Anal self-massage in the treatment of acute anal fissure: a randomized prospective study

Authors Fabio Gaj, Ivano Biviano, Laura Candeloro, Jacopo Andreuccetti.


Background An anal fissure (AF) is a tear in the epithelial lining of the anal canal. This is a very common condition, but the choice of treatment is unclear. The use of anal dilators is effective, economic, and safe. The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of two conservative treatments, the use of anal dilators or a finger for anal dilatation, in reducing anal pressure and resolving anal fissures.

Methods Fifty patients with a clinical diagnosis of AF were randomly assigned to one of the treatments, self-massage of the anal sphincter (group A, 25 patients) or passive dilatation using dilators (group B, 25 patients). All patients were evaluated at baseline, at the end of treatment, and after 12 weeks and 6 months. Pain was measured using a visual analog scale.

Results After the treatment, 60% of patients treated with dilators and 80% of patients treated with anal self-massage using a finger showed disappearance of their anal fissures. A comparison between signs and symptoms reported by the patients in the two groups showed a statistically significant reduction in anal pain (group A, P=0.0001; group B, P=0.0001) and bleeding after defecation (group A, P=0.001, group B, P=0.001). At 6 months after treatment, a significantly greater reduction in anal pain was observed in Group A compared to Group B (P=0.02).

Conclusion The use of anal self-massage with a finger appears to induce a better resolution of acute anal fissure than do anal dilators, and in a shorter time.

Keywords Anal fissure, anal massage, anal dilator, proctologic disease, anal pain

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (4): 438-441

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