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Rectal Fissure: Symptoms, Causes
and Treatment

A rectal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus, the opening where feces are excreted. The tear typically extends into a circular ring of muscle called the internal anal sphincter. The fissure is described as acute if it has been present for less than six weeks, or chronic if present greater than six weeks.


After passing a larger-diameter bowel movement, there is burning, stinging, and possible bleeding on the rectum; painful red swelling or sore at or near the anal opening.

Some patients also note itching or irritation of the skin around the anus.


Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and rectum area. Fissures are ulcers or breaks in the skin which just happen to occur in the same area.

The margins where the skin meets the mucous membrane can have small tears. This occurs sometimes at the corner of the mouth. Fissures on the rectum are somewhat similar. A common cause is the passing of a large, hard stool.

Other causes are believed to grow from pregnancy, aging, chronic constipation, diarrhea, and some have hereditary explanations.


The goal of treatment for rectal fissures is to relieve the pain and spasm and heal the fissure. People who have a new rectal fissure may heal on their own without special treatment. By contrast, those with a chronic rectal fissure usually require additional therapy.

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