Do you experience pain or blood when passing a bowel movement? Or a burning sensation that may last for quite some time? If you answered yes, you might be suffering from an anal fissure. The chances of developing anal fissures decrease with age. However, it is a common problem in children younger than a year as well. Adults may develop anal fissures mainly due to constipation or trauma to the anus (trauma due to childbirth).1 Most anal fissures will get better without any treatment, but if you feel you might have fissures that are not resolving or giving you a lot of trouble, reach out to your healthcare provider to get the necessary diagnosis and treatment.2 You can follow simple home remedies listed below to relieve the symptoms of a fissure.
Anal fissures are a common problem, and doctors can easily help with medications to resolve them. So don’t stop yourself from getting medical help due to embarrassment.
What Causes Fissure
An anal fissure results from damage or a tear in the lining of the anus, the last portion of the large intestine. Constipation is the most common cause of anal fissure—the passage of a large or hard stool tears the anal lining.2
Other causes of an anal fissure include
- Chronic loose motions
- Childbirth and pregnancy
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Tight anal sphincter muscles
- Sexually transmitted infections, for example, syphilis and herpes2
Symptoms of Fissure
If you have an anal fissure, you might experience
- Pain in the anal region
- Pain during the passing of the stool which persists for some time
- Bleeding from the anus
- Bloodied stools
- Presence of blood smears on the toilet paper1
Suggested Home Remedies for Fissure
The remedies mentioned below help by giving relief from constipation. Relieving constipation will allow the fissure to heal and prevent worsening the condition by eliminating excessive pressure.3 Home remedies for fissures include the following.
Exercising regularly is an effective self-help tip to manage constipation and, in turn, anal fissures. You can become more physically active by going out for a walk or run. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical exercise every week.3,4
2. Drink water
You should drink plenty of water to help avoid dehydration. Try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.1,3 Drinking more water will help soften the stool and relieve constipation. This will alleviate the pain and muscle spasms around the anal region by reducing the pressure.5
3. Fibre intake
Constipation is the leading cause of anal fissures in adults. You can increase your daily fibre intake to soften the stool and relieve constipation. Involving foods rich in fibre such as fruits, vegetables, rice, and wholewheat bread will help in the healing of the fissures by eliminating the pressure that is caused due to constipation. Adults should consume 18 grams of fibre every day.4
Here are examples of foods with high fibre content.
- Vegetables and fruits
- Legumes, for example, peas, lentils, and dried beans
- Soy products and soy milk
- Flaxseed, oat brans, barley, psyllium, seed husks
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole-grain foods6
4. Sitz bath
Sitz bath is nothing, but a warm water bath meant for healing or cleansing. Taking regular Sitz baths is a practical self-help remedy for anal fissures. A Sitz bath should be taken for at least 20 minutes two to three times a day. Sitz bath should be taken with warm water. The bath should only cover the hips and buttocks.1,7 You can take a sitz bath in your bathtub or with the help of a kit.
5. Petroleum gel
You can easily find petroleum jelly, and it has a wide range of uses. For example, you can apply petroleum jelly around the anal region. Applying petroleum jelly will help soothe the skin.7 You can apply it several times a day, whenever you feel the need.
When to Seek Medical Help
Don’t let the embarrassment or shame stop you from getting the necessary medical help. A doctor can help you with self-help measures that you can take to manage your symptoms. Getting proper treatment will give you symptomatic relief and reduce the chances of fissures coming back.
- If you feel you have anal fissures, you should get in touch with your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis.
- Most cases of anal fissures get better without any treatment, but a doctor will help you rule out other conditions that present the same symptoms, for example, Piles.2
Anal fissures are painful tears in the anal lining that might bleed every time you pass a motion. Fissure is a common problem, more prevalent in children. Adults can also develop an anal fissure due to constipation. Anal fissures can make life difficult for people but making some lifestyle changes and following self-help tips can help you relieve the symptoms. Measures like drinking plenty of water and involving high fibre in your diet help by relieving constipation and giving the fissures a chance to heal on their own. If you feel you may have an anal fissure, you need medical help and treatment.
Your doctor is used to dealing with such cases, so don’t let embarrassment or shame stop you from asking for help.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the home remedies for anal fissures?
Some remedies that you can follow at home to relieve anal fissures are increasing your fibre intake, increasing your fluid intake, regular exercise and taking a Sitz bath. Measures like high fibre intake, increasing hydration and exercising regularly will help you relieve constipation and get the fissure time to heal on its own. Doing a Sitz bath 2 to 3 times a day will clean the fissure and promote its healing.1,3–7
What are the complications of anal fissures?
Anal fissures, in most cases, don’t cause any serious diseases. However, in some cases, they might lead to an anal fistula (a tunnel is formed, joining the bowel to the anal opening), chronic anal fissure (formation of scar tissue at the fissure site) or anal stenosis (anal canal becomes narrowed).1
What are the measures to prevent anal fissures?
Anal fissures can be prevented by eating lots of fibre, drinking more water and exercising regularly. Most cases of anal fissures arise due to chronic constipation. These steps will relieve constipation and improve digestion. Wiping gently after every time you use the toilet is also a good practice that can help you prevent anal fissures.1
What to do if you notice bloodied stool?
If you notice blood when passing a bowel movement, you should contact your healthcare provider. Also, if the bleeding is accompanied by the pain, you need to get medical help and get the necessary diagnosis.2
How to take a sitz bath for anal fissures?
Sitz bath is a warm water bath that you can take to help clean and take care of the fissure. The water in the bath should cover the hips and buttocks. You should take a Sitz bath for at least 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.1,7 A Sitz bath can be taken in a bathtub or with the help of a kit.
Can an anal fissure heal on its own?
Yes, some anal fissures can heal on their own if you are able to avoid constipation and with proper self-care. Constipation, if not managed, can hinder the healing of fissures because the pressure from the bowel movement constantly damages the fissure site.1
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.