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Practice Healthy Bowel Habits

Healthy bowel habits can help reduce constipation and strain on the anal canal. Check these habits regularly to lower your risk of developing a painful anal fissure:

  • When using the bathroom, give yourself enough time to pass bowel movements comfortably. But don't sit on the toilet too long.
  • Don’t strain while passing stools.
  • Keep the anal area dry.
  • Be sure to gently clean yourself after each bowel movement.
  • Use soft, dye-free, and scent-free toilet paper or wipes.
  • Get treatment for ongoing diarrhea.

If you have other conditions that contribute to anal fissures -- like Crohn’s disease or IBS, for example -- stay on top of your treatment.

Ask Your Doctor About Laxatives

If adding fiber to your diet and taking fiber supplements are not enough to treat constipation, laxatives may help. Some laxatives work in different ways.

Considered the safest kind of laxative, bulk-forming laxatives, or fiber supplements, increase your stools by allowing them to absorb and hold fluid. They also encourage contractions in the colon to move stools along. Bulk-forming laxatives include calcium polycarbophil, psyllium, methylcellulose, or wheat dextrin. You take them with water.

Other types of laxatives can help your bowel movements more easily by:

  • increasing the amount of water in the intestines
  • lubricating stools so they can move more easily (mineral oil)
  • drawing or pulling water into the colon
  • stimulating the muscles in the intestines to speed up bowel movements

Be sure to ask your doctor to see which kind of laxative -- if any -- is right for you, and how long you should take it.

Frequent Diaper Changes for Infants

Anal fissures can occur in babies. Change your baby's diaper frequently and get medical help if she is showing any signs of constipation.