Anal Fissure (cont.)
Thomas P. Sokol, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Thomas P. Sokol, MD received his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School in 1980. He went on to his general surgical residency at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center and then to the Carle Clinic/ University of Illinois for Fellowship Training in Colon and Rectal Surgery.
In this Article
- What are anal fissures?
- What causes anal fissures?
- What are the symptoms of anal fissures?
- How are anal fissures diagnosed and evaluated?
- How are anal fissures treated?
- Anal Fissures At A Glance
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Anal Fissures At A Glance
- Anal fissures are cracks or tears in the anus and anal canal. They may be acute or chronic.
- Anal fissures are caused primarily by trauma, but several non-traumatic diseases are associated with anal fissures and should be suspected if fissures occur in unusual locations.
- The primary symptom of anal fissures is pain during and following bowel movements. Bleeding, itching, and a malodorous discharge also may occur.
- Anal fissures are diagnosed and evaluated by visual inspection of the anus and anal canal. Endoscopy and, less commonly, gastrointestinal X-rays may be necessary.
- Anal fissures are initially treated conservatively by adding bulk to the stool, softening the stool, consuming a high fiber diet, avoiding "sharp" or poorly digested foods, and utilizing sitz baths.
- Ointments containing anesthetics, steroids, nitroglycerin, and calcium channel blocking drugs are used for treating anal fissures that fail to heal with less conservative management.
- Injections of botulinum toxin may be effective when ointments are not effective. (The cost of treatment would be substantially reduced if the toxin were packaged in smaller doses.)
- Surgery by lateral sphincterotomy is the gold standard for curing anal fissures. Because of complications, however, it is reserved for patients who are intolerant of non-surgical treatments or in whom non-surgical treatments have proven to be ineffective.
REFERENCE: MedscapeReference. Anal Fissure.
Last Editorial Review: 2/8/2012
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.