Most anal fissures heal on their own within a few weeks. However, if your anal fissure causes muscle tension and spasms, the tear in the sensitive anal tissue may not close on its own and require surgery to support healing.
After weeks of pain during and after bowel movements, you may feel apprehensive about anal fissure surgery. Though you may need some downtime, your surgery may help you finally get relief from your pain.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Town and Country, Missouri, our board-certified family physician Dr. Betsy Clemens specializes in the medical treatment of anal fissures, which includes postoperative care.
Here, we want to discuss what you can expect when recovering from anal fissure surgery and how to minimize discomfort and support healing.
Anal fissure vs. hemorrhoids
An anal fissure causes many of the same symptoms as hemorrhoids, like anal pain, anal itching, and blood in your stool. The difference between an anal fissure and a hemorrhoid is the pain that occurs during and after a hemorrhoid.
If pooping causes severe anal pain that lasts long after your bowel movement, you will likely have an anal fissure than hemorrhoids.
An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the sensitive anal tissue. These types of tears tend to cause sharp pain when you poop. The pain may radiate into your buttocks and last a few minutes or hours.
Though treatments for anal fissures and hemorrhoids are similar, it’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis so you know what you’re dealing with. Misdiagnosing yourself with hemorrhoids when you have an anal fissure may prolong your suffering.
Why you need surgery
Though it can take several weeks, most anal fissures heal independently without surgery. However, you may need surgery if your tear fails to heal within eight weeks, a condition called a chronic anal fissure. Your chronic condition may result from the pain your anal fissure causes.
When you have anal pain, you may instinctively clench and tighten the anal muscles (anal sphincter), leading to muscle spasms. The muscle tension and spasms pull on the torn tissue and limit blood flow to the area, making it impossible for the tear to heal independently.
During anal fissure surgery, a rectal surgeon makes an incision in the internal anal sphincter, relieving the pressure on the tear so the anal fissure can heal.
Recovering from anal fissure surgery
Recovery from anal fissure surgery varies and depends on many factors. However, you may return to light activities (even return to work if you have a desk job) in a week or less.
Your surgeon prescribes medication to control pain and stool softeners to help with bowel movements.
Complete healing of the anus takes about six weeks. You can resume your regular diet after your procedure, but you should increase your fiber-rich foods and fluid intake to soften your stools and make bowel movements easier. Taking a fiber supplement can help too.
We also recommend sitting in a tub of warm water (sitz bath) for 15 minutes three times a day and using baby wipes or medicated pads to wipe after a bowel movement following your anal fissure surgery.
Anal fissure surgery may help you finally get relief from your anal pain. Though we can’t prevent all anal fissures from becoming chronic problems, getting medical attention sooner rather than later may help you avoid surgery altogether.
Many people suffer too long when they have problems that affect sensitive body areas like the anus. We specialize in treating these disorders. Call our office at 314-669-2758 today to schedule an appointment with our expert.