WHAT IS AN ANAL FISSURE?
An “Anal Fissure” is a tear or a cut in the lining of the skin around the anal area. It is non-life-threatening and easily treatable. It is quite common among adults and young children (ages 0-5) and can be treated easily.
ANAL FISSURE CAUSES
It is a very basic and common condition among people. Some of the causes are:
- Straining during bowel movements causes a tear in the lining of the skin.
- Diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease causes the stools to harden.
- An overly tight anal sphincter muscle restricts the stool to pass easily.
ANAL FISSURE SYMPTOMS
Symptoms that may suggest a patient has anal fissure are:
- Blood in the stools while passing the stool.
- During bowel movement, patients may feel a sharp pain around the anal area.
- While sitting, patients may feel constant pain in the anal area.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
There are no tests to diagnose anal fissure as it is easily identifiable. Doctors inspect the anal area for a tear in the skin. They might also look at the patient’s medical record.
A fissure can be either chronic or acute. The doctor treats the anal fissure depending on the type of fissure. The treatment for different types of fissures are as follows:
- An acute fissure heals itself in 4-6 weeks. To advance the healing, the doctor prescribes Over-The-Counter ointments or tablets which consists of painkillers and stool softeners. There is a good chance that the doctor will advise a high fiber diet.
- A chronic fissure occurs when the fissure persists even after 8 weeks. Surgical treatments such as “Sphincterotomy” is advised to cure these type of conditions. In addition to this, Over-The-Counter treatments are required to heal the tear.
As mentioned earlier, surgeries for anal fissures are only required when the fissure is chronic, that is if it persists for 8 weeks or more. There are two types of surgeries which the patient can opt for. They are both very safe.
- Anal Sphincterotomy: The surgeon creates a small incision to help reduce the spasms caused by an overly tight anal sphincter muscle. Furthermore, it helps in healing the fissure.
- Laser Sphincterotomy: Using a laser, the surgeon creates an incision to relax the tight anal sphincter muscles. The laser also heals the fissure leaving behind a small scar.
The only difference between these methods is the recurrence rate of an anal fissure. With the laser surgery, the chances of an anal fissure reoccurring is very low as compared to the normal surgery.
Anal Fissures Prevention Method
An anal fissure can be prevented by following the most basic and general instructions from a doctor. Some of the prevention methods are:
- Avoid straining during bowel movements. This can be avoided by having a high fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
- Cleaning the anus and keeping it dry prevents an infection from forming.
- Immediately treating conditions like diarrhoea or constipation.
- For infants, diapers must be frequently cleaned and changed.