An anal fistula is a disease of a small infected tunnel that occurs between the outside and inside area around the anus. This disease is usually caused when the small gland that is present inside the anus gets blocked or clogged. When this gland gets blocked, it can lead to an abscess and nearly half of this abscess may be built up into a fistula. There may be several treatments available for treating anal fistula, but in many cases, anal fistula surgery is always required.
So, what causes an anal fistula?
As mentioned above, an anal fistula occurs when the small glands that are present inside the anus block or clog. They can also develop from Crohn’s disease, a disease of intestine inflammation. They can further develop from radiation-treating trauma, cancer, tuberculosis, and diverticulitis. Furthermore, sexual relationships can also lead to the transmission of anal fistula since it is also an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
So, one must not leave an anal fistula without giving treatment as it can cause severe complications to one’s health. The best thing one can do is to consult an anal fistula doctor immediately as soon as one knows you are being affected by this disease. So, here are some of the symptoms of anal fistula that can help you in noticing this disease. They are as follows:
- Frequent anal abscesses
- Pain during bowel movements
- Fever, shivering, and a feeling of tiredness.
Prevention of anal fistula
The following steps can help you in preventing anal fistula. They are as follows:
- One must not strain (make an unusually great effort) during bowel movements
- One should always keep the bottom area clean and dry
- One must eat foods or take supplements that are high in fiber
- One must take exercise daily
- One must not hold bowel movements
Treatment for anal fistula
Fibrin glue: Fibrin glue is the only non-surgical treatment available for treating anal fistula. The doctor will give you anesthesia to numb the targeted area before the procedure so that you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. In this procedure, the doctor uses special surgical glue. The doctors then inject this glue into the fistula with the help of a surgical syringe. This injected glue helps in sealing the fistula. As a result, the fistula will start healing a few days after the procedure.
Most anal fistulas required anal fistula surgery as they do not heal by themselves without treatment. There are many several types of surgical treatment, but your surgeon will choose the procedure that is best suitable for you after examining the position and type (single or branch channel) of your anal fistula. The surgery of anal fistula is an outpatient procedure meaning you can go home the same day of the surgery. The following are the available surgical treatment for anal fistula. They are as follows:
One of the most commonly used and effective surgical treatments for anal fistula that does not pass along the anal sphincter muscles is fistulotomy. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a special surgical knife to cut the whole area of the fistula. The surgeon can either leave the wound open to let it heal as a flat scar or stitches the wound. The main aim of this procedure is to remove the whole fluids and pus from the fistula so that it can heal faster. Further, this procedure also helps in closing the unnatural gap that the fistula creates.
However, there are some risks after the fistulotomy procedure such as bleeding, fever, pain, sleepiness and headache, and reoccurrence of the fistula or abscess.
Seton technique is a surgical treatment that is suitable for treating the fistula that passes along the anal sphincter muscle. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a special surgical seton, a kind of thread to help keep the fistula open for a couple of days. The surgeon then inserts this seton inside the fistula allowing the fistula to drain. As a result, the fistula will start healing after a few days of the procedure, and with this procedure; there is no need to cut the sphincter muscle.
Advancement flap procedure:
This surgical treatment is also suitable for treating the fistula that passes along the anal sphincter muscle. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a special surgical knife to cut the fistula entering the bowel movements. The surgeon then covers the hole with a flap of tissue retrieving it from the rectum. There is no need to remove the sphincter muscle in this procedure however, this procedure has a low success rate as compared to fistulotomy.
In this procedure, the surgeon uses a special tube attaching it to a small camera at the end of the endoscope. The surgeon then inserts this tube into the fistula. This tube helps in passing the electrode allowing the fistula to seal. It does not remove any sphincter muscle in the process.