Anal Fissure Treatment in Santa Ana, CA
The anus is lined with a very thin and delicate tissue called mucosa. When a tear occurs along this lining, usually toward the end of the anus, the tear is known as an anal fissure.
Many anal fissures will be able to heal on their own over a relatively short amount of time. However, individuals should contact Dr. Albert Chung for effective treatment if their symptoms continue to worsen. Dr. Chung is a colorectal surgery specialist based in Santa Ana, CA, treating the greater Orange County area with expert-level colorectal care. Give our colorectal clinic a call at (714) 988-8690 today.
What are Common Causes of an Anal Fissure?
Most anal fissures are the result of straining too hard during a bowel movement. If the stool is particularly large or has hardened, it can become difficult to pass through the anus without tearing the mucosa tissue.
Any person can encounter an anal fissure at any point in their life, though this condition is especially common in infants. Frequent tearing of the lining of the anus may signal the presence of a more serious condition, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), leukemia, or even anal cancer.
What are the Symptoms of an Anal Fissure?
It can be difficult to detect an anal fissure due to its location, though there are several unique signs and symptoms associated with the condition, including:
- Pain during bowel movements
- A visible opening in the lining of the anus
- Red-colored blood on the stool or toilet paper immediately following a bowel movement
- A burning or itching sensation of the anus
- Lasting discomfort after a bowel movement
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Development of a lump on the skin near the fissure
Fissure Healing and Potential Complications
As mentioned, a majority of anal fissures will gradually heal on their own with minimal care and maintenance. Individuals can lessen their risk for future fissures by incorporating more fiber into their daily diet or supplementing with a stool softener, staying properly hydrated, and exercising regularly. All of these measures will help to promote a healthy digestive system, which can work to prevent more than just anal fissures.
How are Anal Fissures Treated?
Even though many people are able to recover from an anal fissure without professional intervention, it is important to remain vigilant of key signs that your condition has worsened and requires medical attention. The longer you wait to be treated by Dr. Chung, the worse your condition and outcome are likely to be.
If possible, Dr. Chung will typically try to heal the patient’s anal fissure using the most minimally invasive means possible. Your provider may recommend lubricating the area with petroleum jelly to ease the passing of stool during a bowel movement, and may also suggest regular sitz baths several times each day to cleanse the tissue and relax the anal muscles. Medicated topical creams and ointments can also assist in keeping the area clean and pain-free while the tissue is repaired.
Surgery for an Anal Fissure
Patients who continue to have a failure to heal from an anal fissure may need to consider surgical treatment options. Such procedures are often reserved for cases where all previous treatment methods have failed, or where there has been severe damage to the mucosa and muscles of the anus. This kind of damage can lead to recurring spasms of the anal sphincter, resulting in considerable pain and loss of control over the anal muscles.
A lateral internal sphincterotomy is the standard procedure used to surgically treat an anal fissure. During this surgery, an incision will be made by Dr. Chung to the internal anal sphincter to relieve tension within the muscle. Once this pressure is alleviated, the anal fissure is much more likely to heal. Patients are typically sent home within the same day that the sphincterotomy is performed, and can usually expect their symptoms to subside completed within a few short weeks.