David Magner, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Board-Certified Colorectal Surgeon located in Beverly Hills, CA
Anal fissures sound terrifying, but this small tear in the thin tissue that lines the anus is widespread, especially in people with constipation. Anal fissures can be extremely painful. When treated early, they often heal with medicated creams. If persistent, David Magner, MD, FACS, FASCRS of Beverly Hills, California applies the most minimally-invasive medical techniques to address the problem. If you ever notice pain or bleeding during bowel movements , it’s crucial to call or book online to set up an appointment right away.
Anal Fissure Q & A
What’s an anal fissure?
Anal fissures are small tears in the thin, moist lining of the anus that cause pain during bowel movements. They’re extremely common in people of all ages, but especially in people who are constipated and other young, healthy people.
Anal fissures often heal on their own, aided by simple treatments such as a sitz bath or by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. However, it’s always important to see a doctor for anal bleeding since that may be a sign of a more severe condition, such as Crohn’s disease or cancer.
What causes an anal fissure?
Mild trauma to the anal canal causes anal fissures. There are several possible ways for the anus to become injured, including:
- Passing a large stool
- Pressure from pushing while constipated
- Repeated bouts of diarrhea
- Giving birth naturally
- A rectal exam
- Anal intercourse
- Crohn’s disease
What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?
The most common symptom of anal fissures is sharp, stinging pain during bowel movements. Pain may be brief, or it could linger several hours after the bowel movement. Itching around the anus and bleeding are other common signs you might have an anal fissure.
Bleeding from an anal fissure looks like bright red spots on the toilet paper or in the bowl, separate from the stool. Red blood mixed with stool may be a sign of a more severe problem, so it’s always important to tell your doctor if you’re experiencing bleeding when you go to the bathroom.
It’s possible to have a painless anal fissure that won’t heal. It may bleed occasionally but show no other symptoms.
Who gets anal fissures?
Anal fissures are very common and happen to men and women of all ages.
When should you see a doctor for anal fissures?
Anal fissures respond best to topical medicines when they are treated early. They often require surgery if they have been present for more than 6 weeks. You should make an appointment as soon as symptoms develop in order to minimize any treatment required. You should always tell your doctor about anal bleeding, as it may be a sign of a more severe disease like cancer or Crohn’s.
If your doctor determines that you have an anal fissure but your symptoms last longer than 8 to 12 weeks, you may require surgery to achieve healing.