Anal fissures are the painful tears that sometimes develop in the soft tissue that lines the anus. While they can be distressing and painful, these are minor injuries that your body can usually heal on its own. To help relieve the pain and occasional muscle spasms in the meantime, Gabriel Akopian, MD, offers a variety of solutions at his Pasadena, California, office. He also offers more direct treatment approaches, including Botox® injections or minimally invasive surgery. For more information, call his friendly staff today or set up an appointment online.
Anal fissures describe when small tears occur in the mucosa, the thin, flexible lining of the anus. These tears typically cause pain and bleeding and, in some cases, you may also experience muscle spasms in the ring of muscles around the anus known as the sphincter.
During bowel movements, the pain will often become more severe, and bleeding often increases. This bleeding may continue for several hours after a bowel movement, and blood is often noticeably bright. Itching or irritation around the anus, as well as visible cracks, lumps, or skin tags, could also be signs of anal fissures.
There are many causes of anal fissures, most commonly:
In some cases, the fissures can be a sign of a more serious condition like:
Anyone can get anal fissures, but they are especially common in infants and the elderly because the skin is more vulnerable in these stages of life.
Anal fissures can usually heal with minimal intervention. The mucosa tissue can recover quickly as long as you increase the fiber in your diet to soften your stool. Soaking in warm water, especially after bowel movements, can also relax your sphincter.
Most people who seek treatment for anal fissures can find relief with a nonoperative solution like a topical ointment. A simple anesthetic cream can help the pain, or in more severe cases, a nitroglycerin treatment may be needed to promote healing.
A very small percentage of people will actually need surgery to fix large fissures. This is rare but still not cause for concern; Dr. Akopian can perform a simple surgery, called a sphincterotomy, right in his office. This involves the removal of the tiny injured portion of the sphincter to help the whole thing heal together more quickly.
Dr. Akopian may also suggest Botox injections to immediately stop spasms of the anus by temporarily paralyzing the sphincter muscle and allowing it time to heal.
If you have questions about anal fissures, or if you’d like help treating them, Dr. Akopian’s friendly staff is just a call away. Contact the office today or set up an appointment online.