An anal fissure is a painful condition in which there is a tear or cut in the thin and delicate tissue that lines the anus. In some cases, the tear may even expose the anal sphincter, which is the muscle around the anus. This can cause the muscle to experience spasms that can further widen the fissure, causing severe pain and slowing down healing. Passage of stools can also cause pain and may delay healing of the fissures. If the condition persists for more than 6 weeks or occurs frequently, it is regarded as chronic.
Anal fissures can heal without medical intervention within a few weeks, if you increase fiber and fluid intake to ease bowel movements. Warm water soaks can also help relax the sphincter and encourage healing. However, such measures may not be adequate due to severe pain or persistence of symptoms. In such cases, medical treatments can include both nonsurgical and surgical approaches.