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An anal fissure is a fairly common, painful condition in which the lining of the anal canal is torn. An anal fissure
usually is caused by physical trauma due to
constipation or a forceful bowel movement through a tight anal muscle
or physical trauma also may be contributing factors. Once the skin is torn, each subsequent bowel movement can be painful, and the pain often is severe. The amount of bleeding that occurs with an anal fissure is small and usually is noticed in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper as bright red in color. The symptoms of an anal fissure are commonly mistaken for hemorrhoids, but hemorrhoids generally do not cause pain with bowel movements.