Gone Fishing: Anal Fissure Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Gone Fishing: Anal Fissure Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Written by Caleb Johnson

The backside burn of a fissure can have you feeling like you’ve ripped a hole in the fabric of space and time. Space and time. Yeah, that’s definitely something you’re going to need after encountering one of these tears on the delicate skin of your chocolate starfish! 

1 in 10 people will experience a fissure in their life, yet a lack of understanding or a bounty of embarrassment can prevent us from getting the help we need when facing these rectal rips. This means we can end up suffering from soreness, itchiness, bleeding and major discomfort. If we don’t tackle these issues bottom on, we could be manifesting a life of worsened butt health conditions and a lower quality of life. This stuff is super important to know.  

So, grab a seat if you can weather it, a comfy cushion might help too, and let's get to the bottom of the mystery of anal fissures together.

Demystifying Anal Fissures 

What Exactly Is a Fissure? 

A fissure, often referred to as an anal fissure, is a small crack or tear in the skin around the opening of your backside. Think of it like a paper cut in an unholy place. These tears can be superficial or extend deeper into the underlying muscle, known as the internal anal sphincter. Ouch!  

Normally, a fissure is less than a centimetre long, but don't let that small number fool you; these small slits can pack a punch and make visits to the throne fit for a sting. Fissures are common, and while they may sound a bit intimidating, they're usually not cause for major concern. Spotting them early can help keep your tush in tip-top shape 

Anal Fissure: Not as Rare as You Think 

Believe it or not, fissures really aren’t that rare! You probably know someone who’s silently suffering from one as we speak. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about though! The fact that so many people experience them means that medical professionals are used to seeing them daily, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to a tear in the derriere! 

The Bottom Line on Causes 

The Usual Suspects of Fissure Formation 

When it comes to the formation of an anal fissure, the culprits aren’t usually that mysterious. One of the top offenders is constipation. When you're straining to pass a large or hard stool, it increases the risk of tearing. Similarly, bouts of diarrhoea can also irritate the anal lining and set the stage for fissures. 

Childbirth is another common cause, as the process can stretch and strain the area beyond all prior beliefs. Beyond these, other factors include inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause inflammation in the area, and activities that put pressure on the pelvis, like heavy lifting. Knowing these causes can help you take steps to prevent fissures from crashing your party downstairs. 

Less Talked About: Uncommon Causes 

Certain medical conditions that affect blood flow to the anus, such as Crohn's disease or even HIV, can contribute to the likelihood of developing a fissure. Medications that tighten or dry out the anal mucosa can also play a role. And let's not forget the impact of a sedentary lifestyle – too much sitting around at your desk all day or at home can increase pressure on the anal region.

Lastly, for those who engage in receptive anal play, the physical stress can sometimes lead to fissures. Being aware of these less common causes can help you to better understand and manage your risk. After all, knowledge is poo-wer, especially when it comes to your backside. 

Spotting the Signs 

How to Know If You Have a Fissure 

If you don’t want to bend yourself into a pretzel to look at your peachy perineum, only for your partner to walk in on the act, here are a few telltale signs. First up is pain during and following your trip to the porcelain throne – a sharp sensation that might make you think twice about your next trip to the toilet.  

Then there's the bleeding – you might notice a bit of red on the toilet paper, which is never a welcome sight. Less commonly, you might feel an itchy or burning sensation down there, which can really cra(m)p your style. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to chat with a medical professional. They can give you the lowdown and confirm whether or not a fissure is the uninvited guest at your backdoor bash. Remember, when it comes to health, especially down there, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Listening to Your Body's Red Flags 

Paying attention to your body's signals is key when it comes to spotting an anal fissure. If you're finding that sitting down feels like you're on a cactus, or if going to the bathroom is more terrifying than dinner with the in-laws, these are red flags not to be ignored. 

Other signs that your body is waving the red flag include a lingering soreness or a sensation of having a small foreign body stuck where the sun doesn't shine. Swelling in the area can also occur, making you feel like you're sitting on a small balloon. If these symptoms are making an unsolicited cameo in your daily life, don't just chalk it up to bad luck. Reach out for support and show that tear who’s boss! 

Steering Clear of the Crack 

How to prevent a fissure 

First off, fibre is your friend, 30g a day to be exact. Load up on fruits, veggies, nuts, pulses and whole grains to keep things moving smoothly, as if your intestines were a well-oiled machine. Staying hydrated is another key step; think of water as a natural lubricant for your digestive tract, drink 6-8 glasses a day. Regular exercise also keeps the blood flowing and reduces the pressure on your pelvic floor, so your bottom stays less stressed. 

If you're already in the pain zone, gentle cleaning is a must. Skip the dry toilet paper that feels like sandpaper and opt for a gentle, soothing toilet paper gel. And lastly, give your tush a break from time to time – sitting all day is no party for your posterior. These simple habits can mean the difference between a happy hiney and a fissure fiasco. 

Lifestyle Tweaks to Keep Fissures at Bay 

Sometimes, it's the small changes that can make the biggest difference in preventing anal fissures. Let's talk lifestyle tweaks.

First, think about your throne time – don't treat it like you do your sofa once strictly comes on. 5-10 minutes is more than enough, 15 minutes MAX to prevent fissures or other bottom conditions. Keep it quick and pressure-free, if nothing's coming, try again later when your body is ready. 

Next, consider your bathroom habits. Are you a bit of a bear when it comes to wiping? Try to be as gentle as a butterfly instead. Rough wiping can irritate the area and set you up for trouble. Cleaning up should be gentle yet effective, a light hand is key. 

