Recent Blog Articles

Women's Health

Ask the doctor: What can I do about an anal fissure?

April 01, 2012

Ask the doctor

What can I do about an anal fissure?

Q. I had pain and some bleeding during bowel movements. My doctor says it's an anal fissure. What is that, and what's the best way to treat it?

A. An anal fissure is a tear in the tissue that lines the anal canal, usually resulting from trauma, such as the passage of hard stool. It causes sharp, tearing pain while passing a bowel movement, often accompanied by a small amount of blood on the toilet tissue or surface of the stool. Anal fissures are common and can easily become chronic, because after the first tear, bowel movements reinjure the area. The sphincter muscle beneath the tear goes into spasm, pulling the edges of the tear apart. A cycle of spasm and pain further damages the tissue and prevents healing.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.