An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus caused by a hard, dry bowel movement, diarrhea or inflammation of the anorectal area. It’s a common problem that affects a majority of the population at some point and is normally diagnosed upon examination following pain, bleeding and/or itching of the outer anus area.
Up to 90% of all fissures heal by themselves with non-operative treatment, using stool softeners, avoidance of constipation and/or soaking in warm water (sitz bath).
If a fissure doesn’t heal due to scarring or muscle spasm of the internal anal sphincter muscle, surgery to reduce the pressure in the anal canal may be needed. In the case of surgery, pain often disappears after a few days and complete healing takes a few weeks, with more than 90 percent of patients never experiencing the problem again.