Like other injuries, the signs that an anal fissure is healing are when it no longer bleeds or causes pain and when the wound starts to close. Anal fissures may heal at different rates depending on their type.

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An anal fissure is a crack, tear, or sore in the lining of the anus. Many of these fissures occur in people with constipation who pass hard or large stool, which tears the lining of the anus.

Some fissures heal independently with some lifestyle changes, while others need medical or surgical treatment.

Read on to learn about the signs that an anal fissure is healing, the stages of healing, treatments, and frequently asked questions.

Experiencing sharp anal pain is the most common symptom of anal fissures. People often describe this as passing razor blades or pieces of glass.

Throbbing and anal spasms typically follow this, which may last several minutes to hours after passing stool.

If a person experiences no discomfort during and after bowel movements, they may be in the process of healing or have already healed an anal fissure.

While not all fissures bleed, about 71.4% experience bleeding from anal fissures. They may see blood streaks on the stool or toilet paper. Additionally, blood may occasionally drip into the bowl.

A lack of bleeding may indicate that the wound has already closed, though this is still not a guarantee that the fissure has healed. Occasional constipation can cause chronic anal fissures to recur.

Itching can also be another sign that the anal fissure is healing. The skin typically itches as it heals. Inflammatory cells flood the wound site to eliminate bacteria and other infections.

All wounds close when they heal. Often, the scar of a healing fissure can lead to the development of skin tags. This may mean that having a skin tag indicates that the fissure is healing.

However, skin tags or sentinel piles commonly occur in people with persistent anal fissures. Some people report tenderness in the skin tag and feel it is the source of their pain.

A certain way to check for anal fissures is through a physical examination called a digital rectal exam. The doctor should be gentle but adequately spread the buttocks to see the wound.

Healthcare professionals may make a person bend over the exam table or lie on their side to make it easy for the doctor to inspect the anal fissure. It is crucial to minimize the physical manipulation of the anus or rectum to protect against worsening or creating an injury.

There are two types of anal fissures. Acute or short-term anal fissures last less than 6 weeks, while the persistent or chronic anal type last longer.

Acute anal fissures heal with home remedies in 1–2 weeks. About 40% of people with acute anal fissures will recur and progress to the chronic type.

Meanwhile, chronic anal fissures tend to have a cyclical nature and will typically heal and recur. However, around 35% of them temporarily heal on their own without treatment.

According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, complete healing of chronic anal fissures with medical or surgical treatment may take 6 to 12 weeks.

The initial management of anal fissures includes lifestyle changes, and the goal is to prevent their recurrence. Options for managing them include:

Learn more about ways to cure anal fissures permanently without surgery.

If these do not work, doctors may prescribe medications to combine with the lifestyle modifications, including:

If medications do not improve the condition, the doctor may recommend surgery. The gold standard surgery for chronic anal fissures is a lateral internal sphincterotomy, a surgical technique that aims to repair an anal fissure.

Below are some frequently asked questions about healing anal fissures.

How can I speed up the healing of a fissure?

People can speed up their fissure healing by using approaches to keep their stool soft. These include increasing fluid and fiber intake.

Sitz baths or soaking in warm water for 10–20 minutes after bowel movements can help ease discomfort and promote healing.

Certain medications, such as nitroglycerin, can help the fissure heal by increasing the blood supply to the area.

Do fissures itch when they are healing?

The wound may release a discharge as chronic anal fissures heal and reopen, which may cause anal itching.

Are fissures painful while healing?

Fissures are painful and can cause sharp pain during bowel movements. This can linger minutes to hours after passing stool.

However, fissures typically do not cause pain when a person is not passing a bowel movement. As the fissure heals, the pain should lessen or completely disappear.

Do fissures ever fully heal?

Most acute anal fissures heal within a few weeks, similar to other minor wounds or cuts. Even 35% of chronic anal fissures heal, even temporarily. However, it is not uncommon for a fully healed fissure to recur after another injury or hard bowel movement.

Anal fissures can be painful and uncomfortable but often heal independently with home remedies. Some signs that an anal fissure is healing include pain reduction, cessation of bleeding, and wound closure.

If a person’s anal fissure does not heal with home remedies or medications, individuals may consider surgery as an option to promote healing.