Have you got an Anal Fissure?

Whilst most anal itches can be soothed by administering a cool and calming cream, there are sometimes more serious causes that may need the attention of a GP to diagnose and treat. One of the most common is an anal fissure, a tear or ulcer on the lining of the anal wall. This can cause pain and irritation as well as bleeding and needs to be treated properly if you think you have one.

An anal fissure can often be caused by something like a period of constipation, but other conditions can also have an influence including:

  • Regular or long lasting diarrhoea
  • Persistent IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • As a side effect of some sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Tight anal muscles that can be over stretched.

It’s estimated that one in ten of us will suffer from an anal fissure at some point in our lives and it can occur in anyone, young, old, male or female. Normally, an anal fissure will heal by itself but if symptoms persist then you will need to pay a visit to your GP, even if you are embarrassed. Your GP will undertake a visual examination if the problem is near the opening of the anus or might have to explore the anal canal with his finger. Under certain circumstances he or she may well refer you to a specialist unit for assessment.

Treating your anal fissure

There are a number of ways in which you can ease the discomfort of an anal fissure while you give it time to heal. These mostly revolve around ensuring that you can pass stools easily and include:

  • Make sure you have plenty of fibre in your diet.
  • Keep drinking the water. One of the main causes of constipation comes from not being properly hydrated. Water is basically one of nature’s natural laxatives.
  • If you have an urge to go to the toilet, don’t put it off.
  • Have a gentle exercise regime that makes it more likely that you will avoid things like constipation.

The good news is that there only exceptional circumstances where an anal fissure will require something more dramatic like surgery. This usually happens when it is a bad tear in the anal wall that has trouble healing on its own. Your GP will geneerally prescribe solutions like an anal cream and laxatives to keep your bowels moving properly.

Preventing anal fissures

It’s not really possible to totally prevent anal fissures but you can reduce their likelihood by eating a high fibre diet that includes plenty of green vegetables, wholegrain rice and bread and other healthy foods. Basically you are looking at anything that helps to avoid constipation which can cause you to overstrain, so exercise and plenty of water are all included in the list.


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