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What is Anal Fissure?

What is Anal Fissure?

An anal fissure is a tear or a cut that develops in the inner lining of the anus, which is extremely delicate. The crack or the tear, though minor, can be extremely painful and can even bleed, especially after bowel movements. Despite the pain and discomfort, an anal fissure isn't a serious condition and neither is it life-threatening. Anyone can be afflicted with this condition, regardless of age and gender, however, kids and infants are the most susceptible as they often suffer from constipation.

As with piles, the anal fissure usually heals itself in about 4 to 6 weeks. But, if the tear persists for more than eight weeks, then the condition is designated as 'chronic', and immediate medical attention is required. About 85 to 90% of the anal fissures occur at the back of the anus, and between 10 to 15% of these tears affect the front of the anus.

Causes of Anal Fissure

Relieving hard or large stool

Chronic diarrhea

Exertion during childbirth

Constipation

Sexually transmitted diseases (especially HIV)

Symptoms of Anal Fissure

Blood-stained stool

Discharge with a foul smell

Painful burning and itching near the anus

A visible crack/tear around the anus

Painful bowel movements

Diagnosis & Anal Fissure Procedure

Diagnosis

Similar to piles, the diagnosis of anal fissures generally entails a physical exam, wherein the doctor examines the anal region for the tear and its severity. The physician would also want to know about your medical history to ascertain a correlation, if any, between the fissure and an existing medical condition. Resembling a paper cut, the fissure is easily visible and once observed, is all that it takes to make the diagnosis.

If the doctor suspects the role of an underlying condition for the tear, he might recommend additional tests, which can include:

  • HIV testing
  • Viral cultures and stool test
  • Biopsy of the afflicted area.

Surgery

Anal fissures usually heal on their own with certain lifestyle changes, including increased water intake and the introduction of a fiber-rich diet. However, occasionally, surgical intervention is required to repair the tear, when stool softeners and other medications prove to be ineffective or the patient is suffering from chronic anal fissures.

Lateral internal sphincterotomy: This fissure surgical procedure is the most common and the procedure of choice for fissure treatment, wherein the sphincter (collection of muscles around the anus) is surgically stretched to relieve the tension. This fissure surgery is usually a one-day procedure and the patient is discharged the very same day.