Anal Fissure Won’t Heal

What is an anal fissure?

Defined as a tear in the delicate tissue that lines the anus, an anal fissure can be extremely uncomfortable and fairly painful. While a minor cut or tear in the skin may heal on its own, this process can take a few weeks.

During this time, you may experience pain or muscle spasms so it's important to seek medical help if you think the condition could be worsening.

How is an anal fissure treated?

There are plenty of home remedies which doctors recommend when treating an anal fissure. A warm bath, for example, may help to reduce the inflammation and prevent the area from becoming infected.

In addition to this, increasing your water and fiber intake can help to reduce constipation which can be helpful when treating an anal fissure. As the condition can be caused or exacerbated by constipation, changing your diet may have a beneficial effect.

What if an anal fissure won't heal?

If you're concerned that an anal fissure won't heal, it's essential to seek medical help. Although fissures aren't generally considered to be serious, they do need to be treated so that complications are avoided.

While some people find it embarrassing to seek help for an anal fissure, your physician will have dealt with the condition numerous times and will not be fazed by your visit. Furthermore, they will be able to prescribe appropriate treatment so that you are free from pain.

Topical anesthetic creams, for example, can be applied to the area in order to reduce the pain associated with an anal fissure. For many patients, this provides enough relief to enable them to wait for the fissure to heal without further intervention.

If you still find that an anal fissure won't heal, there are other treatments available. Nitroglycerin may be applied externally in order to increase blood flow to the area. This increased blood flow can help to promote healing, meaning that the fissure is likely to heal relatively quickly.

Alternatively, blood pressure medication can sometimes be used if an anal fissure won't heal. By lowering the patient's blood pressure, it also causes their muscles to relax. If muscle spasms are causing pain or preventing healing, this can be an effective treatment option.

If blood pressure medication isn't an appropriate form of treatment for the patient, Botox injections can be used to achieve the same effect.

Is surgery an option?

If the anal fissure is particularly severe, doctors may recommend that you undergo surgery. However, surgery is normally performed on patients who have a chronic fissure. If an anal fissure won't heal despite the use of alternative treatments, surgery may be the only way to resolve the issue.

Generally, surgeons will carry out a lateral internal sphincterotomy (LIS) on patients with an anal fissure. During this operation, they will cut away a small amount of the sphincter muscle in order to reduce spasms and encourage the site to heal.

While surgery is a viable option for many patients, most people with an anal fissure don't require such intensive treatment. Many find that minimal treatment, such as using home remedies and taking painkillers, enables the fissure to heal.

How to prevent future anal fissures

Unfortunately, once you've experienced an anal fissure, you're likely to suffer from another in the future. However, lifestyle changes can help to improve your digestive health and this could reduce the chances of an anal fissure reoccurring.

If you suffer from chronic constipation, for example, doctors may recommend that you take a fiber supplement in order to improve gut motility. Alternatively, a stool softener may be provided in order to reduce the risk of tearing around the anus.

In addition to this, increasing your water intake and exercising regularly can be a great way to maintain your overall health. Both of these methods can be effective in treating chronic constipation and therefore, reducing the rate of anal fissures.

If you experience anal fissures regularly or if you need assistance because an anal fissure won't heal, there are plenty of effective treatments available. If you're unsure how to treat a fissure or you require more than over-the-counter medication, it's important to seek help quickly.

Although fissures aren't normally considered to require emergency treatment, leaving an anal fissure which won't heal untreated will only lead to further complications. By seeking medical help in a timely manner, you can ensure that you will have access to effective treatment, without the need for unnecessary medical interventions.

Last Reviewed:
June 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 10, 2017
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