A crack or tear in the skin is known as fissures. They commonly occur in the anal canal and tend to cause bleeding. These might arise from passing hard, dry stool, or constipation. Fissures are a symptom of diseases like inflammatory bowel syndrome. These fissures heal within five to six weeks. During their active period, fissures might leave bloodstains on the undergarments. Fissures make passing stools very difficult and painful. It can occur in people of all ages. However, middle-aged adults and children commonly experience fissures.
Dietary and lifestyle changes may help reduce fissures. These changes may help reduce the symptoms. Some of these symptoms include pain and bleeding. Including certain foods in your diet can ease the symptoms and improve wound healing. However, seeking medical care would be a crucial step in treating fissures.
What Causes Fissures?
The primary cause of fissures is pressure on the anal muscles, which reduce the blood flow, leading to fissure development. In addition, research suggests that fissures occur due to stress or injury to the anal canal. The pressure on the anal muscles also prevents fissures from healing.
Some of the other causes of fissures are:
- Passing large stools
- Repeated diarrhoea
- Crohn’s disease
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Anal sexual intercourse
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Foods That Prevents Fissure
1. Fibre-Rich Foods
Research suggests that insoluble fibre help in constipation. Therefore, you should eat fibre-rich foods. However, taking adequate fluids with a fibre-rich diet is essential because fibre absorbs water and forms a soft gel. Adequate water consumption reduces the stools’ dryness and allows it to pass smoothly.
Each person’s fibre requirement can vary. Studies suggest that the adequate intake value for fibre is 14 grams per 1000kcals. However, it ranges between the following values:
- Men: 30-35grams
- Women: 25-35grams
Some common dietary fibre sources include beans, nuts, and potatoes.
# Whole Grains
Whole grains are known for their rich fibre content. Lack of fibre in the diet tends to cause constipation. Whole grains softens the stools, absorb fluids and increase the weight of stools. Additionally, it reduces the time needed for the passage of the stool through the intestines. As a result, it helps improve constipation.
Studies suggest that whole grains might reduce constipation. Hence, they help reduce the risk of anal fissures. Whole grains include:
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
Oats have several benefits in bowel diseases. For example, oats help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, they potentially prevent inflammatory bowel disease, the primary cause of anal fissures. Since oats are gluten-free, they prevent inflammation in people with a sensitive gut.
Studies suggest that oatmeal increases stool weight. As a result, it helps prevent constipation. Furthermore, oatmeal reduces other bowel disease-related symptoms like gas and stomach discomfort.
# Brown Rice
Studies demonstrate the positive role of brown rice in treating constipation. Brown rice is rich in dietary fibre due to its unpolished outer layer. In addition, the fibre helps improve bowel movements and assist in preventing and treating fissures.
Fruits have reasonable amounts of fibre, making them suitable for preventing constipation. In addition, some fruit juices can be beneficial as they contain phytochemicals and sorbitol. Studies suggest that fruit juices are effective in reducing constipation. It is particularly true in infants. Juices of apple, pear and prunes are effective. Other fruits that reduce constipation include:
- Dry figs
# Green Kiwi
Green kiwi is a rich source of dietary fibre. Additionally, it contains Actinidine. Studies suggest that it is an enzyme that triggers bowel movements. So, the fibre-rich properties and Actinidine in green kiwi makes it an excellent fruit to treat fissures.
One hundred grams of green kiwi contains:
- Calories: 61kcals
- Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 14.7g
- Dietary fibre: 3g
- Protein: 1.1g
- Potassium: 312 mg
- Magnesium: 17 mg
Prunes or dried plums are also rich in fibre, fructose and sorbitol. In addition, prunes have phenolic substances; neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid. Studies suggest that these substances show a laxative effect. Therefore, they contribute to better bowel movements. In addition, by reducing constipation, they prevent the worsening of fissures.
One hundred grams of prunes contain:
- Calories: 240kcals
- Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 63.9g
- Dietary fibre: 7.1g
- Protein: 2.1g
- Potassium: 732mg
- Magnesium: 41mg
Legumes are rich in fibre as well. They can benefit when you take them with sufficient fluids. Studies show that legumes help improve constipation. The fibre in legumes gets fermented by the gut bacteria and produces short-chain fatty acids. The release of gases causes the stools to draw water. Therefore, the stools become soft and pass easily.
