Can anyone offer advice to a woman with this rather embarrassing problem? A prescribed cream containing glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) has not helped and after six months with the problem, surgery is now on the cards. She's keen for any alternative suggestions.
First up we have Collette, who recommends regular sitz baths with a few drops of cypress oil. "I have had good results with this in my aromatherapy work," she reports. Tidmans Bath Sea Salts may also help, by promoting fast healing, reducing inflammation and preventing infection. Or try smothering the area with organic raw honey - a suggestion from Neil.
Other readers propose treating the problem with good nutrition. "One of the causes of anal fissures is too much acid in the diet," says Carolyn. "Avoiding acidic foods and drinks - such as coffee (including decaffeinated coffee), tea, tomatoes, chocolate, cocoa, soft drinks, alcohol, citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit) and strong seasoning, condiments and spices (garlic, pepper, mustard etc.) - should help," she says. In addition, she advises keeping sugar intake to a minimum and eating the following foods sparingly: almonds, asparagus, bananas, beans (lima, dried), beets, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chestnuts, currants (dried), grapefruit (and juice), muskmelon, peaches, peas (dried), radishes, onions, raisins, spinach, strawberries, turnips and cherries. Try to figure out which foods cause the problem to recur and then gradually reintroduce 'safe' foods back into your diet.
Psyllium husks and magnesium
Emma, however, who suffered with the problem a few years ago, has a much simpler solution. After researching the topic she discovered that anal tears are commonly caused by passing hard stools when constipated. So, she tried psyllium husks to soften the stools and magnesium to relax the muscles. She also took various vitamin and mineral supplements recommended for strengthening the mucous membranes. The result? She had instant relief and the problem hasn't recurred since.
Other suggestions are eating lots of fruit, drinking plenty of water, taking probiotics and following an anti-Candida diet.
E-news broadcast 27 February 2007 No.337