Anal fissures are estimated to affect 11% of all adults, causing symptoms that mimic hemorrhoids like pain and bleeding. The physicians at California Colorectal Surgeons have helped many men and women heal from anal fissures, using conservative medical treatments as well as surgery when needed for chronic anal fissures. If you have questions about your symptoms, call the office in Beverly Hills, California, or book an appointment online.
The anal canal is a short tube at the end of your rectum. The canal is surrounded by the sphincter muscles that control the release of stool.
An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anal canal. Fissures are usually caused by trauma to the lining of the canal. Passing hard, dry, or large stools, or having frequent bowel movements can lead to an anal fissure.
Diarrhea that irritates the tissues can also cause a fissure. Less frequently, an anal fissure may be due to inflammatory bowel disease, infections, or tumors.
Anal fissures cause a sharp pain that begins during a bowel movement and may last several minutes to hours. You may also discover bright red blood on the stool or toilet paper.
When the fissure hasn’t healed within six weeks, it’s considered to be a chronic anal fissure. Chronic fissures often develop a small lump or skin tag on your skin near the tear.
Most anal fissures heal on their own, supported by treatments such as:
Your doctor at California Colorectal Surgeons may also prescribe a topical medication to relax sphincter muscles.
When your fissure doesn’t heal, Botox® may be injected to temporarily relax the muscle. However, surgery is often needed for chronic fissures that don’t respond to medical treatment.
During surgery, your physician at California Colorectal Surgeons removes any scar tissue and cuts a precise portion of the anal sphincter muscle. This stops muscle spasms that pull on the fissure, giving it time to heal.
Anal fissure surgery seldom affects the sphincter muscle’s ability to control bowel movements, although 5-10% of patients may have occasional gas incontinence or minor mucous leakage at night until the muscle heals.
Your pain should go away a few days after surgery, and the muscle and fissure should heal within a few weeks.
Any time you experience anal pain or notice bleeding following a bowel movement, call California Colorectal Surgeons or book an appointment online.