An anal fissure is a superficial lesion of the tissue covering the inside of the anus. It causes a sharp pain at the time of bowel movements. This pain disappears after a few minutes or even hours, but may reappear with the next bowel movement. You may also see traces of blood on the surface of the stool or on the toilet paper.
People with anal fissures may sometimes experience a tearing or burning sensation during defecation. Itching in the anal area is also possible.
A persistent fissure may cause chronic constipation, due to fear of having a bowel movement, which can make the anal injury worse. It is also possible that the sphincter muscles (which keep the anus closed) are affected and cause painful spasms. These spasms can prevent the proper flow of blood to the anus, which can hinder the healing of the anal fissure.
There are several causes of anal fissures:
passing a hard stool
chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
And more rarely :
certain sexual practices;
an infection of the anus;
Prevention consists mainly of avoiding constipation by eating foods rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, by staying well hydrated, by practicing physical activities regularly and by having a bowel movement as soon as the need arises in order to avoid straining.
Often, the fissure will resolve itself after a few weeks.
To reduce pain and itching, certain measures can be taken:
Take a warm sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day, which will improve blood circulation and thus promote healing;
Apply a zinc oxide-based ointment;
Apply an ointment that reduces pain.
To facilitate defecation, a stool softener, fiber supplements or laxatives can be used.
A health care professional may prescribe an application or medication to relax the muscles in the anal area. Surgery may be performed if the problem persists.
People with signs of anal fissure should consult their health care professional as these symptoms may also be due to other health problems.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Sami Soltan, Pharmacist
Cité Mirabel Pharmacy
11800 de Chaumont, Mirabel, Qc, J7J0T8