Fissure

A painful tear

A fissure is a small tear in the lining of the rectum. The fissure can cause pain, bleeding and/or itching.

Most fissures occur along the mid-line - the top or bottom - of the rectum.

The fissure usually develops when the rectal tissue is damaged during a hard and dry bowel movement which tears the rectal lining.

Causes

A fissure can also develop due to higher than normal pressure in the rectal sphincters. Diarrhea and inflammation of the anorectal area can also cause a fissure.

Many women during childbirth develop a fissure.

Other causes of fissure are: digital insertion (during examination), foreign body insertion, or rectal intercourse.

In some cases, a fissure may be caused by other health conditions, such as: Vitamin B-6 deficiency, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes bloody diarrhea, syphilis, a suppressed immune system, tuberculosis, HIV infection, rectal cancer.

A low fiber diet may also contribute to the development of a fissure.

Healthy food

Symptoms

  • Sharp, stinging or burning pain during and following a bowel movement.
  • Spots of bright red blood on toilet tissue. This blood is separate from the stool. Blood mixed with the stool indicates some other conditions (like colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease).
  • Itching and malodorous discharge may also occur.

Treatment

At least 50 percent of fissures heal by themselves. Successful home treatment includes:

  • Drinking more fluids.
  • Eating a high-fiber diet to avoid constipation.
  • Using stool softeners.
  • Allowing enough time for a bowel movement
  • Sitz baths (soaking rectal area in plain warm water).
  • Avoid sharp foods that may not be well-digested (i.e., nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips).

Home treatment of an acute fissure may take a few days or weeks, while healing of a chronic fissure may take more than 6 weeks.

In case a fissure does not heal should be reexamined to determine if an underlying problem exist that prevents healing. In same cases surgery may be necessary.

Natural fissure treatment prevents bleeding and helps to heal damaged tissue.

Just like there's always time for pain, there's always time for healing. - Jennifer Brown

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