Soaked legumes could improve zinc absorption. Other legumes like lentils and beans are also rich in fibre. Hence, they can soften stool and prevent fissures.
Some of the legumes are:
It is an excellent source of zinc. Studies suggest that zinc helps in the improvement of wounds. Therefore, it also improves the healing of fissures. However, the mechanism is still unclear. In addition, chickpea also contains vitamin C, which promotes collagen synthesis.
One hundred grams of chickpea contains:
- Calories: 378 kcals
- Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 63 g
- Dietary fibre: 12.2 g
- Protein: 20.5 g
- Vitamin C: 4 mg
- Potassium: 718 mg
- Magnesium: 79 mg
Vegetables are an essential source of fibre and antioxidants, which can play a critical role in the prevention of fissures. In addition, most vegetables are rich in vitamin A, C, zinc, and other nutrients to benefit you in several ways. Hence, most vegetables help reduce fissures. Vegetables rich in insoluble fibre include:
- Green beans
Tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants and fibre. In addition, they contain a compound called naringenin. Studies suggest that naringenin has antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it helps reduce the severity of inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, it also helps prevent colorectal cancer. These diseases can cause fissures. Additionally, vitamin C in tomatoes promotes collagen formation. Hence, they help heal and prevent fissures.
One hundred grams of tomatoes contain
- Calories: 18 kcals
- Fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.8 g
- Dietary fibre: 1.2 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Vitamin C: 13.7 mg
- Potassium: 237 mg
- Magnesium: 11 mg
Turmeric is known for its medicinal properties. It has an active ingredient called curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that it can be beneficial in treating inflammatory bowel disease and preventing infections. However, it is not advisable to use turmeric on the wound. You can orally consume turmeric in a minimal amount because an excess intake can be harmful. You should add a pinch to your milk or food to reap its benefits.
One hundred grams of turmeric contains:
- Calories: 312 kcals
- Fat: 3.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 67 g
- Dietary fibre: 22.7 g
- Protein: 9.7 g
- Iron: 55 mg
- Potassium: 2080 mg
- Magnesium: 208 mg
- Sodium: 27 mg
Probiotics have several health benefits. For example, they increase the number of friendly bacteria in the gut, thus improving overall gut health. In addition, they ferment fibre in foods to release gases, called short-chain fatty acids, beneficial for the body.
Probiotics also prevent infection and inflammation. In addition, studies suggest that probiotics improve immune response. Therefore, they tend to promote wound healing. They also help in the absorption of nutrients needed for wound healing. Probiotic foods include:
1. Curd and Yoghurt
Curd is a fermented food that protects the digestive tract and maintains a healthy gut. They contain gut-friendly bacteria. Additionally, they improve immunity and protect the body from infections. Therefore, they have beneficial effects on the body. Studies suggest that they can also improve inflammation and wound healing.
One hundred grams of curd contains
- Calories: 98kcals
- Fat: 4.3g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Protein: 11.1g
- Sodium: 315mg
- Calcium: 83mg
- Potassium: 104mg
- Magnesium: 8mg
2. Lemon Juice
Lemons and other citrus fruits are full of vitamin C. You can get up to 21% of the DV of vitamin C from one lemon juice. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. As per studies, collagen synthesis is an essential step in wound healing, which helps speed up the wound healing process in fissures. The antioxidant property can also help control inflammation and tame down the flare-ups.
Citrus fruits are also rich in fibre, which helps add bulk to the stool. As a result, they enable easy bowel movement, improve constipation and prevent the fissures from getting worse.
One hundred ml of lemon juice contains:
- Calories: 30kcals
- Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Dietary fibre: 2.8g
- Protein: 0.7g
- Vitamin C: 29.1mg
- Potassium: 102mg
- Calcium: 33mg
- Magnesium: 6mg
Bananas are a good source of fibre, making them suitable for improving constipation. In addition, they prevent the worsening of fissures by softening stools. Bananas also act as food to the good bacteria in the gut. Therefore, they protect against infections by killing pathogens.
