It was about 2 weeks after I gave birth to my one and only child that I first experienced the pain. At first I declared it hemorrhoids, being a nurse and all. However it proved to be much worse. Many baths later......and heightened pain.....
At my six week post-partum check-up, I explained to my doctor the symptoms. After a brief exam, declared that it was a fissure. First he prescribed nitro ointment, which actually frightened me knowing the side-effects, especially since I had planned to breastfeed for at least one full year, but I was in such pure misery that I gave it a go. After nearly passing out (yes I used only a small amount) with my new baby in hand, I thought I better call the doctor back and let him know that this might not be the best option for me. It did not lessen the pain. I actually tried it twice, out of desperation. My doctor referred me to a surgeon.
The surgeon agreed that it was a fissure (what a brilliant guy) and we discussed the nitro ointment and how I was affected. I asked if it was safe for breastfeeding mom, he stated that the research was not conclusive. He gave me 2 dilators, no meds and said to come back in 6 weeks.
The dilators were to be used daily..two to three times. They hurt like hell but were supposed to stop the spasms to allow the tissue to heal. It helped a little bit. ( I must add that I eat mostly vegetarian, and that eating a large amount of fiber has never been difficult for me, so I really changed nothing.) I have always had at least one bowel movement a day, which seemed to make my life worse. I did avoid cranberries, like one of your mailers had suggested.
The baths did not help much. I really dreaded everyday. I was in so much pain that I could hardly function. I cried with each and every bowel movement.
I went back to the doctor and he said I was well on my way to healing, but that if it wasn't better in a couple months, we would talk about Bo-tox injections. I still felt terrible.
What I did decide to do was to add a more natural component...after each bowel movement I broke a peice of my aloe vera plant off and put the "juice" directly on the wound...after I put a hot compress over it to clean it off and to soothe the area. Also I used this particular toilet paper called Purely Cotton, you can find it in most grocery stores....a Godsent.
I first fed my daughter solid food at age 9 months, until then she was purely breastfed. It seemed that once she started eating regular food, the healing process sped up, almost as if a component of this fissre was hormonal. In a couple weeks I had no more pain. I thought it was a fluke and said nothing, but weeks went by and it only improved. I continued to use the same steps, only the first thing to go were those darn dilators.
I am happy to report that I have not had a reoccurence in 10 months now. My tissue seems to be in good shape too. It took me a while to gain control over it, but as I found things worked for me, I just went with it. Hope this helps someone.
I am happy to report 10 months of fissure freedom!