advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Healing an Anal Fissure?
Do you have any tips on how to deal with an anal fissure?
A
Answer (Published 3/5/2004)

An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anal canal usually in the posterior portion, often the result of constipation and straining to have bowel movements. Fissures also can be caused by anal trauma (including anal sex) and laxative abuse, and can occur during childbirth. Less commonly they can result from inflammatory bowel disease, sexually-transmitted diseases, or scarring, especially after prior surgical procedures.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Symptoms are sharp rectal pain and bleeding, usually during or following a bowel movement. The pain may be brief or can be a dull aching discomfort that lasts several hours. You may see blood on toilet paper or on the stool. Occasionally, anal itching is the major symptom, in which case a mucous discharge from the rectum usually is present.

Anal fissures often heal themselves without treatment, usually within several weeks. You can speed the process along by avoiding constipation and softening the stool by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. Eat lots of vegetables, wheat bran, whole-grain breads and cereals and fruit. Make sure you're getting enough water - six to eight glasses per day. Insufficient fluids can contribute to constipation.

Powdered psyllium, available at health food stores, is a quality source of supplemental fiber. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you take psyllium, otherwise the fiber can form an obstructing mass, worsening constipation. Start with one rounded tablespoon of the powder stirred well into a glass of water or diluted juice. Drink it down and follow with another glass of water.

Until the fissure heals you probably will want to take a stool softener such as Dialose, Colace, or another product containing docusate, a drug that is available over the counter. To relax the sphincter (the muscle that controls the anal opening) try taking sitz baths (sitting in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day). This should also increase blood flow to the injured area, promoting healing.

To relieve pain, conventional medicine recommends topical pain relievers such as lidocaine jelly. You also might try inserting a piece of aloe to see if that helps or you can try using compresses of witch hazel. Be sure to avoid such dietary irritants as coffee and spicy foods.

If none of these treatments help, see your doctor. A minor surgical procedure can remove the fissure and any nearby scar tissue.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here