Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Anal Fissure Dietary Fiber

A person with an anal fissure may benefit from the following diet.

Fiber is one of the best ways to soften the stool. Dietary fiber is a plant material that humans cannot digest. Fiber works by increasing the amount of water in your stool and keeps the stool soft. The most well known fiber is bran. Common fiber supplements include Citrucel and Metamucil. It is important to drink plenty of water when you eat fiber.

Fiber comes in two forms, based on whether it will dissolve in water. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. About 3/4 of fiber intake should be the insoluble fiber.

Water Soluble Fiber

ExamplesDietary Sources
Pectins, gums, & mucilagesfruits, vegetables, oats, bran, barley, legumes

Insoluble Fiber
ExamplesDietary Sources
Cellulose, hemicellulosevegetables, wheat bran, & whole grains

Fiber tends to bind water, which leads to softer stools and a more rapid passage of material through the intestines. This may reduce exposure to toxic substances and improve bowel health. Fiber can also bind fat and cholesterol. As an added benefit, high fiber foods usually contain important vitamins and minerals.

Use of a High Fiber Diet
A healthy diet should include more than 25 grams of fiber each day. In general, every extra gram of fiber eaten each day can lower the risk of heart disease by as much as five percent.

A high fiber diet can prevent and treat the following:

General Guidelines
In general, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high in fiber. Raw foods tend to have more fiber than cooked, canned or pureed items. Dried fruits, beans, black-eyed peas, bran and oatmeal are very high in fiber. Peeling the skin from fruit and vegetables removes fiber.

Unprocessed wheat bran can be added to meals and baked foods. Bran is the outer layer of the wheat grain, and is present in 'whole grain' foods. Adding 2-3 teaspoons of bran per serving is a great way to increase the fiber content of casseroles, meat loaf, and baked goods. Whole grain flour has 6 times the fiber of standard, bleached flour. Oat bran can be used in place of about 1/3 of regular flour when baking.

Change your diet slowly. Rapid changes in the diet can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Example High-Fiber Diet
Eat at least 3 to 10 servings of whole grain food every day. Each serving should contain 3 grams of fiber.

Examples include:
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal or oat bran
  • Rye bread
  • Wheat germ
  • Whole grain bagels
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain muffins
  • Whole grain or bran cereals
  • Whole grain pita bread
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Whole wheat pasta

Eat 3-4 servings of fruit each day. Dried fruits are high in fiber.

Examples include:
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pear

Eat at least 3-5 servings of raw, unpeeled vegetables per day.

Examples include:
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes with skin
  • Snow peas
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Meat substitutes:
Meat has no fiber, and contains cholesterol and saturated fat. Many high-fiber foods can replace meat in the diet.

Examples include:
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Pinto beans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soybeans, but not tofu
  • Split peas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Veggie burgers
  • Walnuts

Continue to Anal Fissure Warning Signs

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Anal Fissure References
  1. Jonas M, Scholefield J. Anal fissure (chronic). Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):581-90. [15865662]
  2. Lawes D, Taylor I. Recent randomised trials in colorectal disease. Colorectal Dis. 2005 Jan;7(1):8-17. [15606578]
  3. Nelson R. Operative procedures for fissure in ano. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD002199. [15846630]
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