Are you suffering from anal fissure or hemorrhoids? These are both conditions which have similar symptoms, pain and bleeding. Some people who have anal fissures think their pain is caused by hemorrhoids, and some who have hemorrhoids mistakenly think they suffer from an anal fissure. Here we’ll try to explain the difference.
An anal fissure is a small tear or cut in the lining of the anus. Anal fissures are usually caused by straining while on the toilet or by constipation. It is also possible for fissures to be caused by severe bouts of diarrhea. As you can imagine, fissures can be quite painful, especially during a bowel movement when the fissure becomes stretched and reopened. If you have a fissure, you will often notice bright red blood on your toilet paper or on the stool itself.
Most fissures, over 90%,will heal without treatment, however it is necessary to keep the stools soft in order to allow the fissure to heal. A colon cleanse such as Detox Plus Colon Cleanse can help with this. Recurrence can often be prevented by increasing the amount of fibre in your diet. If you find this difficult to do, you may want to consider taking a fibre supplement. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your stools soft. With an increase in fibre intake, it is essential to also increase water intake. Stool softeners can be useful as a short-term measure, but don’t take them for longer than the time suggested by the manufacturer. It is easy but counter-productive to become reliant on them. Warm baths can help ease the pain, but these may be needed two or three times a day. Never wife with toilet paper as this can be too harsh, instead use a cotton ball or pad soaked in witch hazel, or buy pre moistened, antiseptic wipes. An over the counter pain-killer such as Ibuprofen may take the edge off the pain. If the fissure is particularly large, or not healing, a doctor may prescribe a topical cortisone cream.
Hemorrhoids are a very common cause of pain and bleeding on defecation. A hemorrhoid is an enlarged or swollen anal vein. As with anal fissures, hemorrhoids are often caused by constipation and straining. You may notice bright red blood with hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids may be internal or external hemorrhoids. Generally internal hemorrhoids, which appear higher up in the anus are not painful, and only cause bleeding. It’s when an internal hemorrhoid prolapses, or drops outside of the anus and becomes what is known as an external hemorrhoid, that it becomes painful. Both types of hemorrhoids can cause bleeding. Feeling a lump or lumps in the area is a good indication of external hemorrhoids rather than a fissure, but internal hemorrhoids need to be diagnosed by a doctor.
Like anal fissures, hemorrhoid symptoms can be helped by warm baths, wiping with cotton soaked with witch hazel, taking stool softeners, drinking more water, and increasing the fiber in your diet. There are numerous non-prescription medications, such as Hemocyl, that can very effectively help relieve symptoms.
It is important to note that not all rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids or fissures. If you experience any rectal bleeding it should be checked immediately by a medical professional.