Anal FissureAn anal fissure is a small tear of the skin in the anal canal. This can lead to pain during or after bowel movements and may often cause bleeding. . Symptoms may be minor and limited in duration or may be severe and last for several hours.
Fissures are common. Anal fissure is one of the most common conditions seen by a colorectal surgeon. Fissures can occur at any age in both men and women and are commonly confused with hemorrhoids or other anorectal conditions. Fissure is a benign condition that does not lead to cancer, but the symptoms must always be evaluated by your Colon and Rectal Surgeon to make sure that the correct diagnosis is made.
The Causes of anal fissure may not be obvious, but fissures frequently occur after the passage of a firm, large bowel movement. They may also occur with episodes of diarrhea or trauma from aggressive wiping. Fissures can be seen with certain inflammatory conditions of the anorectal area which may require further evaluation. Tearing or splitting of the anal canal results in spasm of the anal sphincter muscle which causes pain and resists the passage of stool.
Most fissures will heal without surgery. In order to regulate bowel activity, patients are commonly advised to increase their intake of dietary fiber and drink plenty of fluids. Stool softeners may be necessary if constipation is a problem. Fiber supplements may also be helpful to bulk up loose stool in patients who have diarrhea. Warm tub baths may help to relax muscle spasm, the main cause of the discomfort. Topical creams and ointments may also be prescribed by your physician. Recurrences of fissures are common and may require retreatment or possibly surgical treatment.
Surgical management may become necessary in non-healing fissures that are refractory to medical treatment. The operation usually consists of an outpatient procedure that involves dividing a small portion of the spastic internal sphincter muscle. This relieves the pain associated with the muscular spasm and allows the fissure to heal. Scar tissue may be trimmed from around the fissure to assist with wound healing. Relief of pain is usually noticeable within a few days.
If you need evaluation for similar symptoms, contact the Colon and Rectal Clinic office nearest you for assistance.