The Anal Fissure. The Proctologist.
An anal fissure is a small cut or tear in the lining of the anus, or anal opening. Often people ask “How do I know if I have a fissure?” More commonly, patients visit the proctologist (also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, or coloproctologist) with complaints of rectal bleeding or pain, a tremendous amount of pain. It is at that visit that a diagnosis of an anal fissure is made. Pain and bleeding are the two most common symptoms of an anal fissure.
The next most frequently heard question after a diagnosis is made is “How did I get a fissure. I clean myself regularly.” There is a good chance that this “anal cleaning” may have, in part, been responsible for the fissure. In a desire to clean the anal area, soap is often used. Soap is irritating. You would never willingly put soap in your eye. The same holds true for the anus. The anus is richly endowed with pain fibers and sensitive skin. This sensitivity helps us to differentiate stool, from liquid and from gas, or flatus. We need those nerves to tell the difference. Putting soap on the anus is irritating and may actually make it easier for the anal opening to tear during a bowel movement. The anal opening commonly experiences microscopic tears during a bowel movement. These tears usually heal without any problem. But if the anal area is already sensitized from soap use, the small tears may become larger and more permanent.
“Why me and why now?” comes next. Stress. Are you feeling stress? In large busy cities such as Beverly Hills or Los Angeles, anal fissures are common. Although stress is not a proven cause of an anal fissure, stress is commonly seen in those patients with fissures. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The stress or the fissure? There is no definitive answer, but stress is common.
“Then, what do I clean with” is the next question. Put simply, the answer is “Baby wipes, water or don’t clean at all.” The anus is remarkably self-cleaning. Using soap is not necessary. Cleaning at all is really not necessary and may actually hurt the anal area.
You would be smart to see a proctologist at the first sign of pain or bleeding. Pain and bleeding may be nothing more than symptoms of the fissure. However, they are also warning signs of a potentially more serious problem. Do not neglect these symptoms.
There are treatments for anal fissures; treatments that can offer relief easily, quickly and safely. Obviously the first thing to do is stop the soap use and then see your colon and rectal specialist.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The surgeons at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are board certified and available to offer help and relief from anal fissures and form many common maladies. The first step toward cure is to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment for a tiny fissure that can cause painful problems. (310)273-2310.