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Anal Fissure

Mark Bazalgette, M.D.

Colorectal Surgeon & Proctologist located in Novato, CA

If you have intense pain or bleeding during or after a bowel movement, you could have an anal fissure. As the only specialty-trained and board-certified colorectal surgeon in the area, Mark Bazalgette, M.D., provides expert diagnosis and treatment for conditions like anal fissures at his practice in Novato, California. To learn more about anal fissures, call Dr. Bazalgette or schedule an appointment online today.

Anal Fissure Q & A

What is an anal fissure?

Anal fissures occur when you experience a small tear in the tissue lining your anus. Your anus is the last part of your digestive system, where your waste leaves your body in the form of stools.

You can develop tears in this thin tissue for several reasons, including:

  • Passing hard or large stools
  • Suffering from chronic diarrhea
  • Straining during bowel movements or having frequent constipation
  • Participating in anal intercourse
  • Going through childbirth

Less common causes behind anal fissures include having other health conditions, like anal cancer, tuberculosis, HIV or syphilis, or inflammatory bowel diseases.

What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?

When you have anal fissures, you can experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Severe pain during or after bowel movements
  • Rectal bleeding, especially bright red blood on your toilet tissue or stools
  • A crack in the skin around your anus
  • A skin tag or bump near the tear
  • Muscle spasms in your anal sphincter

Anal fissures are often misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids but can indicate a more serious issue. It’s important to contact Dr. Bazalgette if you have pain during your bowel movements or see any blood on your stools or toilet paper.

How do you diagnose an anal fissure?

During your appointment, Dr. Bazalgette conducts a comprehensive physical exam and discusses your medical history. In most cases, an anal fissure is clearly visible and is either acute or chronic.

If you have an acute anal fissure, it often resembles a paper cut or fresh tear. Chronic anal fissures are much deeper and typically have swelling and scar tissue. Anal fissures lasting longer than eight weeks are chronic.

In addition to a physical exam, Dr. Bazalgette might also recommend additional testing like a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to look for an underlying condition.

How do you treat an anal fissure?

Dr. Bazalgette offers both medical and surgical treatments for anal fissures depending on the severity of your condition and your symptoms. Many anal fissures respond positively to nonsurgical treatments, such as externally applied medications like nifedipine ointment.

For chronic or severe anal fissures, Dr. Bazalgette often recommends surgery. This procedure involves making a tiny incision in your anal sphincter muscle to help encourage healing, reduce spasming, and alleviate pain. Dr. Bazalgette is the only physician in the area performing anal surgeries.

Call Dr. Bazalgette or schedule an appointment online today for help with anal fissures.