WHAT IS AN ANAL FISSURE
An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anal canal, adults may develop anal fissures as a result of passing hard or large stools during bowel movements, bowel spasms, injury or trauma to the area, straining in constipation (haemorrhoids) or as a secondary complaint of digestive disorders (Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, Colitis). In many people they will cause discomfort, itching or irritation of the anus, blood found in the stool, severe pain, burning or bleeding. Most acute fissures will heal on their own over a period of a couple of weeks, however if they become frequent or chronic it is advised to seek further treatment as infection can lead to other serious bowel conditions due to repeated injury to the site.
DIET TIPS FOR ANAL FISSURES
- Ensure adequate hydration to keep stools from drying out and hardening – at least 2 litres of water a day
- Begin each day with a warm glass of water with 1/2 lemon squeezed in it. Lemon has a particular benefit to the health of the bowel as it cleanses the walls and stimulates peristaltic action
- Reduce red meat/ connective tissue consumption as this slows down bowel transit time and increases the risk of complications
- Increase raw fruits and vegetables in the diet to encourage bowel movement, tonify the bowels and increase fibre. Fruits and vegetables which have a demulcent (soothing) effect on the bowels and improve digestion include papaya, bananas, pineapple, lemons, beetroots and apples
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR ANAL FISSURES
- Prevent constipation
- Please refrain from performing enemas or colonic irrigation while you have an acute fissure as it may cause further degradation of the tissue
- Avoid straining and pressure when moving your bowels and remember that exercise is a great way to move the bowel
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ANAL FISSURES
- Prevent constipation by using a stool softener such as Aloe Vera juice, slippery elm powder or oats (porridge)
- Ensure adequate fibre in the diet to encourage regular movement of the bowels. Psyllium husks may be taken with a large glass of water at night to encourage bowel movement and elimination of faeces in constipation. Please ensure that you are not dehydrated (drink plenty of water) if you decide to take psylllium
- Probiotics may help to recorrect and recolonise the bowels with healthy bacteria.
- To improve the integrity of the bowel walls and provide demulcent effects a combination of the following may be of benefit – Slippery elm powder, Zinc liquid, glutamine powder and Probiotic powder. Combine all in a small glass of water or apple juice and take twice/ day, 10 minutes before meals for a period of 3-4 months
- Aloe Vera juice may help to soften the stools, provide direct anti-inflammatory action to the tissues, soothe the tissue irritation and has a gentle laxative action
- Fish oil may help the bowels to stay moist and lubricated and also contain potent anti-inflammatory’s
- Improve liver and digestive function if these are a contributing factor with herbs such as St Marys, Dandelion, Bupleurum, Schizandra, Gentian, Meadowsweet, Cardamon, Agrimony, Golden Seal (wound healing), Cinnamon, Rhubarb and Atractylodes
- Topically you may like to apply an ointment to relieve itching and help the area to heal. Creams which contain the following may be of assistance – Arnica, Calendula, Golden Seal, Witch Hazel or Manuka honey
- Vitamin C and bioflavinoid powder as these anti-oxidants may help to encourage bowel movement, elimination of wastes, peristalsis, cleansing and anti-inflammatory effects
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