, over time they develop into chronic fissures.
Symptoms of Anal fissure
- Loss of pain during bowel movement which sometimes turns serious.
- Pain after having a bowel movement which can last for several hours.
- A dark red color appears on the stool after a bowel movement.
- Itching or burning around the anus.
- The appearance of cracks in the skin around the anus.
- The appearance of a lump on the skin near the anal fissure.
Causes of Anal fissure
The most common cause of fissures is damage to the skin of the anus and anal canal. In most cases, it happens to those people who have the problem of constipation, especially when hard and large stools pass inside the anus. It damages the lining of the anus and anal canal.
Other possible causes of fissures-
- Persistent diarrhoea.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis.
- Constipation for a long time.
- Sometimes sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as syphilis or herpes, which infect and damage the anus and anal canal.
- Abnormal tightening of the anal sphincter muscles.
- Many babies get anal fissures in their first year of life.
- Blood circulation slows down in older people, which leads to a decrease in blood flow to their anal region due to which they may partially develop the problem of a fissure.
- Pregnancy and childbirth.
- Reducing intake of fibre rich diet.
- Scratching in the anus.
- Swelling in the anus and rectum.
- Cancer in the rectum.
- Wiping the anus with hard or excessive pressure after a bowel movement.
Prevention from Anal fissure
For preventing anal fissure do the following-
- Eat a balanced diet that includes a good amount of fibre, fruits and vegetables.
- Drink a sufficient amount of fluids.
- Keep exercising regularly.
- Consume alcohol and caffeinated substances such as tea and coffee.
- When the urge to go to the toilet is felt, it should not be ignored because not emptying the intestines can cause constipation. This is because the stool that accumulates in the intestines becomes hard which causes pain and cracks in the anus as it passes through the anus.
- Do not sit in the toilet for a long time or exert too much pressure. Doing this increases the pressure in the anal canal. If you have any other health-related problem which increases the risk of getting fissures, then seek a doctor’s advice about it.
Tests for Anal Fissure
Examine the anus, anal canal and lower rectum.
Examine the lower part of the large intestine.
Removal of a sample of anal tissue for testing.
Examining the colon.
Home remedies for Anal fissure
Eat fibre-rich food-
Foods high in fibre, such as wheat bran, beans, peas, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, prevent stools from becoming too hard or too liquid. Thus, consuming fibre-rich food is one of the effective home remedies to prevent anal fissures.
Sitz bath (hot bath)-
Taking a hot bath is beneficial to reduce the problems caused by anal fissures. This helps in smoothing the blood flow to the anal area. It helps to heal minor cracks and splits of tissue. It also helps in reducing the pain, swelling and itching caused by anal fissures. To do this, fill a large bathtub with hot water and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to it. Now sit in the tub for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do this two to three times a day.
Olive oil, a rich natural laxative helps make bowel movements easier due to the anti-inflammatory properties present in it, it helps in the easy passage of stool. To use it, mix equal amounts of olive oil, honey and beeswax in a bowl. Heat it in the microwave until the wax is completely melted. Then after it cools down, apply it to the affected area.
Aloe vera has pain-relieving properties which reduce the symptoms of anal fissure. It also helps in the repair of damaged skin tissue. To use them, take a leaf of the aloe vera plant and cut it out to extract the gel. Then apply this gel to the affected area.
Stay away from junk food-
Indigestion is caused by junk foods which worsens the condition of the anal fissure. Therefore, do not consume junk food.
Consume high water fruits-
Foods that have a high water content help in keeping the body hydrated. It also promotes bowel movement and improves the digestion process which results in less straining during the passage of stool.
When to go to the Doctor?
- If there is pain during bowel movement.
- If blood appears in the stool after defecation.