Anal Fissures: The Right Diet to Avoid Surgery

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

The Anal Fissure.  This Diet Might Help.


An anal fissure is like a paper cut that most people have had at one time or another.  The only difference is that unlike the paper cut between two fingers, the anal fissure is a cut or tear of the anal opening.  In fact, the painful anal fissure is one of the commonest ailments seen in Los Angeles by a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon.

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Without knowing it, you most likely develop an anal fissure each time you have a bowel movement.  Each time the anal area opens and stretches, small cracks occur because of the stretching.  Almost 100% of the time, the crack or cracks heal.  And this is as it should be.  But occasionally, the fissure does not heal.  Then, it is known as an anal fissure.

The Anal Fissure.  What Are The Symptoms?

The fissure is a simple problem.  There are two main symptoms associated with the fissure:

  • Anal pain.
  • Anal bleeding.

The pain can range from a mild annoyance to debilitating pain.  The bleeding can range from a small amount of blood on the tissue paper to a large amount of blood in the toilet bowl.  To the uninitiated, the bleeding can be frightening and conjure up fears of anal or rectal cancer.

These two symptoms, more than any others, bring patients to the colon and rectal surgeon.  Once a diagnosis is made, and peace of mind achieved, questions invariably turn to both the cause of the fissure and the cure.  Causes include, a large, hard stool, rapid, explosive diarrhea, childbirth, inflammatory bowel disease, anorectal infections, the use of soap on the anal area and a host of other diseases.

What About A cure?

Short of an operation, there are certain things that patients can do in an effort to heal the fissure.  Obviously, stool softeners should be used if necessary.  Over the counter medications are used to stop unrelenting diarrhea.  The avoidance of soap at the anal area will lessen the symptoms, as soap is extremely irritating to both the normal and damaged anus.

Anal Fissures: The Right Diet to Avoid Surgery

What Dietary changes Can I make?

Soft stools are important in allowing the fissure to heal.  Over the counter medications include those with docusate, methyl cellulose, fiber or other products that do fine in softening the hard bowel movement.  Laxatives are generally avoided as they are difficult to control and act unpredictably.  Additionally, colonic dependence can become a problem.

A diet high in fiber will promote easy, soft stools.  The average adult needs between 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.  If you ingest this by eating large amounts of bran, you may experience abdominal distention and bloating initially, until your body accommodates to the fiber.  Fruits and vegetables are the most natural form of roughage.  A natural diet high in fiber is the best way to achieve the desired softness of the stool, and promote fissure healing.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

The board certified, experienced surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are available to gently examine you and begin you on the path of healing.  The doctors are familiar with the various non-surgical modes of therapy for an anal fissure.

Call (310)273-2310 to schedule a confidential appointment.  Your exam will make it so that you can begin to concentrate on your daily life’s joys, without focusing on the symptoms of your fissure.

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