Experiences withAnal fissure
Anal fissure symptoms
The most common symptoms of anal fissures are:
- a sharp pain when you poo, often followed by a deep burning pain that may last several hours
- bleeding when you poo – most people notice a small amount of bright red blood either in their poo or on the toilet paper
What causes anal fissures?
Anal fissures are most commonly caused by damage to the lining of the anus or anal canal, the last part of the large intestine.
Most cases occur in people who have constipation, when a particularly hard or large poo tears the lining of the anal canal.
Other possible causes of anal fissures include:
- persistent diarrhoea
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- pregnancy and childbirth
- occasionally, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as syphilis or herpes, which can infect and damage the anal canal
- having unusually tight anal sphincter muscles, which can increase the tension in your anal canal, making it more susceptible to tearing
In many cases, no clear cause can be identified.
Treatment for anal fissure from a GP
A GP can prescribe medicine to help relieve your symptoms and speed up the healing process.
This can include laxatives to help you poo more easily and painkilling ointment that you put directly on your anus.
Surgery may be recommended in persistent cases of anal fissure where self-help measures and medicine have not helped.
Surgery is often very effective at treating anal fissures, but it does carry a small risk of complications, such as temporary or permanent loss of bowel control (bowel incontinence).
Anal fissures usually heal within a few weeks without the need for treatment.
But they can easily come back if they're caused by constipation that remains untreated.
In some people, symptoms from anal fissures last 6 weeks or more (chronic anal fissures).
How to ease symptoms of anal fissure
Adopting some simple self-help measures can make going to the toilet easier.
This will allow existing fissures to heal, as well as reduce your chances of developing new fissures in the future.
Self-help measures for avoiding constipation include:
- plenty of fibre in your diet, such as fruit and vegetables and wholemeal bread, pasta and rice – adults should aim to eat at least 30g of fibre a day
- staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- not ignoring the urge to poo – this can cause your poo to dry out and become harder to pass
- exercising regularly – you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week
You can help soothe the pain by taking simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, or by soaking your bottom in a warm bath several times a day, particularly after a bowel movement.
Symptoms of an anal fissure include a sharp pain and bleeding when you poo.
An anal fissure usually heals on its own. Treatment includes avoiding constipation, and medicines to reduce pain and speed up healing.
Anal fissures are usually caused by constipation. Other causes include long-lasting diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, pregnancy and childbirth.
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