What is an anal fissure?

An anal fissure is a small tear or split in the lining of the anal canal. Anal fissures are common among infants, but they can occur at any age. Anal fissures are also common among women who have recently given birth and people who have inflammatory bowel disease.

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An anal fissure is marked by a burning sensation or pain in the rectum or anus. This sensation is most noticeable during a bowel movement. There may also be some bleeding from the fissure. Anal fissures can occur as the result of a large, firm bowel movement. Constipation, diarrhea, an inflammatory anal condition, or having receptive anal intercourse can also cause anal fissures. Anything that irritates or cuts the anal lining can result in an anal fissure. An anal fissure can recur easily.

If an anal fissure becomes a chronic condition, a small lump of skin may form on the outside of the anus. This is known as skin tag or sentinel pile.

An anal fissure will most likely heal on its own. Your health care provider may also recommend frequent warm baths to relax the anal muscles, which can also assist the healing process. A diet high in fiber and with plenty of liquids promotes softer bowel movements, which can help reduce the occurrence and recurrence of anal fissures. Stool softener and topical medications can also be used in treatment of anal fissure. In some cases, surgical intervention may be required to repair an anal fissure.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for an anal fissure, but your symptoms persist, recur, or cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?

Symptoms of an anal fissure include a burning sensation or pain in the rectum or anus. Anal fissure symptoms are most noticeable during bowel movements.... Read more about anal fissuresymptoms

CAUSES

What causes an anal fissure?

An anal fissure can occur as the result of passing a large, hard stool (bowel movement). Constipation, diarrhea, or an inflammatory anal condition can also cause an anal fissure. Anything that irritates or cuts the anal lining can result in an anal fissure. People with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, are more susceptible to an anal fissure. Women who have recently given birth may also experience an anal fissure. Receptive anal sexual intercourse can also cause anal fissure.... Read more about anal fissurecauses

TREATMENTS

How is an anal fissure treated?

An anal fissure will most likely heal on its own. Your health care provider may also recommend frequent warm baths to relax the anal muscles, which can also assist the healing process. A diet high in fiber and with plenty of liquids promotes softer bowel movements, which can help reduce the occurrence and recurrence of anal fissures. In some cases, surgical intervention may be required to repair an anal fissure.... Read more about anal fissuretreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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