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What Are the Most Common Anal Fissure Symptoms?

A. Pasbjerg
Updated May 17, 2024
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People who develop anal fissures, which are tears in the skin that lines the anus known as anoderm, typically experience several common symptoms. Though fissures may be painless, most people experience some amount of pain from the condition, and it usually gets worse during a bowel movement. Another of the common fissure symptoms is itching and irritation around the anus. Often the patient will notice blood or discharge from the anus. In some cases, the fissure itself may be visible on the outside of the anus, and a lump or tag of skin may develop along the fissure.

Pain is the most common of the anal fissure symptoms, which the majority of patients have to some degree. Usually the pain of a fissure will increase significantly when the patient has a bowel movement. He or she might have the sensation that there is tearing or ripping within the anal canal, or it may sting or burn. The pain may be intense and may take anywhere from minutes to hours to subside.

For certain patients, the pain may still be present but significantly less between bowel movements, while for others it might subside completely. They may also find that the pain increases when they urinate. Some patients may develop constipation if the pain is so severe that they avoid moving their bowels.

Itching and irritation are also frequently anal fissure symptoms. The skin around the anus often becomes sensitive and sore, and can cause discomfort if it is touched. It may also develop an ongoing itch, a condition known as pruritus ani.

In many cases, one of the anal fissure symptoms a patient will have is bleeding. Though the amount of blood is typically minimal, it is often bright red and very noticeable on toilet paper or in the stool. Patients who have any anal bleeding should notify their doctor right away. In addition to blood, pus may seep from the tear, so some patients may also notice a foul-smelling discharge from the anus.

While some anal fissures are completely internal and may not be readily visible, it is often possible to see the tear crack in the skin around the outside of the anus. Patients may be able to see or feel lumps around the fissure. Sometimes a small tag of skin, known as a sentinal pile, can form near the end of the fissure as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A. Pasbjerg
By A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a WiseGeek contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Feb 16, 2014

My medical symptoms are pain and an obvious lump on the anoderm. Is the lump technically swelling because of the tear? It will go away when the tear heals right?

By serenesurface — On Feb 15, 2014

@literally45-- I have an anal fissure for the first time in my life. I actually didn't have any bleeding. I knew that something was wrong when I couldn't sit down. When I try to sit, it hurts a lot and I keep having to get up or change my position. I told my doctor the same when I went in and he told me immediately that it's probably just a fissure, a.k.a. piles. Apparently, this is a common piles symptom.

By literally45 — On Feb 15, 2014

Blood is definitely the major anal fissure symptom I experience. Of course I have pain and discomfort as well, but those occur later and become more prominent if the fissure doesn't heal in a few days.

For me, bleeding occurs when the fissure occurs, while straining during a bowel movement. I don't always develop a fissure when I have irregular bowel movements. But I know that I have one if I see blood upon wiping. That's the sign for me to start fissure treatment at home with OTC hemorrhoid cream, laxatives or fiber supplements. I try to eat extra beans, vegetables and fruits at this time to make sure that I don't have to strain in the bathroom. Straining prevents the fissure from healing, and causes more bleeding.

Prunes are a great snack at this time. It also helps to sit in a tub of hot water for a while. This reduces inflammation and pain.

By Ceptorbi — On Feb 14, 2014

@SimpleByte - since constipation is often the cause of anal fissures, it's important to treat that underlying condition. Adding fiber to the diet, laxatives, stool softeners, and increased water consumption can help with constipation. Sitz baths several times a day can also relieve the symptoms of fissures. If these steps don't help, doctors may prescribe nitroglycerine cream to help the fissure heal. However, this cream may cause side effects like headache, dizziness, or fainting. Botox injections in the internal anal sphincter offer another option along. For cases that don't heal with other methods, surgery may be necessary to repair the fissure.

By SimpleByte — On Feb 13, 2014

What are the methods of anal fissure treatment?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a WiseGeek contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
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