Anal fissures are common problems that affect many people each year. While they may not be a serious health issue, they are painful and treatment is recommended for most cases. While most anal fissures heal on their own or are healed with the use of topical medications, when these techniques are not successful, anal fissure procedures may be necessary for relief.
What is an Anal Fissure?
An anal fissure is a small tear that occurs in the lining of the anus. They can be a result of straining for a bowel movement, or may be caused by an injury to the area. When an anal fissure occurs, slight rectal bleeding may be present. This can usually be detected after a bowel movement and many patients worry that they may have internal bleeding. If you notice bleeding after a bowel movement, or you have experienced pain, treatment for an anal fissure may be necessary.
Some anal fissures cannot heal properly because the skin around the tear is stretched too tightly. This means that the tear cannot be repaired on its own, since there is no way for the skin to come together. In this case, a common anal fissure procedure may be performed. This involves injecting botulinum toxin into the area around the fissure. This allows the area to relax, providing it within slack and time to heal. This injection is also commonly called botox and is considered to be quite safe.
There are more invasive anal fissure procedures, but they are usually reserved for very severe cases. If the fissure is particularly severe, then a surgical procedure which divides one of the muscles surrounding the anus which is too tight and which does not relax with more conservative treatment. This surgical procedure is quite successful in the treatment of anal fissures, but does have a small number of significant potential complications. Pain medication and special creams may be prescribed to deal with after surgery pain, and to speed up the healing process following the surgery.
The American Cancer Society has recommended that all adults over the age of 50 receive regular colon cancer screenings. Although anal fissures are usually the result of a mild injury to the anus, in some cases, they may be a sign of a more serious problem. For those that suffer from chronic anal fissures, a colon cancer screening can be used to detect any problems that may be occurring inside the colon. Early detection is paramount when it comes to treating colon cancer, and these screenings can save lives.