Anal Fissure (cont.)
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Anal Fissure Medical Treatment
With anal fissures, there is a vicious cycle of constipation causing pain, which makes the anal sphincter muscles go into spasm. This causes more pain and spasms, that make having a bowel movement more difficult and worsens the constipation.
Initial treatments for anal fissures that are often very successful are designed to make the stool softer, easier to pass, and prevent constipation. Drinking more fluids and eating a high fiber diet may be supplemented by stool softeners and bulking agents. Occasionally laxatives may be used to help promote a bowel movement but their long-term use is not always appropriate.
The second approach to treatment involves decreasing the anal sphincter spasm. Often all that is needed are regular Sitz baths, sitting in a warm tub of water that allows the muscle to relax. Ointments are available and may be prescribed to help decrease sphincter spasm if basic treatments fail.
Surgery is another alternative for anal fissures. It is indicated for chronic anal fissures and potentially for acute fissures that don't resolve after a month of aggressive treatment.
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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