An anal fissure is a cut or tear in the lining of the anus.
An anal fissure can occur when someone passes a large or hard stool (poop), which stretches the lining of the anus until it tears. It also can happen when frequent diarrhea irritates the lining.
An anal fissure can cause pain or itching in the area, especially during and after bowel movements. You may also see blood on the stool, baby wipes, or toilet tissue.
In infants, anal fissures are very common and tend to heal completely with basic care, including soaks and ointment. In older kids and teens, the cuts can take several weeks or longer to heal and sometimes tear open again.
Preventing constipation and keeping the area clean can help anal fissures heal. Drinking plenty of fluids, taking stool softeners, eating foods with fiber, and exercising regularly can help treat and prevent fissures by making bowel movements easier to pass. Keeping the area clean and applying ointments can relieve pain and speed healing.
Rarely, a fissure doesn't heal. In this case, the doctor may recommend surgery.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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