Are you getting enough fiber to support your anal health? Research shows that while most people believe they are eating enough fiber-rich foods, only about 5% of the American population actually consumes the recommended daily amount.

At South Shore Surgical in Valley Stream, New York, Dr. Ira Klonsky sees many patients who could benefit from the addition of more fiber to their diets. He can treat issues like anal fissures with minimally invasive surgery, but the best course of action is avoiding those issues in the first place.

Here’s why fiber is good for your anal health and how to get more of it.

Understanding the anus

The anus is where stool leaves your body, while the rectum is where stool is held while waiting to be evacuated during a bowel movement. Around the anus at the end of the rectum are the external and internal anal sphincters, rings of muscle that keep stool from leaking out.

The inner sphincter stays closed tightly unless the external sphincter is deliberately relaxed, allowing a bowel movement. Straining to have a bowel movement can cause tears in the anus or anal sphincters.

Common anal issues

Many anal issues are caused by constipation, which causes undue pressure on the rectum and anus. A few of the problems it can cause are:


Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are distended blood vessels or veins that bulge and may form clots. They present around the anus or inside the rectum, and they may hang outside the body, eventually bleeding or bursting.

Anal fissures or tears

An anal tear or fissure may look like a small cut or a skin tag around the anus or just inside the anal wall. Tears may heal on their own, or they may require a surgical procedure, known as a lateral internal sphincterotomy (LIS), to relieve pain.

Rectal prolapse

In extreme cases, the inner wall of the rectum can prolapse and push out through the anus. Alternately, a hernia may develop (more common in women), causing a bulge of tissue known as a rectocele to push through the front wall of the rectum and, in women, into the vagina. This may require surgery to correct.

Preventing constipation and anal problems

Getting 20-35 grams of fiber a day, staying hydrated, and geting enough physical activity can often prevent constipation and the associated anal issues mentioned above. Eating the following foods can help you add natural fiber to your diet:

  • Wheat or oat bran
  • Cooked whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, and pastas
  • Whole grain cereals and breads
  • Peas, beans, and other legumes
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Citrus fruits
  • Prunes and prune juice

If you can’t get enough fiber in your daily diet, try fiber supplements. These are safe to take daily.

Do you have an anal issue and need help? Simply call our office at 516-200-1306 or discreetly request an appointment online today.

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