Tiny tears in rectal lining cause pain during bowel movement

An anal fissure is a small tear in the tissue that lines the lower rectum, where stool (bowel movement) passes out of the body. This tear typically occurs from passing large or hard stools, or even frequent passing of loose stools. Anal fissures may also result from exertion during childbirth, and less frequently, from conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or an infection due to a weakened immune system.

Symptoms and diagnosis of anal fissures

People with anal fissures may experience stinging and pain upon having a bowel movement, and the pain may last for several hours afterward. Other possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Blood on the used toilet tissue
  • Blood in the toilet water
  • Itching, burning

In most cases, anal fissures are temporary and will heal on their own. If the condition is chronic (lasting more than six weeks), you may wish to consult with your doctor.

Diagnosis of your condition may include a visual examination of the area as well as a digital rectal exam, and in some cases, an anoscopy, which involves use of a small scope with a light on the end that allows the doctor to look inside the rectum. Depending on the severity of your condition, the doctor may choose to perform this type of examination after the fissure has had time to heal.

Treatment of anal fissures may include some combination of high-fiber diet and water intake along with stool softeners, anesthetic creams, and sitz baths to help heal the area. In some cases, surgical treatment may be recommended. Botox injections to relax the sphincter muscle and lateral internal sphincterotomy are two common procedures. Your doctor may also order certain blood tests to rule out other causes of bleeding and inflammation.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.