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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Anal Fissure - Brief Version

What is an anal fissure?

An anal fissure is a shallow tear or crack in the skin at the opening of the anus. If your child has blood in his bowel movement (BM), more than likely he has an anal fissure. Here are the signs:

  • The blood is bright red.
  • The blood is only a few streaks or flecks.
  • The blood is on the surface of the bowel movement (BM) or on the toilet paper after wiping.
  • Bleeding stops on its own in 5 or 10 minutes.

An anal fissure is an injury usually caused by your child passing a large or hard BM.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Give your child warm baths. Put about 2 tablespoons of table salt or baking soda in the tub. Give your child these baths about 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Use ointment. If the anus is irritated, it can help to put 1% hydrocortisone on three times a day. If your child is in pain, you can use 2.5% Xylocaine or 1% Nupercainal ointment three times a day. This will help numb the area. You can get these ointments at the drug store without a doctor's orders.
  • Give your child healthy foods. It can help to make sure your child eats more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and bran products. These foods can help prevent constipation. It may help to use less cheese and milk.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • The bleeding gets worse.
  • The bleeding happens more than twice after you start treatment.
  • You have other concerns or questions.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems