What is an anal fissure?
An anal fissure is where the anal lining tears. This can be caused by a change in the texture of the faeces - either a hardening of the faeces (such as where someone is constipated) or the opposite, where someone has very loose stools for an extended period.
What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?
The main symptoms are:
- Severe pain when having a bowel motion.
- Bleeding from the anus.
- Sometimes a swelling in the skin on the outside of the anus – a 'skin tag' forms if an anal fissure is present.
How are anal fissures treated?
Some anal fissures heal of their own accord and do not need any medical treatment. However, a fissure may cause a spasm to develop in the anal sphincter muscle, which in turn reduces the normal flow of blood to the affected area. This can then prevent the fissure from healing normally.
If this occurs, an anal fissure can be treated in two ways:
This procedure, known technically as a lateral internal sphincterotomy, is where a very small incision is made to the anal sphincter muscle (normally the lower section). This aids the natural healing process by restoring blood flow to the area around the fissure. A spincterotomy is only recommended when other treatments have not helped.
This is the same active medication as is used in cosmetic surgery. One BOTOX® injection is applied to the anal sphincter. This non-surgical procedure has proved very successful for long term recovery. Complications are also minimised.