An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of your anus, or the lower part of your rectum, where stool passes out of your body. There are two main types, the primary symptom of which is pain during bowel movements:
- An acute anal fissure is a short-term problem that might last a few days or weeks. Acute anal fissures often go away on their own or with simple lifestyle changes, such as eating more fiber.
- A chronic anal fissure is one that lasts for several months or even years. Chronic anal fissures usually do not disappear without treatment. A doctor at Rush can help determine which treatment is best for you.
Anal fissure: what you should know
- Some common causes of anal fissures include these:
- Anal fissures are common in young infants. Frequent diaper changes and gentle cleaning techniques can help prevent or treat anal fissures in infants.
- The main symptom of anal fissures is a sharp cutting pain when you pass stool.
- The pain may linger after the bowel movement, becoming a dull, aching or throbbing discomfort that can last for a few minutes or a few hours.
- The pain is sometimes accompanied by blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
How can I get help for an anal fissure?
Most anal fissures heal on their own. Often, you can promote pain relief and healing at home with techniques such as these:
- Eating more fiber, which can help prevent diarrhea and constipation
- Sitting in a warm, shallow bath (also called a sitz bath), which can help relax the muscles that open and close to let stool pass
If your pain during bowel movements or blood in your stool do not go away, you should see your primary care doctor. If needed, your primary care doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist or colon and rectal surgeon for additional care.
Care for anal fissures at Rush
If you have a chronic anal fissure that requires treatment, your care at Rush may involve one or more of the following:
- Medications that can relax the muscles that open and close to let stool pass
- Botox injections, which relieve tension in the anal sphincter by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that open and close to let stool pass
- Lateral internal sphincterotomy, a simple surgical procedure that can reduce pressure on the anal sphincter, which opens and closes to let stool pass