Consumption of red-hot chili pepper increases symptoms in patients with acute anal fissures. A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind, crossover trial

Arq Gastroenterol. 2008 Apr-Jun;45(2):124-7. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032008000200006.


Background: Red-hot chili pepper and other spices have been blamed for causing or exacerbating symptoms of anal pathologies like anal fissure and hemorrhoids.

Aim: To determine if consumption of chilies increases symptoms of acute anal fissures.

Methods: Individual patients were randomized to receive capsules containing chili or placebo for one week in addition to analgesics and fiber supplement. Patients were asked to note score for symptoms like pain, anal burning, and pruritus during the study period. After 1 week, cross over treatment was administered to the same group of patients with the same methodology and results were noted at the end of 2 weeks.

Results: Fifty subjects were recruited for this study. Forty three of them completed the trial (22 in the chili group and 21 in the placebo group). The daily mean pain score was significantly lower in the placebo group in the study period. Score 2.05 in chili group and 0.97 in placebo group. There was a significant burning sensation experienced by the patients in the chili group (score 1.85 for the chili group vs 0.71 for the placebo group). Patients mean recorded improvement score was significantly higher after taking placebo. Eighty one point three percent patients preferred placebo while 13.9% preferred chilies. Two patients had no preference.

Conclusion: Consumption of chili does increase the symptoms of acute anal fissure and reduces patient compliance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Capsicum / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fissure in Ano / complications*
  • Fissure in Ano / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pruritus Ani / etiology*
  • Young Adult