About five months ago, I was diagnosed as having an anal fissure. This came to me completely out of the blue -- I have never suffered from hemorrhoids, and have never had constipation problems. But this relatively encouraging history did not prevent me from going through a most painful month and a half. I have never suffered such intense pain for so long a time, and after reading the other testimonies on your site, I can only say that the vivid descriptions of "razor blades going through your rectum" are completely realistic, and if I had not gone through the experience myself, I wouldn't have believed that a person can suffer so much pain and not pass out. Because that was what I was hoping for myself -- that I would faint from the pain so I wouldn't have to feel it.
I am writing to express my gratitude for your page. Although I had to make the final decision about what to do according to my own instincts (too many suggestions on the page with too many conflicting testimonies), the fact that I could have access to first-hand experiences encouraged me. The page is well organized, and contains a lot of pertinent information. I also feel it is my duty to contribute my two cents, because this is indeed a traumatic experience, and if my letter helps someone, then it's worth it.
In short, after over a month of terrible pain, and the loss of ability to work, I was faced with three options:
The last two options scared me a lot. I am generally healthy, and have never had an operation, or a procedure done to me that included some sort of anasthetic (except for dental work). I started doing option (1), the alternative treatment, but I had hardly any ability left to suffer pain, so I decided to schedule myself for an anal dilation. I knew that I would not be able to stand more than one more week of pain, and if the alternative treatment didn't work, I would have to have another option ready. At the same time, I decided to stop eating solid foods altogether -- I just couldn't face going to the bathroom anymore. Actually, it wasn't the pain during the bowel movement that was bad (THAT was bearable) -- what was terrible was that the real pain started about two hours after the bowel movement, and continued for about seven hours each time. Pain killers were useless. The only thing that helped a bit was strongly contracting my anal muscles the second I felt the pain coming on.
For a week, I drank only juices and some soup, a bit of honey and/or molasses. I lost over 10 kilos during this month and a half. I preferred this to the agony of a bowel movement. I don't understand why some have posted that it's important to keep eating -- for me it was a simple formula : less intake of solid foods equals less pain.
After six days of doing the alternative treatments, and seeing that there was no improvement whatsoever, I realized that I would have to try the dilation.
The day of the anal dilation came -- I was full of anxiety. Other than the doctor's reassuring words, and whatever I had read on the web (good AND bad), I had no idea what was waiting for me -- I didn't personally know anyone who had done this procedure. The doctor (an expert surgeon) told me that his being a surgeon notwithstanding, he is conservative in his work, and only does surgery as a last resort. Hence his recommendation for an anal dilation.
What can I say? This procedure worked like a magic wand. After being sedated, I woke up after less than half an hour -- the procedure itself took a few minutes. The next day or two the place was a bit sore (although I didn't have to take painkillers), and I was still too frightened to commence eating again. But after another four days of fasting (no solid foods), I went back to slowly eating normally. My first bowel movement after that was painless, and no pain ensued after that. I felt like I was born again.
Over four months later, I have not had a single painful bowel movement, and other than an occasional very tiny pain, which seems as though it is the remnant of the fissure on the sphincter, like after a small cut has healed, I have had no problems.
I suppose the surgeon who performed the dilation worked gently and knew what he was doing, otherwise I can't understand the bad rating this procedure has received in various forums and sites I came across. I would recommend this without a doubt, and I am sorry no one (I mean no doctor) suggested this to me a month earlier.
Thanks again, and good luck to anyone who is reading this while suffering from a fissure...