Piles, Fistula & Fissure: How Are They Different?

May 3, 2021

Piles, fistula, and fissure are disorders that are often confused for one another. However, all these conditions have different characteristics and the common thing about them is that they are all anal disorders. Understanding the difference between these conditions can help prevent or find the right treatment methods to treat them. So now let’s look into each of these disorders.

Piles

Piles, also known as hemorrhoids are the swollen veins found inside or around the rectum or anus. Some risk factors or causes of piles include constipation, pregnancy, genetic factors, lifting heavy weights, or aging. Piles are usually not that dangerous and can sometimes be cured by undertaking necessary lifestyle changes suggested by expert doctors. However, if you have severe piles and if other treatments don’t work, surgical treatment might be recommended.

Some of the common symptoms of piles include blood in stool, pain while defecating, itching sensation around the anus, mucus discharge, and feeling of fullness even after defecating.

Fistula

An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops at the end of the gut and the skin near the anus. It occurs when the fluid made by the glands inside the anus is clogged and the bacteria is built up to create a swollen pocket of infected tissue. This infected tissue is called an abscess, and when this pus drains away, it leaves behind a small channel or a tunnel. A fistula might require surgery as it doesn’t heal on its own. There are various surgical options available to treat fistula like Fistulotomy, Seton techniques, LIFT procedure, and more.

Some symptoms of an anal fistula are; skin irritation, bowel incontinence, and swelling around the anus.

Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a small tear in the thin lining of the anus. It may occur in both adults and children and, more often than not it heals on its own. Irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, and injury in the anal canal are some causes of anal fissure. Other rare causes include anal cancer, HIV, TB, and more. An anal fissure is usually considered chronic if it lasts for more than eight weeks with a deeper tear. Taking measures like consuming more fiber in food, staying hydrated, warm water soaking can encourage healing of the fissure quickly. Also, remember that keeping your anal area clean and dry is important to avoid worsening the condition.

The common symptoms of an anal fissure are pain during bowel movement, blood in the stool, cracks and itching around the anus.

To summarize, piles are the swollen blood vessels, while anal fissures are the kind of cuts or cracks and fistulas are the opening of a channel or a cavity.

At Apollo Spectra Hospitals, we provide specialized treatment for all these conditions while taking into consideration their severity. But it’s always important to remember that ignoring these conditions might lead to further complications. The symptoms for these three conditions are somewhat similar, however, it is necessary to consult an expert at the earliest as the way to treat each of them is different.