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Is It Fissure Or Fistula? Don't Get Confused!

Dr. Sourabh Aggarwal 87% (72 ratings)
MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Sri Ganganagar  •  8 years experience
Is It Fissure Or Fistula? Don't Get Confused!

If you think fissure and fistula are the same, you are mistaken. While the term fissure refers to the tear of the skin, fistula refers to the abnormal tube-like passages or connections between organs. Fissures get cured with or without treatment in a few days to few weeks, and do not lead to complications. On the contrary, fistulas when left untreated may lead to complications.

So, read on further to know about the distinction, how to recognize the symptoms and avail treatment.

What is anal fissure?
An anal fissure can occur due to various reason, such as prolonged diarrhea, anal sex, vaginal childbirth, rectum cancer, etc. For majority of the cases, it is usually due to constant constipation or strained bowel movements, that tear down the muscles controlling the sphincters to the inner rectum or the anal canal.

What is anal fistula?
Anal fistulas are not tears but abnormal abscesses near the anus, filled with pus. In fistula, a tunnel is formed under the skin which connects these abscesses to the infected glands. Fistulas are usually the results of present or previous abscesses. If ignored or left untreated, one single fistula can lead to the development of a more complex fistula, where the single fistula tract ends up creating multiple openings.

Symptoms of anal fissure and anal fistula
Some of the common symptoms of an anal fissure are excruciating pain in the anal area every time the bowel movement occurs, constant itching or burning sensation in and around the anus, bloody stool and visible tears and cracks around the anus.

For anal fistula, some of the very common symptoms are a throbbing pain in the anus, which continues to increase, difficulty in sitting down for longer period, swelling and redness around the anus, accompanied by skin irritation, discharge of blood and pus, and at times fever.

Treatment options
To completely cure anal fissure and fistula, it is the various surgical options that are the most effective ones. However, when diagnosed in its earliest form, medications like antibiotics, analgesics, and antipyretics can often help. It is solely depending on the location, type, and size or severity of the fistula or fissure, the treatments may vary from person to person and so does the recovery time.

Though, these conditions cannot be cured with dietary changes or exercise, following a healthy diet can boost healthy bowel movement, reducing chances of constipation or diarrhea that results in fissures.
Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, it is essential that you visit the nearest medical facilities once you notice any signs of fissure or fistula , to avail the right treatment and get relief from the symptoms quickly.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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