An anal fissure is a small cut or tear in the skin lining the anus. Childbirth, straining during bowel movements, or bouts of constipation or diarrhea can all tear the anal lining. Anal fissures are usually not a cause for concern and most heal without any medical treatment. However, those resistant to treatment may require surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Anal Fissures?

With an anal fissure, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A visual tear on the anus
  • A skin tag (small lump of skin) next to the anal fissure
  • Extreme pain in the anal area during bowel movements
  • Streaks of blood on stools or on tissue paper after wiping
  • Burning or itching in the anal area

What Causes Anal Fissures?

The skin around the anus can be torn when passing large or hard stools. Chronic constipation or frequent diarrhea can also tear the skin. Other causes:

  • Crohn’s disease or another irritable bowel disease
  • Straining during childbirth
  • Decreased blood flow in the anorectal area due to old age
  • Overly tight or spastic anal sphincter muscles