Many people don’t realize that there is a difference between anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
An anal fissure is a tear in the actual skin portion that surrounds the rectum where as a hemorrhoid is a vein that has become swollen in the lower rectum, or anal canal.
They are both quite common and most heal with treatments that can be done at home.
They can affect people of all ages and by the age of 50 at least half of the adult population has had a least one hemorrhoid. Women are particularly susceptible to either condition when they are going through childbirth. This is due to the increased pressure in the pelvic area, especially during the last six months of their pregnancy.
Straining or pushing during bowel movements causes the veins in the rectum to swell up more than usual. Where the tissue surrounding these veins normally fill with blood to control bowel function, the increased pressure and swelling from straining may cause hemorrhoids to develop.
Conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, and being overweight can also cause hemorrhoids to appear. When a person has hemorrhoids they can experience severe burning after a bowel movement. Streaks of bright red blood may appear on the toilet paper or be seen floating separately in the toilet.
In the case of anal fissures, these may develop when trying to pass a large stool. The stretching can cause injury to the rectum and a tear, or anal fissure may occur. Diarrhea that is persistent or trauma to the area may also cause fissures, as well as irritable bowel disease. Fissures cause stinging, burning and sharp pain during and after going to the bathroom. The usual treatment is to reduce constipation problems so that less trauma occurs to the skin around the rectum. Over time anal fissures can heal on their own, but if it persists a doctor should be consulted.
Since anal fissures and hemorrhoids have many of the same symptoms, they are often misdiagnosed.
One may have fissures that are treated as hemorrhoids while others may have hemorrhoids that are thought to be fissures. In some instances the blood that appears with either of these may cause a doctor to suspect a more serious ailment such as rectal or colon cancer. This is especially true if the doctor doesn’t immediately find the problem during a rectal exam.
It is very important that you have your doctor inspect the anal area so that a proper diagnosis can be given.
In my situation, I was originally diagnosed with hemorrhoids and was being treated with the wrong medicines because I actually had an anal fissure. It was not until I went back to my doctor a second time that he was able to properly diagnose my problem.
If you are diagnosed as having an anal fissure you need to know that having surgery is not your only option to heal the fissure. Click here for information about the dangers of having surgery to fix your anal fissure.
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