Who can forget the pain associated with anal fissures? If you have ever experienced the sharp pain of a fissure, it’s most likely something you will never forget. While there are many medical treatments for dealing with the condition, natural remedies for anal fissures have been considered very effective.
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What is an Anal Fissure?
An anal fissure is a tear or cut that occurs in the anus (the opening from which stool passes out of the body), which extends upward into the anal canal. In cases of superficial fissures, although they are often painful and lead to bleeding, they tend to heal on their own even without natural remedies for anal fissures. However, fissures that are deeper may become chronic and may have to be treated by a physician; such a physician could be a gastroenterologist.
Signs and Symptoms of Anal Fissures
The noticeable symptoms of anal fissures include the following:
- Severe or mild pain during bowel movements
- A small skin tag or lump on the skin near the anal fissure
- Pain that can last several hours after bowel movements
- A visible crack in the skin surrounding the anus
- Bright red blood on the stool or on the toilet paper after a bowel movement
Causes of Anal Fissures
The following are common causes of anal fissures:
- Anal intercourse
- Passing hard or large stool
- Chronic diarrhea
- Straining or constipation during bowel movements
There are also less common causes of anal fissures, and they include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
- Anal cancer
Risk Factors Associated With Anal Fissures
The following are factors that may increase your risk of developing anal fissures:
- Age – The condition can occur at any age, but it is more common in middle-aged adults and infants.
- Constipation – passing hard stool or straining during bowel movements can increase the risk of tearing.
- Crohn’s Disease – This disease can result in chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, which can make the lining of the anal canal more susceptible to tearing.
- Childbirth – The condition is more common in women than newly gave birth.
- Anal intercourse
Complications Arising from Anal Fissures
The complications can include any or all of the following:
- Recurrence: Anal fissure tends to occur again once someone has experienced the condition.
- Failure to heal: When an anal fissure refuses to heal within eight weeks, then the condition is considered chronic and may require further treatment.
- A tear that extends to surrounding muscles: In some cases, the fissure may extend to the ring of the muscles that keep your anus closed (this is called the internal anal sphincter). When this occurs, it becomes more difficult for the anal fissure to heal. A fissure that’s unhealed may trigger a cycle of discomfort that may demand surgery or medications to lower the pain and repair the fissure.
Natural Remedies for Anal Fissures
Anal fissures should be diagnosed and be treated as early as possible. Carelessness may lead to bigger trouble. The following natural remedies for anal fissures are very effective for dealing with the condition.
1. Aloe Vera Gel
The gel from aloe vera is known to have a soothing impact on our skin. Research has also revealed that it can help heal anal fissures and relieve pain. Mix some fresh aloe vera gel with some baby or olive oil and apply the mixture to the affected area, leaving it to dry. It can be applied three or four times each day. The process will reduce the pain and bleeding, thereby accelerating the healing process.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great lubricant. Applying it to the anus will make it easier to pass stools without damaging the tissues of the anus. It also aids in speeding up the healing process. Apply pure coconut oil on the affected area at least two or three times each day; you can even apply as many times as you want.
3. Olive Oil, Honey and Beeswax
Mix one teaspoon of olive oil with an equal amount of beeswax and honey. Apply the mixture on the affected spot and allow it to remain there for up to 2 hours before washing it off. The mixture helps in reducing itchiness and pain. It also assists in accelerating the healing process.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is one of the most effective natural remedies for anal fissures. As seen in its effectiveness against sinus infection, apple cider vinegar also helps in curing constipation and improving the digestive system. While treating constipation and bowel helps in maintaining proper bowel movements, it will also help in relaxing the anal tissues and give them enough time to heal. Mix a spoonful of raw apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of honey in a glass of water. Consume the mixture orally for the best result. However, you can increase the quantity of honey if you want a better taste.
5. Witch Hazel
This remedy can help reduce both pain and itching, which are the two major symptoms of anal fissures. Witch hazel is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it has the property of reducing swelling. It can be purchased in liquid form and applied directly to the affected area. Witch hazel can also be found in such products as soaps and anti-itch wipes.
6. Warm Bath with Epsom Salt
Having a warm bath can help in soothing the irritation from anal fissures. You can make use of a sitz bath (a small plastic tub that can fit over a toilet seat), or you can simply take a full-body bath in your tub. Taking a warm bath for at least twenty minutes after every bowel movement will be most effective for treating anal fissures. You should add Epsom salt to the bath so as to provide further relief by reducing pain that may arise from the condition.
