Anal fissure ointment is a common treatment for rectal tears also known as anal fissures. There is more than one type of fissure ointment available. Nitroglycerin ointment is a popular variety, but ointments containing zinc oxide or hydrocortisone also can be used.
Constipation, hard stool and chronic diarrhea are some of the most common causes of anal fissures. A person suffering from an anal fissure may experience pain with bowel movements and also may notice blood in his or her stool. A sufferer of rectal pain or bleeding should be checked by a doctor to confirm that he or she has an anal fissure. Self-diagnosing is not recommended because, in rare cases, there can be a more serious underlying condition involved.
Time will heal the bulk of anal fissures, but doctors may recommend using fissure ointment because patients may be very uncomfortable while the tear is healing. Nitroglycerin ointment can help with anal fissure pain because the substance will help to slow down muscle spasms in the area. Patients should use a cotton ball or a cotton swab to apply the fissure ointment. Sterile gloves also should be worn to avoid infecting the tear. Dizziness and headaches can be side effects of nitroglycerin.
Zinc oxide ointment is sometimes prescribed to patients who are suffering from rectal itching as a result of an anal fissure. Scratching an anal fissure is not recommended, because that can lead to infection or excessive rectal bleeding. Ointment containing zinc oxide works to make the rectal area less painful and itchy, helping patients reduce the urge to scratch.
Hydrocortisone rectal fissure ointment works in a capacity similar to zinc oxide ointment. Inflammation of the anal area can be reduced by the use of hydrocortisone ointment, leading to a more comfortable healing period for patients. Anal fissure sufferers should let their doctor know if they have any kidney or heart problems, because hydrocortisone may not be the best type of treatment for patients with these existing issues.
When time and anal fissure ointments do not heal a person's rectal tear, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can help to calm muscle spasms and may work to speed the healing process. Anal fissures can be avoided by drinking plenty of water and eating high-fiber foods to promote healthy bowel movements with no straining involved. People who suffer from chronic constipation as a side effect of long-term medication use should talk to their doctor about other ways to improve bowel function.