The presence of anal fissures is a common ailment which is caused due to a tear or wound in the ligaments of the lower rectum. It affects both men and women. In this article we shall look at the causes, treatment and prevention methods for this condition.
Anal fissures cause severe itching and pain in those areas during bowel movements. Though this is common amongst a lot of people, it has to be treated seriously and ignoring it may possibly lead to other complications.
Whom does it affect?
Anal fissures affect people of all ages. Both men and women are equally affected with respect to the causes of the disease. Such fissures are particular among women after their child-birth and also in children during constipation due to the weak formation of their muscles.
During bowel movements, in some people, there is an extra tension in the muscular rings of the anus. Though the outer sphincter muscle is under the control of the person, the inner muscle may not be. Hence, when there is extra pressure, the inner sphincter muscle tends to develop a fissure, which results in the reduction of the blood flow to that part of the body. Hence, the ligaments become weak and may develop a tear and frequent blood loss.
In general, most fissures are caused due to the over stretching of the mucous membranes and the sphincter muscles. This condition is generally caused by various factors such as
- Severe and chronic constipation
- Applying a lot of strain during stool movements
- If the stool is hard and dry
- Lack of relaxation during repeated diarrhea
- Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Tight sphincter muscles
- Anal intercourse
- Anal probing
- Lack of fiber in the diet
Symptoms and effects
Anal fissures are generally accompanied by a stinging and burning pain during bowel movements and may persist for a few hours. They often itch severely and bleed occasionally. There may be a yellow discharge too.
Blood that comes out during bowel movements does not mix with the stool and rather comes separately causing severe burning pain. Fissures may also be painless and the wound caused due to it takes months to be healed. This is often accompanied by blood with the stool.
Anal fissures can be prevented by taking the following measures
- Proper diet, by including lots of fiber in one’s food regularly. Consumption of a large amount of water.
- Complications like diarrhea and constipation must be treated with care.
- Avoiding straining and pressurizing the anus during bowel movements
- Keep the anus clean and hygienic
If symptoms are seen, the usage of a stool softener can prevent further complications.
Most fissures are treated with ordinary home treatments, which gets cured in a week or two. These are called acute fissures. However, some may take more than a month or even more. Such cases require medication and further complicated cases require surgery for their cure.
Common fissures are treated by the consumption of fiber diet, by using stool softeners, and by having a sitz bath. Medication is not required for these cases and a single pain-killer will do.
Pediatric fissures which occur in infants are due to constipation and they can be treated by treating the constipation.
Certain deep fissures can be treated only with surgery. The surgery is, in general, referred to as surgical sphincterotomy. This includes exercising a portion of the sphincter muscles and stretching or dilating the anal canal slowly, which increases blood flow to that zone.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.