One hundred grams of bananas contain:
- Calories: 89kcals
- Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Dietary fibre: 2.6g
- Protein: 1.1g
- Vitamin C: 8.7mg
- Potassium: 358mg
- Magnesium: 27mg
Papayas are great for digestion because they contain enzymes that help improve digestion. One of the enzymes is papain, which helps eliminate toxins and breaks down the proteins for better absorption. Breakdown of proteins into smaller amino acids allows easy digestion. Papayas also have many antiseptic properties, beneficial for the injured area. In addition, they also promote a healthy gut.
According to research, people use papaya to make a supplement called Caricol, which helps improve constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Papayas are also 88% water, making them quite hydrating. As a result, it can prevent dry stool, which is usually associated with dehydration. Passing dry stool can worsen the fissures and even cause bleeding.
One hundred grams of papaya contains:
- Calories: 43kcals
- Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Protein: 0.5g
- Vitamin C: 60.9mg
- Magnesium: 21mg
- Potassium: 182mg
- Calcium: 20mg
- Iron: 0.2mg
- Sodium: 8mg
People worldwide use ghee as a DIY, Ayurvedic treatment for many health issues. Similarly, you can use ghee to heal fissures or ease out the symptoms. Ghee contains butyrate acid, a fatty acid that helps improve digestive health. Ghee also helps prevent many gastric disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhoea. In addition, ghee is a natural laxative that helps deal with constipation and ensures smooth bowel movements.
If you are not lactose intolerant, milk can be a great dietary supplement to deal with constipation. People often use it alongside ghee to improve gastric distress. In addition, milk has many fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. However, you should be careful with its use because it can lead to constipation, in some cases like pregnancy. In addition, if you are hypersensitive to milk proteins, it can even lead to fissures.
One hundred ml of milk contains:
- Calories: 50kcals
- Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 5g
- Protein: 3.3g
- Calcium: 120mg
- Potassium: 140mg
- Magnesium: 11mg
- Sodium: 47mg
Foods That Worsen Fissures
Certain foods can worsen fissures as they are generally harmful to gut health.
Research suggests that sugar interacts with good bacteria in our gut and disturbs the balance of gut microflora. As a result, it increases inflammation and gut permeability, meaning that the protection against pathogens reduces. Therefore, too much sugar consumption during fissures increases the chance of infections.
White Flour, Fast Foods and Processed foods
Processed and refined foods alter the gut microflora. High intake of these foods can also interfere with immune responses and trigger inflammation in the body. Studies suggest that it could worsen diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Furthermore, weakened immunity increases the risk of infections.
Alcohol and Spicy Foods
Alcoholic beverages and spicy foods exacerbate the symptoms of bowel diseases. For example, a study found that spices and alcohol worsen constipation. Hence, they increase the risk of anal bleeding. Therefore, people suffering from fissures, constipation, and haemorrhoids should refrain from consuming these foods and beverages.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Treat Fissures
Besides making dietary changes, you can follow simple lifestyle habits to ease the fissures’ symptoms and pain.
Staying hydrated might reduce the risk of constipation. Drinking enough fluids will help soften the stools. Therefore, making them much easier to pass. But you should be mindful of what beverage you are including. Certain sugary or carbonated drinks are not the best option. Instead, you can increase your water intake. In addition, you can have fresh juices and lemonade. Avoid processed and aerated drinks.
Regular physical activity and exercise are beneficial to your body in so many ways. Similarly, exercise helps relieve fissures. Therefore, you should start light physical activities. However, avoid heavy and extensive exercises because the friction of clothing worsens fissures. So, stay active by doing simple activities. It can be as simple as walking.
Healthy Bowel Habits
If you feel the urge to use the toilet, do not resist it. Trying to control bowel movements can strain the anal canal. Similarly, holding the stools in can make it difficult to pass them later. Not passing stools for long periods causes drying, making the stools hard. Ultimately, it leads to worsening constipation, which can worsen anal fissures.
Consult Your Physician
It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional if fissures don’t resolve quickly. If you experience pain or bleeding, it is vital to seek medical help immediately because not treating fissures may worsen its symptoms.
