Anal Disorders: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool leaves the body. The anus starts at the bottom of the rectum and the anorectal line separates the anus from the rectum.

Updated: October 10, 2017

The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool leaves the body. The anus starts at the bottom of the rectum and the anorectal line separates the anus from the rectum.

Diagnosis of Anal Disorders:

Along with your symptoms you need to tell about your medical history and lifestyle to your doctor which will help in evaluating your anal problem.
You may be asked about:

  • Your medical history, including any history of bleeding disorders, episodes of rectal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, sexually transmitted diseases or radiation treatment for cancer
  • Your bowel habits, especially any history of constipation
  • Your use of prescription or nonprescription medications that may increase the risk of bleeding
  • Whether you practice anal intercourse or have any history of anal trauma

A physical examination of your abdomen, followed by an external examination of your anal area and a digital or finger rectal examination is performed by the doctor.
your doctor will also perform

  • Anoscopy : A tubelike instrument will be inserted into the anus to look inside the anal canal
  • Sigmoidoscopy :  A short telescope is used to examine the rectum and lower colon.

Treatment of Anal Disorders:

Once the diagnosis is made, your treatment may vary depending on the specific disorder.

Anal fissure:

For an acute fissure the aim is to  relieve constipation.  Medicated ointment can be applied to the fissure. The anal area can be soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day which is known as sitz bath.
For chronic fissures, surgery can be done to resolve the problem.

Anal abscess:

Incision and drainage can be done to  open the  anal abscess and drain the pus, if your abscess is close to the anal opening.

Anal fistula:

Surgery is the most effective way to unroof the fistula track. The infected canal will be opened by the doctor to scrapes away any remnants of the old anal abscess. The wound is left open to heal from the bottom up. If the fistula is associated with Crohn's disease, treatment is aimed to eliminate the Crohn's disease with anti-inflammatory medications combined with an antibiotic.

Hemorrhoid:

Usually this will slowly disappear on its own.  Fiber supplements can be taken to soften the stool which will help relieve pain. Sitz baths can also be recommended.  If the hemorrhoid is unusually painful, a small operation can be done under local anesthesia to remove the clotted hemorrhoid.
Almost all acute fissures heal quickly with traditional treatment and lifestyle changes. With surgery, almost all fistulas and chronic fissures can be resolved. Appropriate treatment of anal strictures will allow stool to pass easily and comfortably. Most anal abscesses heal after being drained by a doctor. Few of them will develop into anal fistulas. A fistulotomy will totally eliminate both the fistula and any remaining abscess in most patients, if a fistula is an obstruction in healing of an abscess.

Prevention of Anal Disorders:

You may be able to prevent anal fissures by preventing constipation. This can be done by adding more fiber to your diet, avoiding fatty foods and by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily which will help soften your stool.
Fiber supplement powders can also be taken for better result.
It is not always possible to prevent other types of anal disorders. But you may be able to decrease your risk for these disease by:

  • Keeping the anal area dry by using powder to absorb moisture.
  • Using gentle techniques to clean the anal area
  • Always using a condom if you practice anal intercourse
  • Not inserting any foreign object into the rectum


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