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This article was published on July 16, 2012, and was last updated on May 1st, 2019 in Hemorrhoid Banding.
Anal fissures can be very painful but there are several treatment methods that are available to provide sufferers with relief. Currently, there are at least three main types of anal fissure ointments that are commonly prescribed to assist those suffering from this condition.
Anal fissures are small tears or cracks that occur for various reasons. In many cases, a bowel movement may cause an anal fissure if the skin cannot stretch to accommodate it. Those suffering from chronic anal fissures may have other, more serious problems of the colon. Proper screening is recommended for anyone that experiences anal fissures on a regular basis.
There are several treatments available for anal fissures, ranging from topical treatments to surgery. Many patients prefer to try the topical treatments first, since surgery can lead to other complications. The topical treatments are used to allow the anal sphincter muscle, which is usually in spasm, to relax, which provides more slack in the skin surrounding the anal fissure. Once the sphincter muscle is relaxed, healing can begin.
One of the first topical treatments introduced for anal fissures was a nitroglycerine based ointment. This is commonly sold in strengths ranging from .12% to .2%. Patients have reported that this particular type of anal fissure ointment is very successful in treating chronic anal fissures, and it is available only with a prescription.
The second type of anal fissure ointment contains diltiazam or nifedipine. These medications are called “calcium channel blockers”, and are used to treat a variety of other conditions as well. Research has found that these medications can be successful in treating chronic anal fissures. This type of anal fissure ointment is commonly available only with a prescription as well.
The third type of topical medication commonly prescribed for patients with anal fissures includes a topical anesthetic. These creams or ointments can help to numb the surrounding area, making the patient more comfortable.
In the event that anal fissure ointments don’t work, there are a few more treatment options available for those that wish to avoid surgery. A newer technique involves injecting botulinum toxin, commonly known as botox, into the sphincter itself. This procedure must be conducted by a physician and will allow the muscles around the sphincter to relax. In severe cases, this treatment is may be recommended and is often successful.
While anal fissures are uncomfortable, they can be treated by a qualified professional. In addition, it is very important to remember that colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for people over the age of 50, and particularly for those that suffer from anal fissures on a regular basis.