Anal or rectal fissure is a small tear or split in the thin moist membrane that lines the lower rectum (anus). This may cause a burning or sharp pain during a bowel movement.
People suffering from constipation tend to be at a higher risk of having an anal fissure as large or hard stools can cause tearing of the anal lining.
Other causes of an anal fissure include; Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), poor flow of blood to the anal region, and an increased tension in the sphincter muscles that control the anus.
Symptoms of anal fissures may come suddenly or develop gradually. The most common symptoms of anal fissures include; bleeding, painful bowel movement, crack/tear in the anal area, constipation, and blood in stool or blood in used toilet paper.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with anal fissures;
- Avoid straining during a bowel movement as this may exacerbate the anal fissure.
- Strive to change the diapers of infants frequently to minimize infantile anal fissure.
- If you have diarrhea, treat it as soon as possible.
- Ensure you stay well-hydrated all day by drinking a lot of water daily. This would help soften your stools and prevent constipation.
- Exercise caution when lifting a heavy load or doing other physical activities that could cause you to strain your anal region.
- Avoid scratching the anal region as this could exacerbate the anal fissure.
- If you experience severe pain when seated, you could sit on a soft pillow to help minimize the pain.
- Exercising regularly would help improve blood flow to the anal region as well as improve bowel movement.
- You could also make dietary changes by including more fiber, from grains, fruits, and vegetables, in your diet.
Below are natural treatments and home remedies for anal fissures;
1. Nettle Juice
Nettle juice is commonly used by herbalists to treat constipation and other digestive distress. The herbaceous plant is a good source of vitamins A and C, iron and other minerals that are beneficial to the body. Moreover, it has flavonoids which serve as antioxidants. To curb anal fissures, drink 1-2 tsp of nettle juice twice a day.
2. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee plays a crucial role in bowel movements by lubricating the digestive tract. For best results, add clarified butter in a cup of warm milk and drink before going to bed. You can also apply directly to the problem area 2-3 times a day to reduce the itching that may occur around the anus.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a healthy fat that aids in lubricating the bowel system. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory properties so it can relieve pain that comes with anal fissures. Also, if you have constipation, olive oil can soften the hard stool. You can apply the oil directly on the area or include it in your meals. For chronic fissures, you should consider an overnight application. This olive oil remedy is effective when combined with beeswax or honey.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an effective natural cure for anal fissures. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides which help to lubricate the affected area. Furthermore, coconut oil soothes the bowel and repairs the tissues around the rectum. Since constipation can cause anal fissures, you should include coconut oil in your diet. Alternatively, apply the oil to the problem area 2-3 times a day. If you have a chronic condition, you can apply several times a day.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is rich in water-soluble fiber (pectin) that promotes regular bowel movements. Furthermore, ACV improves digestion and is an effective remedy for constipation. To make the infusion, add two to three tsp of unfiltered ACV with a half tablespoon of natural honey in a cup of warm water and drink up to two times a day.
6. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Keeping your anal region clean and dry would reduce the risk of bacterial infections. As such, you should pay special attention to your anal region. For instance, you should use soft toilet paper after each bowel movement. Avoid using scented toilet paper since they can irritate. Secondly, dab some powder on the anal region after taking a bath to keep it dry. Thirdly, avoid sitting for long hours in the same position to prevent the buildup of moisture around the anal region. And of course, you should wear breathable cotton underwear.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can get you out of the misery of anal fissures. This succulent plant grows in numerous backyards and lawns. Apart from being a top ingredient in most beauty products, it has a moisturizing and hydrating effect on the skin. Aloe vera also has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in relieving pain. Simply cut the succulent leaf, scrape out the gel with a spoon and apply on the problem area 2-3 times a day.
One of the easiest ways to soften your stool is to increase fiber in your diet. That way, you don’t have to put a lot of pressure when passing stool. As such, you should consume foods rich in fiber like spinach, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, legumes, prunes, and pumpkin seeds. Simply put, choose brown rice over white rice, whole grains over refined grains, fruits over juice, etc. You can also take fiber supplements as directed by your doctor. When you increase fiber in your diet, remember to take lots of water.
