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Fiber and Fissures

Last updated: November 2023

We've all heard of hemorrhoids–they are best buds with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), the remoras to the IBS shark. Painful little balls that can make going to the bathroom even worse than it already can be. If you have IBS, you've probably dealt with them at some point. I was lucky. I hadn't dealt with them or even given them a second thought.

I should have knocked on wood.

Hemorrhoids or fissures?

I first noticed something was off when I got the usual symptoms of pain, mild bleeding, and feeling like something was there. It went away with a little help from prep H, and I went on my merry way. And then it came back worse and would not go away. Repeatedly seeing blood where it's not supposed to be is pretty concerning. After speaking with an OB/GYN, she referred me to a gastroenterologist. I was able to schedule an appointment soon after and got in quickly.

The doctor asked me some questions and did the exam. She noticed some internal hemorrhoids, but they were small enough that she wasn't worried about them. What she did find to be the main source of pain was an anal fissure.

She explained that a fissure can be like an internal or external cut or a tear that comes from pushing too hard. They have similar symptoms to hemorrhoids, which explains why I thought hemorrhoids were the culprit! It can hang around and come back very easily if the stool is irregular and hard pushing is involved. This makes it very hard for it to heal and stay that way.

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Fiber for stool consistency

The solution? Fiber.

The doctor told me to add a fiber supplement (and drink more water, otherwise it could get worse). This would help my stool become more of a regular consistency so I would stop having to push to pass it, therefore allowing the fissure to heal.

And what do you know, but it works pretty well! I use a little bit of petroleum jelly to help out with the healing process. I personally like using the pills, because the kind you put in your drink has no appeal to me. I know for sure that the positive effects are from the fiber because if I stop taking it for too long, I become irregular, start having to push, and the fissures come back with vengeance. While I don't love having to remember to take the pills, I'd much rather do that than feel that very specific pain. Plus, I feel better overall when I am more consistent. With IBS, it's all about the little wins.

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