Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a small tear in the thin, moist tissue, called the mucosa which lines the anus. An anal fissure may occur when a hard or large stool is passed during a bowel movement.

What are anal fissure symptoms?

Anal fissures typically cause severe pain and bleeding with bowel movements. The fissure may also lead to spasm of the ring of muscle at the end of the anus (anal sphincter). These spasms will decrease the blood supply to the area of the tear leading to impaired wound healing. The pain associated with the act of passing stool can lead to the patient avoiding stooling and subsequent constipation developing. Passing a large, hard stool will, in turn, worsen the fissure and so a vicious cycle can ensue leading to a chronic fissure.

Other symptoms of anal fissure may include a small lump of skin or skin tag next to the tear, and a burning or itching sensation in the anal area.

How is an anal fissure treated?

Anal fissures are very common in young patients but can affect people of any age. An anal fissure usually heals on its own within four to six weeks. If it doesn't, medical treatment or surgery can relieve discomfort.