Using a Rectal Dilator for Fissure Treatment
If you're experiencing the pain and bleeding that can come with an anal fissure, you're probably interested in doing what you can to take care of the problem. Your doctor might suggest trying rectal dilation as part of your self-care regimen.
This is a simple procedure that you may be able to do at home a few times a day. When you use a rectal dilator for fissure care as part of a larger treatment plan, you may notice that your anorectal symptoms like pain and bleeding begin to improve.
What Is an Anal Fissure?
The tissue of the anal canal is rather soft and thin. Irritation from hard stools, diarrhea, or other colorectal irregularities can damage this tissue and cause it to tear. These tears are known as fissures.
Anal fissures can be quite painful, especially after a bowel movement. Some people also experience bleeding or rectal spasms.
Learn more about anal fissures in the following video:
How Dilation Can Benefit Fissure Patients
Although fissures may resolve on their own, it's a good idea to take careful steps in an attempt to promote their healing. A fissure that becomes chronic may eventually require surgical intervention, so it's best to encourage healing before the problem reaches that point.
Anal dilation is a process of using cylindrical tools of increasing diameters to open up the anal passage and gradually stretch its size. Alternatively, a doctor may expand the tissue by inserting multiple fingers during an in-office procedure, but anal dilators provide a gentle means for patients to carry out this method at home.
Excessive tightness of the anal canal may contribute to the development of fissures. The purpose of rectal dilationin fissure patients, therefore, is to try to cut down on the pressure that's inside the anal canal. With less pressure on the tissue, the fissure may have a better chance of thoroughly healing.
Possible Effects of Dilation on Fissure Symptoms
Although using a rectal dilator for fissure care is a conservative, non-surgical intervention, some studies have indicated that it can be a beneficial addition to the treatment process.
In one study, researchers followed up with 162 hemorrhoid or fissure patients up to three years after attempts to mitigate their colorectal symptoms through dilation. 83 percent of the participants noted a reduction in their symptoms shortly after trying dilation.
After dilation, just 7 percent of the fissure patients required hospital care for their conditions. 90 percent did not need to remain under a doctor's care for their problems.
In another study, using rectal dilators appeared to help with resolving symptoms for 60 percent of the fissure sufferers who tried it. After six months, these people reported less pain and bleeding than they had before dilation.
Another study examined whether glyceryl trinitrate ointment would be more effective in the treatment of fissures if the ointment were paired with dilation. Although the group that used dilators received ointment with a lower concentration of the active ingredient, its members had more successful results.
After seven weeks, the fissures appeared to be healed in over 86 percent of the group with dilators. Only about 73 percent of the non-dilator group could say the same.
In the glyceral trinitrate study, the patients were given dilators designed specifically for cryothermal use. The researchers did not study whether the cold contributed to the method's effectiveness, but those intrigued by the results might be interested to know that Dilatan dilators can be chilled to provide cold therapy.
Dilation as Part of a Larger Treatment Plan
Keep in mind that rectal dilation is not considered a cure for anal fissures. Rather, this is a therapy method that may complement the treatments provided by your doctor. The goal of dilation is not to cure the tears but to reduce pressure inside the rectal passage in an attempt to allow healing to take place.
In addition to dilation, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments. Noninvasive steps in the healing process may include:
If anal fissures continue to be a chronic problem, more intense therapies may be required. These can include Botox injections or oral medications. Barring success with noninvasive procedures, surgery may eventually be required.
Whichever care methods your doctor suggests for your anal fissures, rectal dilation may be a valuable part of your treatment process. By reducing tightness and pressure in your rectum, dilation may help to set the stage for proper healing.
To find a doctor who recommends Dilatan dilators, use our online provider finder.
As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.