Anal fissures and anal skin tags (1760)

Key points below

What is an anal fissure?

An anal fissure is a tear or split in the skin of the anus. Fissures are small (like paper cuts) and sometimes are hard to see. Anal fissures are most often caused by passing a very large, or a very hard, or dry poop. It can also happen from diarrhea (runs) or pushing very hard to pass a large poop. In babies, fissures can happen from too much wiping. Anal fissures may cause pain, especially when your child has or needs to poop.

What are the symptoms of an anal fissure?

What is an anal skin tag?

Anal skin tags are extra skin at the opening of the anus. They are smooth, soft, painless, and flesh colored. It is common for anal skin tags to happen during childhood if your child has constipation problems or chronic anal fissures. The scar from the healing fissure can cause a skin tag. These tags can get red and painful if:

What are the symptoms of a skin tag?

Acute vs chronic
Reprinted from Shackelford's Surgery of the Alimentary Tract; Essani, Rahila, Fissure-in-Ano, 1864-1870., Copyright (2019), with permission from Elsevier.

How are these problems diagnosed?

Your child needs to see a provider. The provider will look at your child’s bottom. They can often find a fissure or skin tag by spreading your child’s butt cheeks apart to look at the anus. Sometimes a special light is needed to see small fissures.

How are these problems treated?

The most important treatment is to prevent constipation. Poop should be soft and normal size. It should flush easily. You doctor or nurse may also suggest other helpful treatments.

Will my child need surgery?

Surgery is rarely done in children. Your doctor will let you know if it is needed.

Other teaching sheets that may be helpful


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any concerns or if your child:

  • still has blood with bowel movements even when the stools are soft.
  • has bleeding that does not stop.
  • has a fissure that does not heal in two weeks when instructions are followed and stools are soft.
  • has bright red skin or a large painful red bump around the anus.
  • has special health care needs not covered by this information.