Do you suffer from excruciating pain in your anal area that affects how you live your life? You could be suffering from an anal fissure which is a tear on the lining of the mucosal lining of the anus. This article will look into anal fissures symptoms, what causes them, and what you can do to finally rid yourself of that pain.
Anal Fissures Symptoms
The following symptoms are characteristic of anal fissures:
- Sharp pain in the anus during bowel movements
- The pain lasts several hours after passing stool
- An apparent tear or crack on the skin of your anus
- Spasms in the anal sphincter muscle
- A burning or itching sensation in the anal region
- Streaks of blood on your stool and in the toilet
- A skin tag or lump near the fissure
Diagnosing Anal Fissures
Since an anal fissure is visible, the doctor will only need to take your medical history and perform a physical exam where an inspection of the anal area is done to diagnose the fissure. Acute anal fissures look a lot like paper cuts while the chronic kind has deeper cuts and may have growths around them.
An anal fissure usually occurs on the front or back of the anal opening. If it’s found on the side instead, it may be the indication of an underlying condition like Crohn’s disease. You may need to have further testing done to ascertain whether there is truly an underlying condition. This can be done in three different ways:
- Anoscopy - A tube-like device called an anoscope is inserted up your anus for the doctor to see the rectum and anal canal clearly.
- Colonoscopy – A flexible tube is inserted into your rectum so that the doctor can examine the entire colon. It’s usually done to check for colon cancer
- Sigmoidoscopy – This test also uses a flexible tube that is attached with a video to inspect the lower part of the colon. It’s done to check for polyps.
What Causes Anal Fissures?
Anal fissures occur due to the anus being subjected to trauma. The common reasons this could happen could be because of straining to pass hard stool, having sphincter muscles that are too tight, straining during childbirth, being obese, and having an inflammatory bowel disease. The rare reasons anal fissures may develop could be syphilis, anal cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, and herpes.
How to Ease Symptoms of Anal Fissure
Anal fissures take around 4-6 weeks for them to disappear completely and before they do, their symptoms can be a real nuisance. Meanwhile, you can work towards reducing these symptoms and make life a little more bearable. Here are some ways you can do that:
You can replace your toilet paper with soothing wipes that you can purchase in your local drugstore. They are made with ingredients like witch hazel which reduce pain, inflammation, and bleeding.
Topical Anesthetic Creams
Topical anesthetic creams can be applied to the anal fissure to relieve their pain. An example of such is lidocaine hydrochloride.
You can swallow painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to reduce the burning pain of anal fissures. Make sure you read and follow the instructions to the letter.
Sitting in warm water after bowel movements soothe the pain and irritation of anal fissures. It also improves blood circulation so the healing process is quickened.
Laxatives soften stool by facilitating their retention of fluid so you have an easier time passing it. You should never use them excessively because they can lead to chronic constipation.
Applying fresh aloe vera gel to the anal fissure will soothe the pain, inflammation, and itching. This is because it has natural soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The homeopathic ingredients in H-Fissures Formula have been carefully selected to counteract the uncomfortable symptoms of fissures. For example Chamomilla assists with painful fissures and Calendula officinalis is a remarkable healing agent.
Treatment for Anal Fissure
When you seek medical intervention, doctors will either prescribe certain medications or perform surgical procedures. The treatment approaches are outlined as follows:
It’s also known as the botox injection and it’s a toxin administered in small, safe doses so as to paralyze the spasms of the sphincter muscle. This reduces pain and allows the anal fissure to heal without interference.
This is an ointment you apply to the fissure to increase blood flow and relax the sphincter muscles so that healing occurs faster. Beware that the side effects of nitroglycerin are severe headaches.
This is an ointment that is originally meant to treat chest pains but it can also be used on anal fissures. Like nitroglycerin, it also improves blood circulation in the anal area so healing is quicker.
High Blood Pressure Medications
High blood pressure medications such as diltiazem and nifedipine can be used to treat anal fissures. They can relax the sphincter muscle, stopping the spasms so that healing can take place smoothly.
Advancement Anal Flaps
This is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes tissue from another part of your body and uses it to patch up the anal fissure. In the process, blood circulation also increases in the area so healing occurs much faster.
This is also a surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes a small cut on the sphincter muscle so that tension decreases. This stops the spasms so the anal fissure gets the opportunity to heal uninterrupted.
Surgical treatment of anal fissures has a high success rate of about 89% compared to the other interventions.
Although anal fissures can heal on their own, the above recommended treatment methods speed up the process and make it less excruciating.