What is an Anal Fissure?
An anal fissure is a small cut or tears in the lining of the anus. This cut can cause severe pain and may even bleed a little when the person is passing stools. Streaks of blood can be noticed on the stools or on the tissues used to wipe the place. Most often, the tearing of the lining of the anus is caused by hard and large stools in constipated people. The tears automatically heal on their own in six to eight weeks. If that doesn’t happen, it is termed as a chronic condition and you must surely see a urologist or a gastroenterology specialist near you.
What causes Anal Fissure?
Apart from severe constipation, the following conditions can lead to Anal Fissure:
- Severe strain during childbirth
- IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s disease.
- Decreased blood flow to the anus and rectum (anorectal area).
- To tight sphincter muscles
- Anal Cancer, Tuberculosis
- Sexually Transmitted infections such as HIV, Herpes, and Syphilis can also cause Anal Fissure.
Steps one can take to prevent Anal Fissure
Prevention is better than cure. You need not look for home remedies for anal fissure or treatment for anal fissure at home if you can take precautions. Here are some ways which you can follow to prevent fissures in your anus.
- Eat fiber and more fiber
Constipation is one major factor that leads to Anal Fissure. You must eat a lot of fiber-rich foods including veggies and fruits to prevent constipation. You should also keep yourself hydrated by consuming enough or even a little more water and other fluids.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- Fruits & Vegetables – Pears, Strawberries, Avocado, Apples, Raspberries, Bananas, Carrots, Blue and Blackberries, beetroot, broccoli, mangoes, guava
- Potatoes of all types – Russet, red, sweet potatoes
- Wheat bran
- Oat bran
- Whole grains – Brown rice, Oatmeal, popcorn, whole grain pasta, cereals
- Beans, peas, lentils.
- Nuts & Seeds – Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and almonds are good sources of fiber.
In all, your body must get at least 25 grams of fiber in a day. Note that you must start taking in fiber slowly and then gradually increase the quantity to avoid cramps and gas in your stomach.
- Drinking enough fluids and water
Few things go without saying such as keeping yourself hydrated. If you are not consuming enough amounts of water and other fluids in a day, your body gets dehydrated. The stools inside your body also lose water making it hard. Drinking plenty of water softens your stools and it becomes easier to pass.
When we mention ‘fluids’, please note that ‘alcohol’ is not included. Alcohol actually dehydrates a person. Also, caffeinated drinks make you visit the restroom more frequently, so consuming too much coffee also dehydrates you.
- Feeling lazy and stopping yourself from going to the toilet?
When your body signals you that you must pass the stools, you MUST do it. Making the body wait for a little time in the case when you don’t have access or when you are not able to access the toilets occasionally is ok but you should not hold it longer or you must not keep postponing the activity. The longer you hold it inside you, the drier and harder it becomes.
A mild workout for about 30 minutes a day can keep your digestive tract healthy.
- Follow healthy bowel habits (passing stools)
- As said earlier, don’t stop yourself. Give your body enough time to let out the stools. Make sure that you don’t spend too much time there.
- Pressing hard or straining yourself will result in tearing of the anus’s lining. So, try not to do that.
- Once you are done, gently wipe or clean with warm water and soap. (depending on how you are used to doing that.)
- If you are wiping your bottom, use soft, dye-free, and chemical-free paper.
- If you are suffering from diarrhea, see your doctor as soon as possible. Until then, keep yourself hydrated.
If adding fiber to your diet is not helping you as needed, you may need to add fiber supplements. Along with supplements, you can also take ‘laxatives’. Generally, laxatives help by increasing stool’s ability to hold more fluid thereby keeping them soft and easy to pass. Some laxatives help the colon to contract as needed to pass the stools. Other types of laxatives help by increasing the amount of water in the intestines, lubricating the stools so that the movement is softer, drawing water into the colon, or by stimulating the muscles in the intestines to fasten the bowel movements. It is better to talk to your doctor and know which kind of laxative will work best for you.
If you are still suffering from anal fissures even after following a healthy lifestyle and having a nutritious diet, you must see an expert doctor get your anal fissures treated. He/she can diagnose the problem and find the underlying cause of your problem. He/she can then put you on medications to treat anal fissures or may suggest you undergo a surgery, as per his/her diagnosis.
Technologically advanced clinics like ‘The Laser Gastroenterology Clinic’ in Chennai, Tamil Nadu has an option of laser surgery for treating anal fissures.