Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the lower portion of the anal opening, which extends a short distance into the anal canal. The tear is usually initiated by a hard bowel movement, but on other occasions can be caused by inflammation around the anal region.

The symptoms mainly are anal pain and rectal bleeding. The pain is usually sharp and tearing in nature and can vary in intensity from mild to severe anal pain. There are two types of fissures, an acute fissure which is usually caused by a hard bowel movement and lasts for a few days and a chronic fissure in which the symptoms persists for more than a month.

Anal fissure is usually treated by ensuring a soft bowel movement using stool softeners and staying on a high-fiber diet. In addition, topical creams can be used to alleviate the spasm and help heal the fissure. Alternatively, Botox® injections can be used to relieve the spasm and heal the fissure. In some cases, especially when the fissure is long-standing and the pain is severe, surgery may be needed. It consists of an outpatient surgical procedure in which the internal anal sphincter muscle is partially slit open. This relieves the anal spasm, provides a quick and dramatic improvement of the anal pain, and helps heal the fissure.

 Learn more by watching this short video about anal fissures

Read more about anal fissures at the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website.