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Anal fissures are small cuts in the skin around the anus and often inside the anal canal that make bowel movements a bit of a challenge. It can be uncomfortable and quite a common occurrence. But several home remedies can help you reduce the discomfort. Before delving into the options you have for anal fissure treatment at home, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms and causes of anal fissures.
Symptoms of Anal Fissures
You’ll need to identify the common symptoms associated with the condition to determine whether you have anal fissures. Some of the signs that you might be having fissures are:
- Pain and irritation during bowel movements
- Pain in and around the anus that lasts for many hours after a bowel movement
- Spots of blood in the stool
- Crack in the skin in the anal region
- Skin tags close to the anal fissure.
Causes of Anal Fissures
Anal fissures are most often attributed to constipation, but that isn’t the only cause. This condition can present itself in these scenarios as well:
- Regular instances of diarrhea
- Related conditions of the digestive system, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease
- Tight sphincter muscles can lead to increased tension around the anus
5 Home Remedies for Anal Fissures
Fissures are usually treated with medicines that your family physician can prescribe for you. Occasionally, surgical intervention might be required. However, in most cases, all you need to do is follow some simple anal fissure home remedies and adopt regular self-help practices that can not just improve your condition but also prevent fissures from reoccurring.
Sitz baths are often the home remedy of choice when it comes to reducing the extreme irritation caused by anal fissures. A sitz bath kit is readily available in the market, but just in case you can’t find one, you can easily create a make-shift one at home.
A sitz bath involves sitting in a shallow basin filled with warm water to help soothe the area of discomfort. You can also add some Epsom salt or baking soda to the basin to help with constipation
The warm water in a sitz bath increases blood flow to the affected area. This can lessen the pain and promote healing. Warm water also helps your perineum muscles relax and keeps the area clean.
After the sitz bath, gently pat the area dry with a clean towel. Sitz baths are a safe anal fissure treatment at home but if your symptoms don’t seem to go away, make sure you consult a doctor.
Since anal fissures are caused due to constipation, eating a diet rich in fiber can be an effective remedy for anal fissures. Increasing your daily consumption of fiber-rich food can soften stools. This makes them easier to pass and reduces the risk of re-injury to the anal tissue. Some of the questions to ask when we include fiber in our diet are:
- How much fiber should we eat?
The recommended daily intake of fiber for adults is between 25-30 grams. However, we rarely reach this count, so we must add a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to our diet.
- What are some foods that are high in fiber?
Whole grains such as brown rice, millet, oats, and quinoa are a wonderful source of fiber. So are a variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- What is the best way to consume fiber?
While it is important to eat high-fiber foods, we also need to drink plenty of water to help the fiber move easily through the digestive system.
Staying hydrated is not just the best way to keep anal fissures at bay, but also a crucial aspect of good health. Here are some ways that you can ensure that you are drinking enough liquids throughout the day:
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day. This will prevent your body from getting constipated and also soften your stools.
- Not all fluids are hydrating–caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration, thus making anal fissures worse.
- Include lots of fruits and vegetables since they are high in water content and can help you stay hydrated.
4. Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is a great alternative to topical ointments as it is considered a natural remedy due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Here are some ways in which coconut oil can be used as an effective remedy for anal fissures:
- As a topical treatment: Apply coconut oil directly on the affected area three to four times daily to alleviate the pain and encourage the fissures to heal. The best time to do this is right after a shower or a sitz bath.
- As a part of your diet: You can add coconut oil to your diet either by adding a couple of spoons to your breakfast smoothies or even just cooking with it. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe pain caused by anal fissures.
- As a lubricant: Use Coconut oil as a lubricant during bowel movements. This can lessen the friction and passing stools will become a bit easier.
In case you’re looking for a straightforward fissure cure at home, exercise might just be your answer. Pelvic strengthening exercises are effective in managing the symptoms of anal fissures. These are a few ways in which regular exercise positively affects this condition:
- Improve blood flow to the perineum: Just like the effect of a warm sitz bath, exercise too helps increase the blood flow, thus reducing the pain associated with anal fissures.
- Reduce constipation: Regular exercise is a great way to improve bowel function and thus combat constipation.
- Reduce stress: Research shows that our mental health has a direct effect on our gut health. Exercise is a wonderful way of practicing self-care and thus reducing stress.
- Strengthen the rectal muscles: Exercise can help strengthen the anal sphincter and thus prevent future anal fissures.
Exercise might seem challenging in the beginning when you have anal fissures. So, the key is to start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is the kind of exercise you choose. Walking, swimming, and yoga are great choices for those with this condition.
The Bottom Line
No doubt anal fissures are painful and cause discomfort, but there are several anal fissure treatments at home. Simple self-care practices that promote good overall health can double up as anal fissure home remedies. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it is worthwhile consulting a doctor through Medibuddy for further evaluation and treatment.