Constipation and chronic diarrhea can increase your risk of developing anal fissures. At San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons in La Jolla, California, board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons M. Jonathan Worsey, MD, FRCS, FACS, FASCRS, and Keith Beiermeister, MD, FACS, FASCRS, provide comprehensive care of painful fissures. The team works with you to change your diet as the initial treatment for your fissures. More often than not, anal fissures can be treated with appropriate medical management, however, surgery will be offered when necessary. Don’t ignore the pain of an anal fissure. Request a diagnostic evaluation at San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons online or by calling the office today.

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What is an anal fissure?

An anal fissure is a tear in your anal canal’s lining. You can tear this lining if you experience frequent constipation, causing your stool to become dry and hard and difficult to pass.

Common causes of an anal fissure include:

Anal sex
Chronic diarrhea
Straining during bowel movements

What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?

An anal fissure can cause pain ranging from mild to severe. You can feel a sharp, burning pain during a bowel movement or for several hours afterward. You might also notice bright red blood on the toilet paper after wiping or on the stool itself.

An anal fissure can cause visible cracking in the skin around your anus, and you could feel a small lump in your skin near the fissure.

Dr. Worsey and Dr. Beiermeister can most often confirm the presence of an anal fissure during a simple physical exam and a review of your medical history. You might need additional tests to identify an underlying condition that is causing chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Your providers work together to determine the best treatment for your symptoms and ensure that the anal fissure heals correctly.

How is an anal fissure treated?

The initial treatment of an anal fissure involves changing your diet to increase the amount of fiber you eat. Fiber is essential in preventing constipation. You might need to take fiber supplements, drink water, and use stool-softeners to ease your constipation and avoid developing anal fissures.

If conservative therapies don’t heal the fissure, Dr. Worsey and Dr. Beiermeister will generally prescribe a course of standard topical medications, which will heal your fissure approximately 80% of the time without surgery. Surgery, if required, consists of a partial division of the internal anal sphincter muscle to reduce spasms and constant pain. Surgery could also be an option if you develop chronic fissures that recur even with treatment.

To find out more about your options for healing an anal fissure, call San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons or request a diagnostic evaluation online today.