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What Is Nifedipine Ointment?

Dan Harkins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Anal fissures are cuts in the anal canal that can occur when passing large or unwieldy bowel movements. Aside from recommending medication to ease constipation, which will ensure the stool becomes less rigid, doctors often prescribe nifedipine ointment. This medicine helps to lessen inflammation to create a more hospitable environment in which the body's natural healing process can mend the wound.

Nifedipine ointment, typically used after waking in the morning and again at night, is designed to ease the spasms and tender inflammation of the anal fissures. It eases the blood flow and allows the rectal cavity to relax, in turn promoting the healing of the tear. Another medicine that may be prescribed for this purpose is nitroglycerin.

Using nifedipine ointment requires a disinfected hand and a latex glove or an applicator nozzle. Laying on the side, with the top knee bent to the chest, the ointment can then be spread on the finger and rubbed around the anus and just inside the rectal cavity. Like hemorrhoid creams, many nifedipine ointment containers will include nozzles that easily inject the needed amount of medicine into the rectum.

Along with nifedipine ointment and a stool softener, physicians often recommend an increase in liquid and fiber consumption — both natural ways to soften the stool. In extreme cases, when pain does not subside and fissures do not heal, a doctor may recommend a Botox;&reg injection to further relax the rectal cavity. As a last resort, a surgical procedure called a lateral internal sphincterotomy involves removing part of the muscle forming the sphincter, which ideally improves blood flow to the rest of the anal cavity and further promotes healing.

According to the Mayo Clinic, anal fissures will heal themselves after two or three weeks. If the pain continues unabated for more than a few months, however, patients should seek medical treatment. Before it is time to see a doctor, however, common over-the-counter remedies include fiber supplements to soften the stool as well as topical ointments like nitroglycerin and zinc oxide. Another method involves sitting in a warm bath, called a sitz bath, for up to 20 minutes without adding any soap to the water since it could cause further irritation.

Anal fissures can occur not just from large stool but also from sexual activity or even conditions like Crohn's disease. Aside from pain being experienced during and after bowel movements, bright red bleeding will often be found in the toilet or on toilet paper. Itching is also common in and around the anus, which may or may not have a visible tear or lump protruding.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001038 — On Feb 21, 2019

Keep using it. It will work.

By burcinc — On Aug 20, 2013

I have a question about applying the ointment. How far up should I apply it and how much? And is it okay if I use a q-tip? I tried the applicator and it was painful.

By bear78 — On Aug 20, 2013

@burcidi-- Nifedipine is a great ointment but like you said, sometimes it's not enough. You need to have frequent and soft bowel movements in order for the fissure to heal. Eat only fiber rich foods until the fissure heals like fruits, vegetables and beans.

At least once a day, fill a tub with hot water and sit in it for twenty minutes to half an hour. This improves circulation and encourages healing. Apply nifedinipe ointment afterward. You should be applying the ointment 2-3 times a day for best results.

By burcidi — On Aug 19, 2013

I've been using nifedipine ointment for a hemorrhoids fissure for a few days. It seems to work, but when I have a bowel movement, the fissure bleeds again and I'm back to square one. The ointment doesn't have a chance to do its job.

What should I do?

Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
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