If you suffer from pain when you move your bowels, you may have an anal fissure. A fissure is a cut or tear within the anal canal, typically caused by a hard bowel movement. Diarrhea can also lead to a fissure. And a fissure can be responsible for bleeding during or after bowel movements. Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg, a leading board-certified surgeon specializing in colon and gastrointestinal diseases, treats stubborn anal fissures. Call or book an appointment online today with The Sternberg Clinic in San Francisco to benefit from Dr. Sternberg’s nationally renowned expertise. He strongly believes in the most conservative approach to this uncomfortable problem.
What is an anal fissure?
An anal fissure is a tear or cut inside the anus. It is typically caused by the trauma of a hard bowel movement or diarrhea. A fissure is almost always singular and typically occurs in the back middle and more rarely in the front middle of the anus as the anus is elliptical and cuts occur in the corners.
An anal fissure can occur at any age. They are common, and most every person will develop one during her/his life, but severe symptoms requiring medical attention are less common. Most anal fissures heal with over-the-counter treatment, but some become chronic conditions that require professional medical treatment.
What causes an anal fissure?
An anal fissure most commonly results from constipation or passing large stools.
Children and adults who are prone to constipation or diarrhea can develop a fissure. An anal fissure can also develop from other conditions. Women can get them during childbirth when extreme pressure forces the skin around the anus to crack. Adults with inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or cancer may also develop anal fissures. In rare instances, infections such as herpes or HIV can cause these fissures as well.
How do you treat an anal fissure?
Stool softeners or fiber supplements (better) are the go-to remedy if constipation is the culprit. If your constipation is chronic, you’ll need to work with your doctor to discover the cause and remedy the condition. Exercising regularly, drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day, and eating a diet rich in fiber, can decrease your chances of becoming constipated.
Topical over-the-counter pain relievers can provide immediate relief from soreness in the area. Anal fissures usually heal on their own within a few weeks with proper care. If they don’t go away, Dr. Sternberg’s expertise can be your lifeline. Call or make an appointment online today.