As a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, dealing with anal fissures can be incredibly challenging. It is not an easy topic to discuss, but it is important to give it the proper attention and care it requires. Surgery is often thought of as the only option, but there are actually several ways to treat this condition at home. If you are interested in exploring those options, here are five effective options for anal fissure treatment at home that you can consider.
An anal fissure is a common condition that can affect people of all ages, and it often occurs as a result of passing hard or large stools. It is a small tear or cut in the lining of the anus, which is the last muscular part of the large intestine. Anal fissures can cause pain and bleeding during bowel movements. Anal fissures are a common occurrence, particularly among infants and pregnant individuals, with about half of all cases arising before the age of 40.
Many people confuse hemorrhoids with anal fissures and vice versa. However, both these conditions are quite distinctive. Conversely, despite their differences, they share similar symptoms and may coexist. Both these conditions involve discomfort in the anal area and can cause pain and bleeding.
The most common symptoms of anal fissures are as follows-
Usually, fissures around the anus develop due to trauma; for instance, a hard or dry bowel movement or loose and frequent bowel movements can irritate the perianal skin. People who have tight sphincter muscles are more likely to get fissures. Some other causes of anal fissures include -
Certain conditions like an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, and being overweight can also lead to anal fissures. Additionally, diseases such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, and sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS and syphilis might lead to the development of anal fissures, too. When that happens, the fissures may take longer to heal and require medical intervention.
|What do they do?
|Softens the stools to help them pass easily.
|2. Anal creams
|Reduces the swelling and pain caused due to trauma to the anus.
|3. Sitz bath
|Relaxes the sphincter muscles and helps with perianal hygiene.
|4. Pre-moistened washcloths
|Cleans the perianal skin and avoids any more abrasions to the skin.
|5. Fiber-rich diet
|Reduces the strain on the sphincter muscles by softening the stools.
Laxatives, commonly known as stool softeners, are a type of medicine that helps make bowel movements easier and less painful. Adults suffering from anal fissures are often prescribed bulk-forming laxative tablets or granules, which work by retaining fluid in the feces to soften the dry and hard stools.
Similarly, children are prescribed an osmotic laxative oral solution that increases the amount of fluid in the bowels and stimulates the body to have a bowel movement. Doctors often recommend starting the treatment with a low dosage, followed by an incremental increase every few days until the patient can pass soft stools every one or two days.
Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid that reduces redness, itching, and swelling caused due to anal fissures. To use 1% hydrocortisone cream, clean the area with water and mild soap, rinse, and pat dry. In general, it is used two to four times a day, after each bowel movement or as directed by your doctor. If you are using hydrocortisone anal cream for anal fissures without a prescription and your symptoms do not get any better, consider consulting with your doctor to check if you should continue or stop using it.
A Sitz bath is a small bowl typically placed on a toilet seat. It is filled with warm water, often with a bit of Epsom salt dissolved in it. Sitting on it for a period can help reduce pain and burning sensations in the anal region, aiding in the healing of fissures.
Sitz baths are one of the most sought-after anal fissure treatments. Doctors usually recommend them because they can help with hygiene, reduce pain, and relax the muscles around the anus. A group of researchers conducted a study to see how warm water can affect the pressure inside the anus. They found that after sitting in warm water for 5 minutes, the pressure around the anus decreased, and it helped with the symptoms.
Wet wipes or pre-moistened washcloths for anal fissures are a gentle and convenient way to clean the anal area after bowel movements. These washcloths can be more comfortable than regular dry toilet paper, which may be abrasive and lead to further discomfort in the sensitive anal region. If you suffer from frequent anal fissures, consider adding pre-moistened washcloths into your anal hygiene routine.
Always remember to wipe your butt from front to back and not the other way around. That is because there are far more bacteria in the rectal area, and wiping from the back to the front can lead to bacteria traveling to the urethra, causing other problems such as UTI.
When it comes to anal fissure treatment, remember this important mantra - to reduce the strain on the sphincter muscles while passing stools, make sure the stools are soft enough to pass easily. If you're experiencing constipation or your stools are too hard, you should add more fiber to your diet. Fiber is the unsung hero for your digestive system.
Studies suggest that natural bran fiber can help relieve and heal anal fissures faster. According to a research paper published by the National Library of Medicine, a study found that taking 10 grams of natural bran fiber twice a day, along with warm sitz baths, was more effective (88% success rate) at providing relief and healing compared to using a cream with lidocaine or hydrocortisone (which only had a 2% success rate). If your diet does not contain enough fiber, you can also talk to your doctor about having fiber supplements.
To prevent the recurrence of anal fissures, here are some precautions to take -
If at-home anal fissure treatments haven't improved your condition, it's best to see your doctor. They may recommend a surgical procedure called a lateral internal sphincterotomy, where the internal anal sphincter muscle is cut to relax it. This is typically done as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. The pain from this surgery is usually mild and often less than the pain from the fissure. In many cases, the patient can resume normal activities within a week.
Subsequently, if there is persistent bleeding or severe pain or you notice any signs of infection, consult with your doctor at the earliest.
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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...
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