Home Treatment of Anal Fissures

Good News: Most Fissures Respond Well to Home Care

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Anal fissures can certainly be quite uncomfortable, but luckily most of the time, such fissures respond well to home care and will heal within a few weeks. Once you have been seen by your doctor to be sure that your symptoms are indeed caused by a fissure, you can follow a few simple steps to treat the affected area, bring about symptom relief, and promote healing. Before we get into how to care for an existing fissure, let's first take a look at what they are and what causes them to occur in the first place.

What Are Anal Fissures?

Anal fissures are tears in the tissue that lines your anus and are a fairly common health problem. You may have first realized that you have a fissure because you see bright red blood on your toilet paper or in the toilet. (Remember, any sign of rectal bleeding needs to be reported to your doctor for proper diagnosis!) Anal fissures can be acute - meaning that they are superficial and heal quickly - or chronic - meaning that they are deeper and last longer than six weeks.

In addition to showing themselves with signs of bleeding on the stool or on the anus, anal fissures also may present with symptoms of pain during a bowel movement, and anal pain and itching.

Self-Care of Anal Fissures

There are some things that you can do to help speed up the healing process for an anal fissure:

1. Do your best to eat a high-fiber diet. Dietary fiber intake will help your body to form softer, easier to pass stools - stools that are less likely to aggravate an existing fissure.

2. For the same purpose, and if necessary, use an over-the-counter stool softener.

3. After bowel movements, be sure to clean the area surrounding your anus gently with unscented baby wipes. It may be helpful to do the same prior to going to bed at night.

4. After cleaning the area following a bowel movement, pat the area gently with toilet paper or cotton balls to dry it.

Once it is dry, you may want to protect the area with an ointment such as Desitin or A & D.

5. Take regular sitz baths. Placing your anal area in warm water will help increase blood flow to the area and promote healing. You may find that taking a sitz bath right after a bowel movement is especially soothing.

6. You may want to try a topical pain-relieving creams, just make sure that the product you buy does not include a steroid as this may slow the healing process.

7. Avoid eating spicy foods, which, according to some evidence, will exacerbate pain and itching.

8. Don't suffer in silence. If your symptoms don't clear up within a week or two, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss possible medical treatments. Options include prescription topical pain relievers, Botox injections, or in more severe cases, surgery.

Prevention of Anal Fissures

Of course, the best treatment for anal fissures is to do what you can to prevent them from happening in the first place. The best thing you can do is to try to keep your stools soft.

This includes drinking adequate amounts of water, making sure to take in enough dietary fiber, and not using excessive time delay in response to urges to move your bowels. Whenever possible, try to avoid straining when having a bowel movement. If constipation is a chronic problem for you, you can talk to your doctor about taking a medication or fiber supplement to help keep your stools soft. Last, even if you don't have an active fissure, you should always cleanse the area surrounding your anus gently and thoroughly after each bowel movement.


Cheung, O. & Wald, A. "The management of pelvic floor disorders" Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2004 19:481-495.

Greenwald, D. "Common Disorders of the Anus and Rectum: Hemorrhoids and Fissures" The American College of Gastroenterology Accessed May 4, 2016.

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.

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