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Tips for Preventing Anal Fissures

An anal fissure is a tear in the delicate tissue that lines the anal canal. They typically cause bleeding and severe pain for people who have them. Once you suffer from an anal fissure, you’ll certainly want to avoid getting another. Here is a list of simple steps you can take to escape the pain of having an anal fissure.

Get Plenty of Fiber

Passing large, hard, or dry stools due to constipation can result in an anal fissure. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet -- especially from fruits and vegetables -- can help prevent constipation.

Aim to consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. To avoid bloating and gas, increase your fiber intake gradually until you notice softer, more frequent bowel movements. Also, be sure to drink plenty of liquids when increasing fiber.

Foods that are good sources of fiber include:

  • wheat bran
  • oat bran
  • whole grains, including brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, and whole-grain pastas, cereals, and breads
  • peas and beans
  • seeds and nuts
  • citrus fruits
  • prunes and prune juice

If you can’t get enough fiber through you diet, try fiber supplements. To avoid gas and cramping, work your way up to the recommended dose over a few days and be sure to take fiber supplements with plenty of liquids.

Stay Hydrated

Avoiding dehydration is important for avoiding constipation. Drinking plenty of liquids adds fluid to your system, which can make stools softer and easier to pass. Be sure to increase your fluid intake even more as the temperature rises or as you become more physically active.

Not all beverages are recommended for preventing dehydration. Excessive alcohol consumption can actually contribute to dehydration. Also, although a caffeinated beverage may help stimulate your bowels, drinking too much caffeine can also lead to dehydration.

Exercise

One of the most common causes of constipation is a lack of exercise and physical activity. Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, or 150 minutes a week, to help keep your digestive system moving and in good shape.  

Don't Ignore Your Urge to Go

If your body tells you that it's time to have a bowel movement, don't put it off for later. Waiting too long and too often can weaken the signals that let you know it's time to go. The longer you hold stool, the dryer and harder it can get, which makes it more difficult to pass.

Practice Healthy Bowel Habits

Healthy bowel habits can help reduce constipation and strain on the anal canal. Perform 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 prolonged diarrhea.

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

WebMD Medical Reference

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