An anal fissure is a tear in the lower anal canal – bottom. Anal fissures are not a serious albeit uncomfortable condition. Anal fissures can affect people of any age but are more common in the younger age group between 20 – 40 years. The tear damage results in anal muscles spasm, which often separates the fissure edges and results in delayed healing.
Causes of anal fissures:
Although there is no definitive cause, anal stretch and trauma are attributed to the onset of anal fissures. Factors which may contribute to an anal fissure are;
- Constipation / passing hard stools
- Ongoing or explosive (severe) diarrhoea
- Difficult childbirth
- Less often anal sex and insertion of foreign objects into the back passage
- Rarely STDs, and anal cancer
Increased pressure, tight anal muscles, and poor blood supply to anus lead to fissure development and poor healing.
Clinical Features / Symptoms of anal fissures:
Anal fissures can be the one of the most uncomfortable sensations someone can experience.
- Burning & itching around the bottom
- Skin tag at anal margin
- Severe anal pain especially post defecation
- Streak of fresh blood on the stool or on toilet paper after wiping
Treatment of anal fissures:
- Treat the cause
- See your GP in the first instance
- If not relieved, seek advice from a specialist