What are Anal Fissures and Are They Covered on the NHS?

What is an Anal Fissure?

Anal fissures are small tears or cracks in the lining of the anus, often caused by trauma during bowel movements. They can occur due to various factors, including constipation, the passage of a particularly large or hard stools, diarrhoea, or even childbirth. Anal fissures typically manifest as pain, discomfort, and bleeding during or after bowel movements. The pain can last anything from minutes to hours after the going to the toilet.

An anal Fissure is essentially a cut in the back passage that is usually caused by passing a particularly hard or big stool. Anal fissures are generally more common in patients that strain and have a tendency towards constipation. They are characterised by very severe pain predominantly on passing stool and also immediately after passing stool. The pain can last anything from minutes to hours after the going to the toilet.

How Can Anal Fissures be Treated?

Like most cuts, anal fissures can heal spontaneously, but this does take a significant amount of time. Most fissures, however, do need a helping hand:

Self-Care Measures

  • Maintaining proper hygiene: Gentle cleansing with warm water after each bowel movement can help keep the area clean and prevent infection.
  • Increasing fibre intake: Consuming fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help soften the stool and make bowel movements easier, reducing the strain on the anal area.
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day can promote softer stools, prevent constipation and straining when going to the toilet

Additional treatment

  • To prevent the anus from going into spasm a rectalgesic may be required
  • In some cases, when there is no improvement, we may proceed with a botox injection to the anus muscle. This is usually done under general anaesthetic to relax and improve blood flow to the affected area.

Are Anal Fissure Treatments Available on the NHS?

Yes, anal fissure treatments are something that is available on the NHS, however, with the current backlog and waiting list often you’ll be waiting a long time in order to get an appointment. This is the reason many people opt for private treatment for anal fissures as you can see a medical specialist in less than 48 hours.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from An Anal Fissure?

In general, most people that seek treatment swiftly will improve very quickly and are fully recovered within 6 to 8 weeks. While anal fissures can be uncomfortable and distressing, there are various treatment options available to alleviate the pain and promote healing. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and guidance on the most suitable treatment plan for your specific condition. Remember to maintain good bowel habits, follow self-care measures, and seek medical advice promptly to ensure a swift recovery from anal fissures.

If you are concerned about Anal Fissures and any pain or discomfort you may have, our team will be more than happy to help and investigate your symptoms further. Please email us at info@midlandscolorectal.co.uk or enquire online to learn more.