Commentary by: Dr. Sergio Agradi, Head of the Unit of Proctology and Pelviperineology at Humanitas Gavazzeni Bergamo
An anal fissure is a small tear or abrasion of the skin or mucosa of the anus. It may cause some discomfort and it is often associated with itching and bleeding at the beginning of its appearance, but also with strong pain in its most advanced stage. “If it is not kept under control, it may lead to complications that can affect the normal course of everyday life” – points out by Dr. Agradi.
What should be done once an anal fissure appears?
“We must act in a timely manner because the therapies to get rid of fissures, such as thorough application of creams containing small percentages of nitroglycerin or the use of hot anal dilator, are all the more efficient the earlier they are implemented.” A visit to your physician will help assess the extent of the issue and that the symptoms are not caused by something else therefore allowing for proper and quick treatment.
Are there ways to prevent or at least help heal the formation of anal fissures?
“To prevent fissures, it is important to maintain a diet that is rich in fiber and especially contains grains, fruits, vegetables and liquids. Constant engagement in exercise is also important, yet in moderation. It should be noted that being overweight can also result in the formation of fissures. Once they have already formed, it becomes essential to use warm compresses or use the bidet with hot water several times during the day. Pain medication in combination with mild laxatives can also help make the stool softer.”
Can anal fissures affect children? How can they be prevented in younger individuals?
“In order to prevent the formation of fissures in children, it is especially important to keep one thing in mind: be careful in all aspects relating to hygiene and keep the anal area fresh and clean at all times.”
Teaching your children proper bathroom hygiene rules as well as how to maintain a diet as described above is the basis for prevention at young ages. Regular engagement in physical activities will also significantly reduce the risk as in adults and should be encouraged. These are important steps for all aspects of children’s health and can prove to be a challenge for parents in a society where entertainment is provided through electronic devices and unhealthy foods are easily accessible.