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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Angelica L Dumapit

Soothe Your Sore Bum with These Anal Fissure Relief Tips

Anal fissures can be an embarrassing and painful condition to deal with. Here are some way you can sooth the symptoms and easy the pain.

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An anal fissure can be an embarrassing and painful condition to deal with. It commonly occurs among people who are constipated, pregnant or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is because IBD can cause inflammation and prolonged diarrhea which can then lead to anal fissure.

If left untreated, the pain will often get worse and may turn into an ulcer. The initial tear may also become infected, leading to more pain and discomfort when sitting or using the bathroom. There is no truth to the claim that anal fissures lead to colon cancer. 

Luckily, there are many things you can do to soothe your symptoms if an anal fissure has already developed. This guide also explains what to do in the future to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

What Causes An Anal Fissure?

To ease constipation that may lead to an anal fissure, be sure to include fiber-rich foods in your diet.

Eating foods that are high in empty calories and unhealthy fats may lead to constipation and diarrhea, which can increase the risk of an anal fissure.

Risk Factor #1: Constipation

Drinking less water, eating low-fiber foods, and not getting enough exercise can make bowel movement difficult because it hardens your stools, which then can cause straining that leads to ulcers. However, stay away from laxatives as too many will have the opposite effect and may cause diarrhea. Changes to your daily routine – more traveling, overeating, stress, sleeping at odd times – can also induce constipation.

Risk Factor #2: Diarrhea

Excessive consumption of fried or spicy foods can upset your digestive system and trigger an occurrence of diarrhea. A food allergy or intolerance towards certain foods can also make you susceptible to episodes of the condition. Additionally, IBD and other inflammatory diseases can cause diarrhea, which could then lead to ulcers and anal fissures.

How To Prevent An Anal Fissure

The primary goal of clinical therapy is to reduce the pressure on the anal canal in order to prevent the development of chronic anal fissure. One way to do this is to ease the discomfort and bleeding by making your stools soft.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), on the other hand, aims to treat anal fissures by clearing Heat to dispel Dampness, reducing swelling with anti-inflammatory herbs for detoxification, and lubricating the intestines to smooth bowel movements.

Ultimately, various modalities can be used together to help you avoid or recover from this condition. 

Herbs That Ease Constipation

A wide range of herbs are available to treat constipation and ultimately serve as a treatment for anal fissures. For example, you can use rhubarb (Dahuang) for Heat-type constipation. Angelica sinensis (Danggui) disperses cold and tonifies the blood of people with cold-type constipation. It can also unblock the bowel and moisten the intestines.

Astragalus root (Huangqi) and Codonopsis (Dangshen) help regulate defecation by tonifying the body and digestive system’s qi (vital energy).

Eu Yan Sang physician Kong Teck Chuan supports the use of a Sophora flower formula (Huai Hua San) for those who experience blood in their stools. Lotus root can also help clear heat and improve digestion and bowel movements for those who experience hemorrhoids (piles). Although not an herb, taking a probiotic or fiber supplement can also help promote regularity and reduce constipation to reduce the risk of an anal fissure.

Topical Ointments That Soothe The Pain

A physician will usually prescribe creams, foams, or suppositories that contain hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation in the anal sphincter. They may also recommend a medicated cream to promote healing, a topical muscle relaxant ointment to loosen the anal muscles, or an anesthetic ointment to reduce pain. 

A physician may also suggest nitroglycerine or calcium channel blockers to speed up healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. In some cases, they may inject botulinum toxin type A (Botox) into the anal sphincter. This paralyzes the muscle to relieve pain and stimulate healing.

Acupuncture Improves Post-Surgery Bowel Movement

Exercise and drinking more water can help reduce the risk of an anal fissure.

Topical applications can sometimes fail to heal the internal anal sphincter muscle because of the depth of the fissure in the anus. This is also the result of scarring or muscle spasms. Hence, you may require surgery, a procedure known as lateral internal sphincterotomy (LIS), which involves cutting a small portion of the anal sphincter muscle to reduce spasms and pain and promote healing. Then, you can consider acupuncture and moxibustion to achieve pain relief and improve defecation.

Take the findings of this study, for example. Acupuncture was applied to the Zhongliao (BL 33) and Xialiao (Bl 34) points for five days after surgery. Polyethylene glycol 4000 was administered orally, whereas suspended moxibustion on the Chang Qiang (GV 1) point was also applied within 10 minutes after a bowel movement. After three days, there were vast improvements in a person’s willingness to defecate.

Cleanliness and a healthy lifestyle can help you fend off an anal fissure. You must have good hygiene habits, drink enough water, and eat a nutritious, fiber-rich diet to soften stools in the anal canal. If the condition does develop, take comfort in knowing that multiple treatment options are available. Do speak to a clinical and TCM physician beforehand.

Also, speak to a clinical physician to rule out hemorrhoids or other diseases that may cause bowel obstructions or diarrhea. Doing so can help you identify potential side effects of medication or herb use.

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