Towards the end of the digestive process, our stool passes through the anal canal, ultimately making its exit from the anus. The anal canal is a small tube at the end of the rectum. Occasionally, anal fissures – meaning small tears – may develop in the anal canal. Anal fissures are a common condition and are mostly harmless. However, in certain circumstances, anal fissures may cause severe pain and irritation. Find out ten causes and symptoms of anal fissures.

Hard Stool

The friction caused by stool as it leaves the rectum can cause anal fissures to appear. You'll usually feel a sharp and sudden pain around your anus. Irritation can extend all the way inside the rectum. Hard stool can form for many reasons, but dehydration is often the main culprit. As food travels through the digestive system, it needs water to keep it moist. If you don't consume water, the stool will harden, which may also cause constipation. You may even notice blood as you wipe.

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Constipation is one of the most common causes of anal fissures and refers to the difficulty to pass stools. This is often caused by and related to hardened feces. You may be constipated when you try to pass stool but cannot completely evacuate the bowels. People often describe the feeling of constipation as if something was stuck in the rectum, unable to move. You can get constipation from a diet low in fiber and water. To reduce your risk of developing constipation, eat fiber-rich foods such as broccoli or whole-wheat bread.

constipation anal fissures


People can develop diarrhea every once in a while. Most cases of diarrhea have to do with food poisoning; eating unsuitable food or food that contains bacteria can turn our stomachs into a war zone. The result is a forced expulsion of often undigested and watery food from the digestive system. If you have diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days, you may experience anal fissures as a result. You expel other contents from the anus the dynamic movements may tear or rip the anus, causing an anal fissure to appear.

pain anal fissures

Large Stool

If you’ve recently had a large meal, or haven’t been able to go to the bathroom for a long time, you may pass stool that is larger than normal. Large stools aren’t necessarily a sign that your diet is bad, but they can cause problems for the sensitive tissue of the anus. As you pass a large stool, the edges of the stool may expand the anus so much that it causes a rip or tear. The tear can cause pain and even bleeding to occur. In most cases, anal fissures aren’t serious and will heal by themselves over the course of a few days.

stool anal fissures

Wiping Too Hard

Wiping is what we naturally do after a bowel movement. Normally, one or two wipes do the job; but what if we need say, 5 to 10 wipes to achieve a satisfactory level of cleanliness? A higher than normal amount of friction over the anus may cause anal fissures to appear. You may feel severe irritation in your anus and surrounding skin, which is very sensitive. Friction can also lead to itchiness. In rare cases, an infection may also occur as a result.

pain anal fissures


Inflammation of the rectum may lead to the development of an anal fissure. The anal canal may become inflamed for different reasons. Our diet can cause the lining of the anal canal to become inflamed, for example by eating spicy foods. If you consume foods which aren’t suitable for your dietary needs, you may also experience inflammation. Pressure caused by anal inflammation may lead to tears in and around the anus, creating itchiness, irritation, and burning pain. Try reducing the consumption of unsuitable foods and increasing your fiber intake to reduce inflammation.

aches anal fissures


Females who have given birth know well that the pain experienced can reach extreme levels. Naturally, giving birth expands the opening of the vagina, and likewise, that of the anus. This natural process of stretching can cause rips and tears to appear. Normally, anal fissures heal naturally within six weeks; if not, the condition is considered chronic. Childbirth can cause larger anal fissures that lead to severe pain. Pain medication is often administered to treat the symptoms of anal fissures. Afterward, make sure to eat a diet that won’t further aggravate symptoms.

signs of anal fissures

Anal Cancer

Anal cancer patients often report anal fissures. Usually, this is one of the first symptoms to be noticed, alongside pain and the presence of lumps in the anus. Anal cancer can cause many symptoms similar to those of anal fissures. While anal cancer is unlikely if you have an anal fissure, it’s still a good idea to get it checked out by your doctor. If you notice blood on your toilet paper after wiping, contact your physician. If a lump is present in the rectum or anal canal, it can press on the soft tissue, causing bleeding and pain.

causes of anal fissures

Crohn's Disease

People who have Crohn’s disease are much more likely to experience anal fissures. Due to the complication experienced with digestive health, Crohn’s disease patients experience bouts of diarrhea and other digestive misfortunes. Combined, they can cause anal fissures to appear on a frequent basis. People describe the pain as “passing shards of glass.” You may also spot red streaks of blood on your toilet paper. To reduce your risk of anal fissures, consume a diet rich in fiber. Talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

disease anal fissures


As strange as it may sound, some sexually transmitted conditions may potentially cause anal fissures. Herpes, for example, may affect the tissue of the anal canal, causing tears to appear. The most obvious symptom is the pain, although other symptoms such as itchiness and irritation may be present. You may also notice blood as well as pain during bowel movements. If you experience anal fissures for more than a week, contact your doctor. Anal fissures may become chronic, requiring more intensive treatments. Some over the counter medications may help alleviate symptoms. Topical creams, for example, help reduce pain.

anal fissures


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