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Home > Health Hub > Article > How to Distinguish between Fissure and Fistula?

How to Distinguish between Fissure and Fistula?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Apr 22, 2019

   3 min     


Some people think that fissure and fistula are the same thing, but actually, they are not. Fissure is defined as the tear of the skin and fistula is defined as the abnormal tube-like connections between organs. Fissures get cured in a few days or weeks, with or without treatment and do not lead to complications while fistulas, when left untreated, may lead to complications.

Read further if you want to know more about their symptoms and available treatment.

What is anal fissure?

An anal fissure is usually caused because of regular constipation or strained bowel movements that tear down the muscles controlling the sphincters to the inner rectum or the anal canal. It can occur due to various reasons such as prolonged diarrhea, anal sex, vaginal childbirth, and rectum cancer.   

It is very common during infancy, but older people can also get anal fissures due to decreased blood flow in the anorectal area.

What is anal fistula?

Anal fistulas are abnormal abscesses near the anus which are filled with pus, and they form a tunnel under the skin which connects these abscesses to the infected glands. Fistulas are usually caused because of present or previous abscesses, and if left untreated they can lead to the development of a more complex fistula, where the single fistula tract ends up creating multiple openings.

What are the Symptoms of anal fissure and anal fistula?

Here are some common symptoms of anal fissure such as acute pain in the anal area every time the bowel movement occurs, constant itching and burning sensation around and in the anus, bloody stool and visible tears and cracks around the anus.

The symptoms of anal fistula are a throbbing pain in the anus, which continues to increase, difficulty in sitting down for a long time, swelling and redness around the anus, skin irritation, discharge of blood and pus and sometimes fever also.

What are the treatment options available for anal fissure and anal fistula?

There are various surgical options that are very effective and completely cures anal fissure and anal fistula. If diagnosed earlier, it can also be treated by medications like antibiotics, analgesics, and antipyretics. Its treatment depends on the location, type, and size or severity of the fistula or fissure and the treatment vary from person to person and so the recovery time.

Here is something that you can do at home to manage its symptoms:

  • Drink more fluids
  • Eat more fibrous foods such as raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use stool softeners
  • Take a sitz bath to relax the anal muscles, relieve irritation and increase blood flow to the anorectal area.
  • Use ointment to promote blood flow to the area and cream to help with inflammation.
  • Apply topical pain relievers to ease discomfort

Though these conditions cannot be treated with dietary changes or exercise, following a healthy diet can boost healthy bowel movement and also reduces chances of constipation or diarrhea that results in fissures.

As we all have heard, prevention is better than cure. So it is necessary that you visit the nearest doctor once you notice any symptoms of fissure or fistula to get the right treatment and get relief from the symptoms quickly. In case you have any query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!


Anal fissures and anal fistula causes sharp pain and a small amount of blood with bowel movements. It left untreated they can cause chronic infection. Some conditions associated with anal fissures include inflammatory bowel disease, local cancers, previous anal surgeries, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Tags:  Anal fissures ,Crohn’s Disease ,Symptoms of an Anal Fissure,Ayurvedic Treatments for Anal Fissures,ayurvedic medicine,

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