Warm Dip Baths
You can try a warm sitz bath without using any soaps. Soaking in warm water eases inflammation and reduces pain. You can use any shallow tub to take a sitz bath. Ensure that the tub is clean beforehand. However, if you have severe bleeding or pain, it is advisable to consult a doctor before trying this.
Although the primary cause for anal fissures is constipation, it may occur due to other bowel diseases. Therefore, relieving constipation makes the healing process easier. It is essential to include good amounts of insoluble fibres in your diet because it helps treat constipation. Remember that prolonged constipation worsens fissures. Therefore, incorporate some dietary and lifestyle changes into your life.
Foods that help heal fissures include curd, beans, green kiwi, tomatoes etc. Furthermore, it is also essential to avoid certain foods. That is because refined sugar, specific flours, alcohol, and spice tend to cause inflammation. In addition, other lifestyle changes can also help. However, you should consult a physician when you experience fissures.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What should not eat in a fissure?
A. One of the primary food categories to avoid during fissures are spicy foods because they cause burning sensations and worsen the symptoms. In addition, you should restrict the consumption of fast food, processed food, white flour, sugary foods, and alcohol. These foods and beverages are harmful to gut health. It’s also a good idea to avoid red meat, cheese, and other constipating foods.
Q. What is the fastest way to heal a fissure?
A. Healing time for fissures is different for everyone as it depends on the severity of the condition. However, adding more fibre to your diet is a natural way to heal fissures quickly. You should eat up to 25-30 grams of fibre daily. You could also heal fissures by enriching your diet with fibre supplements and drinking more water.
Q. Is banana good for fissures?
A. Yes. Bananas are a good source of fibre, which softens the stool and prevents the worsening of fissures. In addition, bananas also act as food to the beneficial gut bacteria, which enhance protection against fissure infections by killing pathogens. Furthermore, bananas can be a good option for curing fissures naturally due to their laxative effect.
Q. Can I drink milk in fissure?
A. Yes, you can drink milk if you’re not lactose intolerant. Ayurvedic medicine uses milk to treat fissures. In addition, milk and ghee are an excellent combination to deal with constipation associated with fissures. Moreover, the fatty acids present in milk helps reduce inflammation. However, lactose intolerant people and pregnant women should avoid milk as it can be counterproductive.
Q. Is Egg good for fissure?
A. Yes. As a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, egg yolk can cure an acute anal fissure more efficiently than nitroglycerin ointment. Not only does it heal the anal fissures better, but also it acts more rapidly.
Q. Can I eat rice in fissure?
A. You should eat brown rice and avoid white rice. Thar is because brown rice has a healthy portion of dietary fibre, essential during fissure. In contrast, white rice is processed, and its natural fibre is stripped off. Therefore, to treat mild fissures, you should supplement your diet with brown rice and other types of whole grains.
Q. Can I eat potato in a fissure?
A. Potatoes, cooked explicitly with their skin, contain insoluble fibre. Therefore, it boosts your fibre intake and helps relieve constipation by easing bowel movements. A healthy and strain-free bowel movement aids in curing fissures. Moreover, the flavonoids present in potatoes could also control bleeding caused by fissures.
Q. Is Turmeric good for fissures?
A. Yes, turmeric is a good choice for treating fissures. Most home remedies for fissure contain turmeric due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It could also prevent possible infections triggered by fissures. You can apply it topically to prompt fissure healing. However, do not follow this if the wound is deep. You can also try adding a pinch of turmeric to your milk or food for calming anal inflammation.
Q. Can I eat peanuts in fissure?
A. All types of fibrous foods are ideal for curing fissures. For example, peanuts are a good source of fibre and smoothen bowel movement. It, in turn, reduces the strain that causes fissures. They also contain zinc, which improves wound healing. Moreover, peanuts have anti-inflammatory properties which can minimise tissue swelling in the anal region.
Q. Is fasting good for fissures?
A. No. The best way to cure fissures is by eating a balanced diet rich in fibre. In addition, it is essential to drink plenty of water and eat more fruits and vegetables. Fasting worsens the condition by causing constipation, aggravating the existing inflammation and possibly causing bleeding. Therefore, focus more on fibre and fluids rather than fasting.