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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 stool, 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 stool or on the toilet paper after wiping.
  • Bleeding stops on its own in a few minutes.
  • Passing a BM usually causes pain.

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

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 3 times a day. If your child is in pain, you can use 2.5% Xylocaine or pramoxine a few times to numb the area. You can get these ointments at the drug store without a prescription.
  • 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. Make sure your child drinks lots of water. It may help to use less cheese and milk.

Fissures heal quickly, usually in 1 or 2 days.

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 Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2018.1 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2009-08-13
Last reviewed: 2017-06-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2018 Barton D. Schmitt, MD FAAP. All rights reserved.
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