7. Over-the-counter Ointment
Ointments and cream that can be purchased over the counter are also effective for treating anal fissures. They can be found in almost every drugstore. These products help in reducing swelling and healing the anal fissure faster. However, if you are using a cream with hydrocortisone, make sure you do not use it for more than a week at a time.
8. Soothing Wipes
Existing anal fissures can be aggravated if you use toilet paper after a bowel movement. However, making use of soothing wipes, instead of toilet paper, can help keep you clean without resulting in further irritation. For an added boost, you can make use of wipes that contain soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or witch hazel. Ensure that the wipes you will be using are totally devoid of alcohol, perfume, or any other irritating components in them. Such substances could worsen symptoms rather than relieve them.
9. Cold Compress
You can apply cold compress or ice packs to the anus every fifteen minutes in order to relieve swelling or inflammation. For really painful anal fissures, this remedy could be very effective. Ensure to wrap your ice inside a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
10. Stool Softener
Stool softeners or fiber supplements such as psyllium can help in reducing constipation, soften the stool, and ensure that there is a quick, painless bowel movement. A lot of these stool softeners come in liquid, capsule, and powder forms. You can ingest it through the mouth between once and three times each day.
11. Loose, Cotton Clothing
Wearing breathable cotton (most especially cotton underwear) can assist in keeping the anal area dry and clean. This can help in reducing symptoms remarkably. To reduce irritation arising from the condition, avoid using perfumed detergents or fabric softeners.
12. Tea Tree Oil
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil can help in reducing itching and swelling caused by anal fissures. It has been observed that the gel made with tea tree oil reduces the risk of symptoms. Tea tree oil is one of the best natural remedies for anal fissures.
13. Glycerin and Epsom Salt
This treatment is not very well-known but it is very effective. Mix 2 tablespoons of glycerin with 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt. Apply the mixture to a gauze pad and gently dab it on the painful area. Leave the liquid on the area for about 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat the process every 4 to 6 hours until the pain subsides.
14. Flax Seeds
These seeds contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids which can help in easing constipation that often leads to irritating anal fissures. Flax seeds also have laxatives that can help in easing the strain during bowel movement. Take a tablespoon of flaxseed powder and pour it into a glass of water. Drink the mixture on a regular basis before going to bed. This will help regulate your bowel movements.
Fiber is popular for its various health benefits. It encourages regular bowel movements; because of this, the symptoms of anal fissures are eased. Taking fiber regularly will help promote softer stools that are easily passed. This way, there will not be much pressure during bowel movement, thereby reducing the chances of damage to the lining of the anus. It is advisable to include fiber-rich food in your diet. Such foods can be oatmeal, quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, legumes, and prunes.
Further examples of foods rich in fiber include the following:
- Plain rye wafer crackers
- Wheat bran flakes
- Pigeon peas
- Artichoke (French or globe)
- Split peas
- Shredded wheat cereal
- Beans (kidney, white, yellow)
- High fiber bran cereal
16. Drinking More Water
Staying hydrated will help in overcoming the issue of constipation. By drinking enough water, the stool will be soft and therefore easier to pass. Eating foods that are rich in water content can also help with your water intake goal. Foods that contain high water content include the following:
- Sweet peppers
The amount of water needed in a day varies from person to person. However, it is generally recommended for men to drink about 13 cups of water while women can take about 9 cups. If you work out often, you will need more water than regular. Pregnant or nursing women also need to take more water to reduce the risk of anal fissures. Generally, only the body can determine how much water you will need. When your stools are soft and come out easily during bowel movements, it’s an indication that you have been taking enough water each day.
17. Proper Bathroom Hygiene
Anyone suffering from anal fissures should ensure that they follow the hygiene measures outlined below:
- At the end of every bowel movement, endeavor to gently clean the anal area and properly dry it.
- Do not ignore the urge to pass stool. The symptoms of anal fissures could worsen if you try to control the urge.
- Do not sit on the toilet for too long and excessively straining your anus; putting extra pressure on your anal area may result in fissures.
This is another very effective home remedy for treating anal fissures. Comfrey contains allantoin that increases the proliferation of necessary healthy cells that are capable of healing anal fissures. Both the roots and leaves of comfrey have been discovered to have medicinal properties that help regenerate the skin tissues and increase cell growth. Apply the paste of comfrey root powder, flaxseed, or olive oil to the affected area of your anus and you will be relieved from the discomfort and pain.
The condition can be effectively treated with natural remedies for anal fissures in the early stages of the disease. However, the first step when you notice the signs and symptoms of anal fissures is to consult a professional. You should have a clear discussion with your doctor before opting for any home remedy or over-the-counter treatment options.