An ulcer is a break in the skin or mucous membrane along with loss of tissue at the surface. Ulcers can occur on and within the body, including along the lining of the colon and rectum, and on the anus. Although they are often associated with Crohn’s disease, anal ulcers can occur because of other factors as well. Our doctors in Garden City, NY, and East Setauket, NY, would like you to know that this condition is very treatable. Since symptoms of anal ulcers can be associated with several other colorectal conditions, it is important to get the right diagnosis. Patients with symptoms of anal ulcers commonly delay seeking treatment out of embarrassment or fear, which leads to further suffering and worsening of the condition. This is why we make every effort to provide patients with a comfortable, private environment and straightforward yet compassionate treatment. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with a specialist, please contact us today.
Anal ulcers can arise from sexually transmitted diseases, pruritus ani (anal itching), and even the side effects of certain drugs. Others causes can include:
Crohn’s Disease is a frequent cause of anal ulcers. The condition causes inflammation and sores along the gastrointestinal tract.
An anal fissure is a tear or crack in the anus or anal canal. Primary fissures are caused by direct trauma, such as the passage of a large, hard stool. Other types of fissures can arise from underlying diseases or from physical abnormalities. Most fissures are minor, and can heal on their own. However, some are chronic or acute, and when left untreated, they can develop into ulcers.
Video: Anal Pain
The specialists at CRSSNY can treat the various causes of anal pain. Anal pain can be a sign of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, a cut or tear in the anal lining, or a possible infection. If you are experiencing pain, it is imperative for you to see a specialist.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Both anal fissures and anal ulcers can result in pain, pus, and rectal bleeding that is bright red. Ulcers are characterized by sloughing of the skin that results in an open, crater-like sore. It is very important to seek a timely diagnosis for anal ulcers to avoid further health complications. Fortunately, this is a simple process. Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose the condition by asking you about your symptoms and performing a visual exam. If a fissure or an ulcer is suspected, we will usually not proceed with a digital examination of the rectum, since this would result in unnecessary pain. However, if a further examination is required, a topical anesthetic will be gently applied to the anus and anal canal to prevent discomfort.
Treatment is highly dependent upon the severity of the anal ulcer. Whenever possible, we will attempt the most conservative treatment first, and if there is an underlying condition, it will need to be addressed as well. There are a variety of medications and lifestyle changes that can ease anal ulcer symptoms and facilitate healing. Surgery is only recommended when the issue is chronic, and more conservative treatments have been ineffective. Surgical treatments to repair the tissue are highly effective and not considered major. This intervention may also help you avoid anal fissures and ulcers in the future.
Virtually every medical condition is easier to manage in its earliest stages. If you are experiencing symptoms of anal ulcers, do not hesitate to contact us and schedule an evaluation.