Comfrey is a perennial herb common in riverbanks and is characterized by a hairy stem and fibrous roots. It has mucilage properties making it a perfect remedy for intestinal problems. Comfrey has medicinal properties that aid in regenerating skin tissues. To treat anal fissures, add 1-2 teaspoon of comfrey in hot water. Steep for 5-10 minutes and clean the affected area with the concoction. Alternatively, you could use the solution as a warm compress. You may also apply some comfrey ointment on the area 2-3 times a day. The cream will reduce pain and inflammation.
10. L-Arginine Gel
L-Arginine gel is rich in the amino acid, L-Arginine, that aid in increasing nitric oxide in the affected region. This amino acid, in gel form, is quite effective for any person who is not responding to other conventional treatments. Unlike most over-the-counter medications, it promotes healing without any side effects. For quick results, apply the gel to the anal area 2-3 times a day.
11. Hot Sitz Bath
Soaking in hot water can work effectively in treating anal fissures. When you have an anal fissure, the bowel movements are accompanied by muscle spasms which can cause pain. So, the warm water will calm the muscles around the rectum area. A hot sitz bath will give quick results, especially when you’re not able to take a bath. Use this remedy immediately after a bowel movement.
A moderate intensity exercise can help to heal an anal fissure. The most effective one is bath exercise. It involves contracting and relaxing the muscles around the anal region while sitting on a tub of hot water. If the fissure is as a result of constipation, you should try some yoga exercises as directed by your trainer. Walking will also encourage regular bowel movements and improve blood flow on the area.
Flaxseeds possess high amounts of omega-3 and fiber which reduces the risks of constipation. They also work as a laxative reducing the pain that comes with anal fissures. Put powdered flaxseeds in warm water and consume before going to bed. You can also take flaxseeds or flaxseed oil in the form of capsules as directed by your doctor. Regular intake of flaxseeds will reduce the strain when passing stool.
14. Drink Plenty Of Water
Along with keeping you hydrated, water will detoxify your body to ensure your immune system is functioning properly. Ideally, when you drink lots of water you keep diarrhea and constipation at bay. Experts recommend a daily intake of 2 liters to improve your overall health.
15. Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil has a rich nutritional value that includes potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, omega-3, and folic acid. Furthermore, it has high fiber content which is needed for proper digestive health. Regular application of wheat germ oil would prevent the anal from tearing. Furthermore, applying wheat germ oil, to the anal region, would also reduce pain due to wheat germ’s anti-inflammatory properties. For this remedy, apply wheat germ oil directly to the affected region. Use this regimen once a day, especially when going to bed. Also, the best way to incorporate wheat germ into your daily diet is to use it as cooking oil.
Papaya can treat many health conditions including fistula, fissures, and hemorrhoids. Papaya is rich in papain, an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of food substances. Apart from being rich in fiber, papaya has high water content making it an ideal choice for combating constipation. Additionally, a papaya has other nutrients that aid in muscle movement. To prevent anal fissures, take ripe papayas alongside your diet every day.
17. Pineapple Juice
Pineapple has abundant fiber which ensures a healthy digestion. This tasty drink can replace processed foods in your diet to stop the stool from hardening. It helps to reduce soreness around the anal region. To cure anal fissures, drink pineapple juice several times a day. Avoid pineapple juices in retail stores that have preservatives.
18. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is the most effective lubricant for anal fissures. When you apply some jelly around the anal canal, you smoothen the area reducing the time spent on a bowel movement. To apply the thick ointment, use a soft tissue. Make sure you also pay special attention to the anus and its surrounding skin. Petroleum jelly is also one of the quickest ways of healing the wound that comes with the tearing.
While eating veggies can help to curb anal fissures, you can still get more dietary fiber from fruits. Examples of fruits rich in fiber include blackberries, avocados, apples, pears, papayas, oranges, raspberries, prunes and more. These fruits have enzymes that aid in proper digestion. Apart from their nutritional benefits, fruits help reduce constipation. The rule of thumb is to avoid fruits low in fiber.
To have a smooth bowel movement, you need plenty of fiber. For those looking for an alternative to animal products, lentils should be on top of their list. To use this remedy, soak some lentils in water overnight. Then, tie them with a muslin cloth. Keep sprinkling some water until they start to sprout. Consume the lentils 2-3 times a day.
This wholesome food keeps the digestive tract clean by promoting regular bowel movements. Since it contains numerous macronutrients and micronutrients the body needs to function at optimal levels, you should take a cup of warm milk before going to bed.
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