The anus is an opening at the end of the gastrointestinal tract and starts at the bottom of the rectum. It is the last part of the structure of your digestive system and is responsible for detecting rectal contents. Problems with the anus are common, and treatment varies with the symptoms you’re experiencing.
The two most common conditions of the anus are Anal Fissures and Anal Fistulas.
Anal fissure, also called Fissure-in-ano, is a narrow tear along the lining of the anal canal. It is usually caused when the anal muscles undergo excessive stress from constant bouts of diarrhea or constipation, anal sex, rectal cancer or vaginal childbirth.
Anal fistulas, on the other hand, is a small tunnel that connects an infected cavity along with the anal glands and is filled with pus. It usually occurs from an anal abscess, which are infected cavities blocking the glands along the anus. It may occur after rectal surgery or complicated bowel movements.
They are both used interchangeably but are very different conditions and their symptoms also vary considerably:
|Anal Fissure Symptoms||Anal Fistula Symptoms|
|Pain during and after bowel movements||Repeated anal abscess|
|Visible crack or tear in the skin around the anus||Blood or pus drainage around the anus|
|Blood in the stool||Irritation around the skin near the anus|
|Small lump near the anal fissure on the skin||Constant fatigue, fever, and chills|
Although Anal Fissures and Anal Fistulas can be diagnosed with a physical examination of the anus, some doctors would recommend certain screenings to be completely sure of your condition.
Several lifestyle and dietary changes aid in relieving pain, such as intake of fibre-rich foods, drinking adequate clear fluids, avoiding strain during a bowel movement. The goal is to adopt a better and healthier lifestyle.
If you experience pain around your anus, consult your doctor at the earliest. Be open about your symptoms and discomfort, and in case you’re not sure of the questions to ask, here are some pointers:
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