When pain and blood come in the picture, it is easy to see a professional. But when pain is in areas you are embarrassed to show, opting for professional advice does not seem to be a bit of an option. One of these areas includes the anus. Indeed, bending over inside the examination room seems not a good picture at all. And among the numerous anal dilemmas, anal fissure and hemorrhoids occur most commonly. These conditions have their close similarities but distinct differences. Know the answer to anal fissures vs hemorrhoids and what to do when they appear. Luckily, even if these events include rectal bleeding, pain, and tears in the area, it can be prevented. Learn if fissures can be healed and what risks should you be avoiding.
What Are Anal Fissures?
There is no denying that comfort room scenarios are not comfortable. Indeed, with passing hard bowel, patience and effort are put to the test. You could only but force the anus to let out the stuff it should. Unfortunately, the movements of hard bowel will result in anal fissure or tear. Presence of abrasion, bleeding, or small visible cuts are the distinct symptoms of this condition. Anal fissures are often as slim as the regular tear in the skin. And although you will not see the scratches yourself, it would often present as itching and bright red stains.
A group of muscles near the opening called the anal sphincter muscle muslce is what regulates the dilation and constriction of the anal opening. Outer anal sphincter muscles are what you control during excretion, and the inner muscles contract involuntarily. However, when anal fissures occur frequently, they could get chronic. Repetitive injuries will cause spasm of the anal sphincter muscle and will tend to pull on the fissure apart. In this case, fissure increases in number, gets deeper and heals slowly all while inducing pain. Anal fissures also happen during childbirth delivery, intense diarrhoea, and existing medical condition such as Crohn’s disease.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Also known as piles, these swollen or dilated rectal veins may become big enough to form lumps. Too much strain during excretion or intense activities like weightlifting could cause these veins to stretch. Vessels walls stretch thin that could lead to irritation and bulging. This effect makes it similar to the appearance of varicose veins. Hemorrhoids may either cause pain or not depending on the situation. There are also types of piles which include:
- Internal hemorrhoids
These types are located in the less sensitive areas inside the rectum and are often painless. Presence of bleeding after excretion indicates internal hemorrhoids. Failure to heal in time may cause internal hemorrhoids to bilge outside or prolapse outside the anus.
- External Hemorrhoids
external hemorrhoids are more painful since they appear in the area near the anus. Itching and swelling around the lining are also common.
- Thrombosed Hemorrhoids
When the blood present in external hemorrhoids pools and clot, they form thrombosed hemorrhoids. A tender and painful lump is among the typical markers of thrombosed hemorrhoids.
Anal Fissures Vs Hemorrhoids: Treatment And Complication
Anal fissures should heal on its own in less than six weeks. And hemorrhoids naturally resolve without medical intervention. Luckily, home treatments work on both conditions. Some tips you could do to manage pain include:
- Preventing constipation or passing of hard poop through a high-fibre diet
- Warm baths or sitz baths to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Over the counter laxative or stool softeners
- Topical cream to soothe the pain
- Use of wet wipes or moist cotton balls instead of regular tissue
As both conditions involve bleeding, they could put you at risk for iron deficiency anaemia. However, there is a higher chance of developing tissue ulceration and infection with hemorrhoids.
Anal Fissures Vs Hemorrhoids: Surgery Option
Most often, anal fissures and hemorrhoids only get problematic when they last longer than expected. And when home treatments do not work or pain and swelling become unbearable, the doctor may recommend surgical procedures. In anal fissures, surgically releasing the veins from pressure would resolve the problem. In contrast, rubber band ligation in hemorrhoids would cause the bulging veins to shrink in normal size. Or the physician could opt for sclerotherapy to shrink the vessels to normal.
Although each condition has different causes, both anal fissure and hemorrhoid heal spontaneously. Besides, home treatments work effectively in both situations. With these steps, you do not have to fear anal fissures or hemorrhoids when they appear. And amid their differences lies the common ground for natural remedies. Hence, next time you get these problems, know that you have ways to heal yourself before choosing to enter the examination room. You only need discipline and patience, and you should be back to your everyday life in no time.