What are anal fissures and fistulas?

Anal fissure is a tear in or around the lining of the anus. Anal fistula is an abnormal tract or channel from the anus that opens onto the skin around the anus. What causes anal fissures and fistulas and who is at risk? Often, no reason is found for the development of anal fissures. The most commonly associated condition is constipation.

Fissure-in-Ano depicts a break in the lining of the anus due to extreme stretch during a passage of a large hard motion. Severe pain in that area will cause spasms of the anal sphincter and prevent further passage of motion causing increased constipation. This condition is often seen in girls and young women. They usually get scared going to the toilet because of the fear of pain. A few drops of blood are seen at the end of passing motion and quite often a pile mass or a skin tag is seen at the anus. Drinking plenty of water, eating vegetables and fruits will make stools soft and pain lesser. Local anesthetic ointments, sitz bath(warm water with savlon/Dettol), and laxatives help in a majority of patients. If the pain doesn’t subside then a small surgery in the form of lateral sphincterotomy and gentle anal dilatation effectively gives a permanent cure to these patients. This is a day-surgery procedure.