How To Prevent Anal Fissures

young woman in bathroom
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The experience of an anal fissure is definitely something to try to avoid. No one wants to deal with the severe pain that a fissure - a tear in the lining of your anus - can cause during bowel movements  (although not all fissures cause pain). And you don't want to be seeing blood in your stool - that is always scary! 

Luckily, as you can see, with a little common sense and some good hygiene you can reduce your chances of experiencing a new fissure.

And as a bonus, the strategies for preventing anal fissures are very similar to those recommended for preventing hemorrhoids. Here is what you can do:

1. Keep Your Stool Soft

You will want to do your best to keep your stool as soft as you can, as many anal fissures are thought to be caused by hard stools. There are two things you should focus on: The first is to stay well-hydrated. When you don't drink enough fluids, water is drawn out of the stool, making it hard. A hard stool can cause a tear in the anal lining.

The next thing you can do is to eat a fiber-rich diet. Fiber adds moisture to the stool and also helps to stimulate the urge for evacuation of stool. Stool that remains too long in your rectum can get hard and dry, therefore increasing your risk for a tear.

2. Encourage Regularity

Both constipation and diarrhea have been associated as precipitating factors for the onset of an anal fissure.

If you are prone to constipation, the above strategies for softening your stool will help. You can also incorporate bowel retraining into your daily routine to help your body to return to a state of regular elimination. 

If you are prone to diarrhea, increasing your fiber intake will help to firm up the stool.

You can also work to identify any food sensitivities through the use of a food diary and elimination diet. Last, mind/body techniques may help to reduce urgency.

3. Practice Good Anal Hygiene

Don't neglect the importance of taking gentle care of the tender tissue of your anus. Practice good hygiene so as to make sure that the area stays clean and dry.

Be gentle when cleansing the area after bowel movements. Flushable moist wipes can be especially soothing. Just remember that they are not really all that flushable as they can clog up your pipes. Better to dispose of them in a closed container in your bathroom.

After cleansing, pat the area dry with clean toilet paper.


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Greenwald, D. "Common Disorders of the Anus and Rectum: Hemorrhoids and Fissures" The American College of Gastroenterology Accessed July 6, 2011.

Madalinski, M. "Identifying the best therapy for chronic anal fissure" World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2011 2:9-16.

Mapel, D., Schum, M. & Von Worley, A. "The epidemiology and treatment of anal fissures in a population-based cohort" BMC Gastroenterology 2014 14:129.