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Anal Fissure (Child)

The anal canal is the end portion of the intestinal tract. It includes the rectum and anus. Feces are passed through the anus. Sometimes a crack or tear develops in the lining of the anal canal. This condition is called an anal fissure.

An anal fissure may occur inside or outside the body. It may cause pain and bright red bleeding, especially during a bowel movement. Sometimes there is swelling, itching, and skin irritation. The area may spasm, causing more pain and skin separation. Anal fissures are caused by local trauma to the anal canal. This can be due to insertion of an object into the anal canal, or by constipation or severe diarrhea.

Anal fissures usually heal on their own and require no special care. Sometimes a cream is applied to soothe the area. Pain medications, stool softeners, and glycerin suppositories may be prescribed. Warm baths may relax the anus, making it easier to have a bowel movement. Once the area has healed, the doctor may want to check the intestinal tract with a small, flexible tube (endoscope). Occasionally a fissure does not heal on its own. In those rare cases, surgery is needed to close the tear.

Home Care:

Medications:  The doctor may prescribe a pain medication, stool softener, or laxative to make it easier for your child to have a bowel movement. Follow the doctor’s instructions when giving these medications to your child.

General Care:

  1. Feed your child fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure smooth bowel movements. Encourage your child to drink lots of water. If your child is often constipated, ask your healthcare provider about giving your child fiber supplements.

  2. Have your child soak in a warm bath prior to having a bowel movement. This will help relax the muscles and soothe any pain.

  3. Keep a careful record of when your child has a bowel movement and the type of feces that were passed. This may help your doctor determine future care for your child. Older children should be encouraged to keep their own record.

  4. Check your child’s anus for bleeding or signs of infection (see below).

Follow Up

as advised by the doctor or our staff.

Special Notes To Parents:

Wash your hands well with soap and warm water before and after caring for the fissure to avoid causing infection.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)

  • Signs of infection such as increased redness or swelling or foul-smelling drainage

  • Abnormal bowel patterns including constipation, hard stools, or explosive diarrhea

  • Continued rectal bleeding, pain, or itching


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