An anal fissure is a small tear or ulcer in the tissue that lines the anus.
What is an anal fissure?
If you pass particularly large or hard stools, this can cause an anal fissure, a small cut or sore in the anus lining.
What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?
Symptoms of an anal fissure include:
- Sharp pain when you pass a stool
- Bleeding when you pass a stool
- Pain following a bowel movement for up to several hours
- A crack you can see in the skin surrounding the anus
- Lump on the skin around the anus
What causes an anal fissure?
An anal fissure develops due to an injury to your anal canal, commonly due to:
- Conditions affecting the bowel – such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis
- Pregnancy / childbirth
- Anal trauma
- Less commonly, other serious conditions – such as anal cancer, HIV or tuberculosis
How is an anal fissure diagnosed?
If you do feel discomfort from what you think is an anal fissure, see your doctor. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and give you a gentle physical exam.
You might be referred for other tests, including an anoscopy, flexible sigmoidscopy or colonoscopy if your doctor thinks you an underlying condition may have caused your fissure.
How is an anal fissure treated?
Anal fistulas usually heal a few weeks after you get them if you manage to make your stool softer. Your doctor may recommend:
- Eating more high-fibre foods
- Drinking more water
- Warm baths
If your fissure does not go away, you may then be recommended:
Topical creams. These include:
- Topical analgesics
- GTN ointment
- Diltiazem cream
- Botox injection in the anal sphincter muscle usually under a short general anaesthetic
- Lateral Sphicterotomy under general anaesthetic
Our experts will help you decide which surgical option is best for you.