Anal Fissure

Firstly you should consult your doctor about any unexplained rectal or anal bleeding.

This is a very common condition, and is a small tear in the lining of the anal canal, which can cause pain, bleeding and itching.

It is commonly caused by constipation, but often occurs after a bout of diarrhoea or for no obvious reason. Rarely anal fissures can be associated with more serious inflammatory bowel conditions.

Probably about half of fissures will heal with little difficulty. Taking Ispaghula husk, which is a bulk forming laxative may aid the healing process, particularly if your diet is low in fibre. An anaesthetic cream is sometimes prescribed if there is a lot of pain, but sensitivity to these preparations may occur.

Chronic fissures (a fissure that has not healed in about 6 weeks) may require a more active intervention. Traditionally this involves surgery usually with some form of stretching of the anal sphincter. More recently, Glyceryl trinitrate ointment (GTN) has been used with reasonable success. This is an unlicensed treatment in the UK, and you will need to discuss it's use with a medical practitioner.

Further information

This article published on
01 July 2005

Next review date 7/1/2013


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