An anal fissure is another name for a tear in the anal cavity. Anal fissures heal like any other tear, but the healing process is very painful. The anal cavity is made of cells that are susceptible to injury. There are many different sources of injury. Anal fissures can happen to anyone at any time. It can also happen multiple times. The symptoms are few, but there are ways to avoid the problem altogether. It is not required for you to go to the doctor to be diagnosed because the situation normally heals on its own.
Causes of Anal Fissures
Anal fissures are very common. They happen to a lot of people, and many of us may not even know it. When you have pain during bowel movements, you probably do not pay it any mind. Since anal fissures are not serious, it is not a huge problem if you ignore the pain. The anus is made of the same cells as the intestine. In fact, the anus is the end of the large intestine. The cavity is just the opening. The cells in this area have a lot of functions. The cells can be damaged and create ulcers in the anus. There are a lot of blood vessels and nerves. It is because of these nerves you feel the pain. It is because of the blood vessels that you become susceptible to bleeding in that area.
Anal fissures have multiple causes. A common cause of an anal fissure is constipation. Sometimes the stool can be too hard and create a rip in the tissue. You may get an anal fissure from bowel movements with large stool. The size may be too large for the anal cavity creating a rip while it is expelled. Since constipation is a problem, you probably think diarrhea is not. In fact, diarrhea is a cause. When you are dealing with diarrhea for long periods of time, it damages the cells in the anus and creates a tear. The entrance of a foreign object into the anal cavity can cause a rip. It is rare for a foreign object to enter the anal cavity on accident. Sometimes this happens during a rectal exam. The doctor may cut the inside of the anus. Anal sex is also a cause of anal fissures. When it comes to childbirth, you may be familiar with vaginal tears, but anal tears may also occur.
Symptoms of Anal Fissures
The symptoms of an anal fissure include a burning and tingling sensation. You only feel the pain during bowel movements. The stool rubs against the fissure, and if you are straining, it only makes it worse. The pain can last even after the bowel movement, especially if it was difficult. Bleeding is very common. A tear in the anal cavity means there may also be a rupture in the blood vessel. You do not typically notice any bleeding until you have a bowel movement. Itching is another symptom. Whenever something is trying to heal, especially a cut, it typically itches.
Diagnosing Anal Fissures
Most people do not go to the doctor and get diagnosed. It is not until they notice bleeding that they decide to get a diagnosis. The doctor typically does a rectal exam. Through this exam, they can look at the fissure without having to use any tools. If the fissure is deeper inside the anal cavity, they may need a tool that can travel further inside and give a better look. A rectal exam can cause an anal fissure, so the doctor wants to be careful while doing this procedure.
Treatment is fairly simple. The best thing to do is avoid constipation. Eat things that are full of fiber and drink a lot of water. Stay away from dairy products because they have a tendency to clog you up. Exercise also helps because it gets the bowels moving. If you are having trouble with bowel movements, use laxatives. They will help loosen the stool, but overuse of laxatives can be harmful. Make sure to read and follow the directions. A warm bath is very soothing for an anal fissure. The warm water helps ease the pain. Ask your doctor about ointments, especially if you are itching a lot. The medication is also very soothing. The doctor may prescribe medicated wipes. Toilet tissue can aggravate the problem because of its hard texture. If you do not have medicated wipes, baby wipes are also helpful. Most of the time anal fissures heal on their own. If they last for a few months, the doctor will prescribe medications to help the problem. When sphincter muscle dysfunction causes an anal fissure, surgery can be used to relax the muscle.
Anal fissures are painful but in most cases, they heal without any intervention. It is rare for you to need surgery because of an anal fissure. The best thing you can do is prevent a fissure from happening altogether. Eating right and exercising are helpful and keep the colon clean. It prevents constipation related fissures. If you notice any bleeding in your colon, be sure to see a physician, this can be a result of something more serious. You may deal with a lot of pain and discomfort from an anal fissure but it is not serious, and you can still function even with no treatment at all.
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