What is Anal Stenosis?
When a tubular organ or blood vessel becomes excessively narrow such that it can no longer perform as nature intended, it is a condition referred to by physicians as stenosis. Anal stenosis, also known as an anal stricture, is the narrowing of the anal canal, located just before the anal sphincter.
What causes anal stenosis?
Anal stenosis can be the result of many things, such as:
complications resulting from a surgical procedure
overuse of laxatives
a severe blood infection (sepsis) that compromises organs in the body
loss of blood to a particular area of the body
AIDS and venereal diseases
an infection caused by the amoeba entamoeba histolytica
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder or inflammation of the colon and small intestine
There is a condition known as Anal Crohn’s disease that mimics the symptoms of anal stenosis. Crohn’s disease is an inflammation that can restrict the anal canal.
Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the stenosis. They may include:
painful bowel movements
stools that are difficult to expel, are narrow, and break apart like pellets
evidence of bright red blood in the toilet (rectal bleeding)
Treatment of anal stenosis
Fortunately, preventing the condition from even occurring is the best treatment. But that is not always an option, especially if you must undergo surgery
Some common preventative measures are:
fiber supplements; more fiber in your diet naturally softens stools, allowing them to pass more easily
stool softeners or emollient laxatives, which add moisture to the stool
sphincterotomy, a procedure in which the anal sphincter muscle is cut to open the anal canal
Surgical procedures to alleviate anal stenosis
The procedure that is performed to relieve anal stenosis is called an anoplasty. There are many variations of this procedure, and one is selected depending on the size and structure of the stenosis.