ANAL FISSURES Overview
WHAT ARE ANAL FISSURES?
An anal fissure is tear in the lower rectum associated with pain and bleeding while passing stool.
It is a very painful condition and is usually associated with trauma to the rectal mucosa due to various causes causing tear in the mucosa.
Anal fissures are very common in young infants but can affect people of any age. Most anal fissures get better with simple treatments, such as increased fiber intake or sitz baths. Some people with anal fissures may need medication or, occasionally, surgery.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing an anal fissure include:
- Infancy: Many infants experience an anal fissure during their first year of life.
- Aging: Older adults may develop an anal fissure partly due to slowed circulation, resulting in decreased blood flow to the rectal area.
- Constipation: Straining during bowel movements and passing hard stools increase the risk of tearing.
- Childbirth: Anal fissures are more common in women after they give birth.
- Crohn's disease: This inflammatory bowel disease causes chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, which may make the lining of the anal canal more vulnerable to tearing.
Complications of anal fissure can include:
- Failure to heal: An anal fissure that fails to heal within six weeks is considered chronic and may need further treatment.
- Recurrence: Once you've experienced an anal fissure, you are prone to having another one.
- A tear that extends to surrounding muscles: An anal fissure may extend into the ring of muscle that holds your anus closed (internal anal sphincter), making it more difficult for your anal fissure to heal. An unhealed fissure can trigger a cycle of discomfort that may require medications or surgery to reduce the pain and to repair or remove the fissure.