Lastly, manage stress – it tightens everything, including the muscles around your back door, making them more prone to tears. Easier said than done, but identifying the cause of stress and doing your best to handle it will help keep your bottom in the clear of cuts. 

Handling the Hassle: Fissure Treatment 

First Aid for Your Back End 

When an anal fissure has made its grand entrance, don't panic – there's a first aid kit for your back end. The first line of defence is to soften your stools; think Anything Goes, not The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Over-the-counter stool softeners can be your ally here. Next, warm baths – or sitz baths – can be wonderfully soothing. Want to try something more natural? Read up on home stool softeners here! 

Pain relief is also at the top of the list. Topical anesthetics can numb the discomfort, making everything a bit more bearable. And remember, keep the area clean and dry, but be as gentle as possible without compromising the level of cleanliness you're trying to achieve. 

If these home remedies don't ease the fissure, fissure treatment may include medications to relax the sphincter muscles or, in persistent cases, surgery. But let's not jump the gun; start with the basics and give your tush the tender loving care it deserves. 

When to Seek Professional Butt Support 

Knowing when to wave the white flag and seek professional help is key in the battle against anal fissures. If you've been following all the home remedies but your back end is still staging a rectal rebellion, it's time to call in the cavalry. This means if you're seeing no improvement after a few weeks, or if the pain is becoming unbearable.  

Blood in your stool is another sign that it's time to get help. It's not just about the pain; it's about making sure nothing more serious is at play. Also, recurring fissures that come back more often than a bad sitcom should be checked out. 

Your health professional will be able to examine the area and make sure you both know what’s what. They might even use a gloved hand to check just the inside of the anus. But that’s no different than any other day for them, so it should be a walk in the park.  

Reeling in, wrapping up! 

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what fissures are, how to tell if you have one and how to treat a fissure if you find yourself awkwardly standing in the same room as one.  

If you take one thing away from this article, it’s to feel empowered to take control of your bottom care journey. When it comes to our health, nothing should have to be so embarrassing that we end up not getting the support that we need. If you think that you might be suffering from fissures, or any bottom health issue for that matter, reach out to those around you so that you can prevent any further issues from developing and negatively impacting your quality of life.  

If you find yourself feeling a little raw and sore with fissures below the waist, why not try Wype’s soothing and calming toilet paper gel to get your bottom into tiptop shape once more? 



What are the main symptoms of an anal fissure
Some of the main symptoms of an anal fissure include pain during of after going to the toilet, cramping around the anus, blood in the stool or on the toilet paper after wiping, itchiness around the anus or a tear or rip around the anus.
What are some immediate treatments for an anal fissure?
Using natural or over the counter stool softeners, eating 30g of fibre, using a soothing and moisturising toilet paper gel when wiping, and having warm sitz baths for 10-15 minutes can all help to alleviate the symptoms of a fissure and start the healing process at home.
When should I see a doctor about an anal fissure?
Most anal fissures will heal by themselves over time. However, if you've noticed blood in your stool and the pain persists for longer than a few weeks, it's best to see a medical professional. They'll be able to perform an anal examination and give you the support you need to recover fully.
What lifestyle changes can help prevent anal fissures?
Eating more fibre (30g a day) and drinking enough water (6-8 glasses a day) can soften stool and prevent the likelihood of an anal fissure occurring. Exercise and stress control can also make for less pressure around our bottoms, reducing the likelihood of fissures occurring.
How serious is an anal fissure?
Anal fissures are really common and usually not dangerous at all. However, they can cause a lot of pain areound you bottom, especially when using the toilet. Some anal fissures can be stubborn and resist healing. If you find that you have a chronic fissure, it's best to seek medical attention so that it doesn't impact your quality of life.


  • Pam

    It makes me so happy to read these blogs and to know that folk have access to such information without it being in anyway ‘taboo’!
    Having been blighted in my 20s with constipation which resulted in quite bad anal tears my GP took the time to explain the problem to me in order that I could help myself….i wouldn’t have dreamed of discussing such things with anyone else. I’m now in my 60s and suffer with IBS (mostly diarrhoea) 🤷🏻‍♀️ so find your products indispensable.
    It’s so important everyone knows about their bowel habits 😀

  • Denise

    Thanks for this very helpful article. I suffered a fissure a number of years ago and it felt like all the fires of hell when I went to the loo. All ok now

  • Carolyn Edmonds

    I had anal fissures after giving birth to my first (large-headed) son 39 years ago. My pain was dismissed by my GP as ‘piles’ – he never looked – so for months that was what I was treated for. Eventually a locum GP took a look, sent me to hospital. I had to have 2 sphincter stretches under General Anaesthetic 3 months apart, before the problem was eventually solved. Take the advice given here and keep at it until it’s sorted!

  • Brenda Steven

    A Ready interesting read. Thank you. And you delivered it perfectly- informative but light hearted !

    PS I love your product its really eased an embarrassing problem.

  • Lisa

    Thanks, this was super helpful.

  • Lorna

    My goodness – your copywriter is a genius!! So brilliantly explained. A friend recommended your products and I am now using them myself. They are amazing and really work! I noticed an improvement straight away and I can’t begin to tell you what a difference this has made. Thank you.

  • Julie Turner

    I have piles which although have been treated, I still need to be careful of flare ups. I’m grateful for open messages about looking after your butt area and using Wype rather than wipes. Wype is much slippery-er which is kinder to a sore area.

    Getting used to using wype and it’s much easier to carry the small bottle than a pack of crackly wipes.

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