Difference In Symptoms of Piles, Anal Fissures, and Anal Fistula

Anal disorders are common and occur irrespective of gender. The end of the digestive tract is a sensitive 4-5cm long segment surrounded by blood vessels. This part is called the anus, and people may experience several disorders related to it. Disorders such as Piles, Anal fissures, and anal fistula can occur from infection and strained bowel movements. 

However, people often confuse the symptoms of these disorders and misdiagnose themselves. Self-diagnosis of such a condition may result in the severity of the case being misjudged. Therefore, consulting a doctor for it is advisable. This article briefly describes the description and differences between piles, anal fissures, and anal fistula. 

What are Piles?

Piles are also called hemorrhoids. They are caused by swollen blood vessels at the opening of the anus. Outer hemorrhoids happen when the blood vessels stretch due to pressure and may swell, subsequently causing a ring around the anal cavity. Internal hemorrhoids are formed inside the rectum and are relatively less painful. The condition may resolve on its own in many cases. However, in some, the problem may become severe due to straining during bowel movements. Piles treatment is required if it persists and the pain and discomfort increase.  

What are the symptoms of piles?

  1. Blood in passed stool
  2. Itching or burning sensation around the anal region
  3. Lumps around the anus
  4. Abdominal and anal pain

What are the causes of piles?

Piles are mainly caused due to extreme pressure or straining of the blood vessels in the anal region. Factors such as constipation, a low-fiber diet, chronic diarrhea, pregnancy, and heavy-weight lifting can lead to the application of excess pressure and can lead to piles disorder.

How to treat Piles?

In most cases, piles get resolved on their own and do not require medication or surgical intervention. However, a doctor’s consultation will be required if it is severe. Generally, patients are asked to make dietary changes and take fiber-rich foods, keeping their body weight under check, external application of ointments, and minimally invasive surgery if required. 

What are anal fissures?

Anal fissures are extremely painful and need immediate attention to ease the patient’s discomfort. They are characterized by a tear around the anal region. The patient will require medication or immediate surgery, depending on the severity of the tear. It is observed that most people over the age of 50 experience anal fissures. Along with medication, a fiber-rich diet and plenty of water can help quickly heal anal fissures.

What are the symptoms of anal fissures?

  1. Pain during and after bowel movements
  2. Visible crack on the skin around the anal region
  3. Blood during and after bowel movements

What are the causes of anal fissures?

Factors such as constipation, passing hard stools, childbirth, chronic diarrhea, etc., can cause a tear in the thin lining of the anal cavity.

How to treat anal fissures?

In most cases, anal fissures are treated using topical ointments, dietary changes, more fluid intake, and laxatives. However, if the fissure is severe and does not respond to conservative treatment methods, surgical procedures may need to be undertaken, such as Chemical Internal Sphincterotomy and Lateral Internal Sphincterotomy. Patients are advised to visit the doctor as early as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. 

What is an anal fistula?

An anal fistula is a tunnel connecting an infected gland inside the anus to an opening on the skin located around it. Infected glands inside the anal tract can lead to an abscess. 

What are the symptoms of anal fistula?

  1. Pain during and after bowel movements
  2. Irritation on the skin around the anal opening
  3. Foul smelling discharge near the anal opening
  4. Pus or blood during and after bowel movements
  5. Fever
  6. Swelling and redness on the skin around the anus

What are the causes of an anal fistula?

Fistulas develop due to blockage in the glands of the anal tract. Bacterial growth and accumulation is the leading cause of anal fistula. Other factors such as growth or ulcer, surgical complications, tuberculosis, syphilis, or rectal cancer also may lead to anal fistula. Such a disorder generally needs surgical intervention to avoid further complications. 

How to treat an anal fistula?

The best and more effective treatment for an anal fistula is surgery. The surgery is minimally invasive and is performed under anesthesia. The post-operative discomfort reported by patients is also minimal, and the recovery period is short. 


The markers and symptoms of anal disorders are difficult to self-diagnose. However, common symptoms such as bleeding and pain are experienced in most disorders like anal fistula, anal fissure, and piles. Hence, it is always advisable to consult a physician for an examination, which will help in an accurate diagnosis. In addition, doctors recommend a proper, high-fiber diet, sufficient fluid intake, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle to prevent such disorders.

By Cary Grant

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