Sometimes they can be confused with piles / hemorrhoids as the sensation of pain is the same. Indeed they are likely to be the result of have severe internal piles at some point. The piles cause you to strain your bowel movement resulting in a small tear in the wall lining of the anus. This can leave the sufferer in severe pain.
They are also often misdiagnosed by doctors as piles. The problem is the treatment of piles and anal fissures are different. Indeed the prolonged use of suppositories to prevent the misdiagnosed piles can weaken the anal skin resulting in the creation of the later.
They can result in very sharp and severe pain in or around the anus. Commonly the pain occurs during or shortly after a stool movement. From experience it can feel like the passing of razor blades, and can also appear at any other times such as after prolonged sitting down.
They can develop into sentinel piles whereby a little tag of skin develops on the outside edge of the anus where the fissures occurs. This can result in seeing vivid bright red blood on the toilet paper or in your passed stools. Whilst often caused by piles they fissures are not actually piles.
Most occur in line with the cleft of the buttocks. However it is not uncommon at all for them occur at sides of the anus. Similar feeling to being sat on a golf ball constantly.
They occur most commonly in young adults unlike piles which appear mainly in older people.
Causes of anal fissures?
Often there is no cause found for them. However they are linked to piles and constipation, both of which can cause straining and this tearing the skin inside the anus.
Your anus has two muscles in it to control the passing of stools, alas you only control the outer muscle not the inner one. Thus when a one occurs in the inner muscle it goes into spasm raising the pressure making you feel like you need to pass a stool when you do not. Due to the pain the muscle then tenses more, raising pressure in the anus.
The increased pressure makes it harder still to pass stools, thus the feeling of constipation increases making things worse.
Acute & Chronic Anal Fissures
An acute fissure is one that has occurred quite recently. A chronic fissure is one that has occurred some time ago but failed to heal.
If you have the above symptoms that do not improve within a few weeks, see your GP immediately to eliminate other conditions. For note this will include a bowel examination but if this helps get rid of the pain then believe me it is worth it!
For more advice on anal fissures, hemorrhoids and piles visit my site on treating piles.