An anal fissure is a lengthwise tear in the lining of the anus. Possible causes of an anal fissure include hard stools, prolonged constipation and bowel diseases. Pain during bowel movements and bright red blood on the toilet paper are typical. Preventive measures include good post-defecation hygiene and a high-fibre diet.
- Lengthwise superficial tear near the anus
- Severe burning, searing and cramping pain (particularly during bowel movements)
- Cramping of the sphincter muscle (bowel movement requires strong pressing)
- Bleeding (bright red blood in stool or on the toilet paper)
Causes and treatment
- Hard stools
- Persistent diarrhoea or constipation
- Bowel diseases (e.g. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, anal cancer)
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- An anal fissure is easy to see; further tests are not usually needed
- Anti-inflammatory ointments
- Sitz baths
- Operation (rarely)
What can I do myself?
- Good post-defecation hygiene (e.g. using wet wipes)
- Stimulate bowel movements
- High-fibre diet with lots of vegetables, salads and fruit
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Sufficient exercise
When to see a doctor?
- No improvement in spite of careful hygiene and better bowel movements
- Pain causes constipation