Symptoms of an anal fissure are similar to those of other more serious conditions. Therefore, you should see a doctor if you have these symptoms.
- Pain during and after a bowel movement
- Burning sensation during a bowel movement
- Bleeding with bowel movements
- Bright red blood either on the toilet tissue or in the bowl
- Itching of the anus
- Small amount of mucus on the stool
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. There will be a physical exam as well. The anal area will also be examined, which involves the following:
- The doctor will hold the buttocks apart. This will usually turns the anus outward enough for tears to become visible.
- If fissures have persisted for three months or more, additional changes may be seen. These changes may include a sentinel tag or "pile," granulation tissue, or white discoloration from scar tissue around the fissure.
If pain permits, the doctor may perform:
- Digital rectal exam—doctor inserts a lubricated finger into the anus and feels for lumps or abnormalities
- Anoscopy—a tool is inserted in the anus to allow the doctor to examine the anal canal
Fissures usually occur in predictable locations around the anus. If there are multiple cuts, or a cut in an unusual location, the doctor may order additional tests to look for other conditions.