About anal fistula
Commonly seen in people with a history of anal abscesses, an anal fistula is a narrow tunnel that runs from inside the anus and connects the clogged, infected glands to the abscess. The anus is the opening at the end of the gastrointestinal tract through which the faeces are passed. The anus is lined internally with various glands (anal glands) that are usually activated at the time of anxiety and stress. Anal abscesses can result from chronic infection in the anal glands. Anal fistulae usually originate from these infected glands and end at the anal opening. The problem can be treated with the help of surgery. You can find the best fistula surgeons in south Delhi who have years of experience in the field.
Symptoms of anal fistula
Major symptoms associated with anal fistula include anorectal pain, perianal swelling, perianal cellulitis, painful urination and bowel movement and fever. Rectal bleeding is also very common and you are likely to find traces of blood in the stools and urine.
What are the major causes of anal fistula?
As per the fistula doctor in Delhi, anal fistula are usually a result of an anal abscess, Crohn’s disease, trauma, tuberculosis, cancer, sexually transmitted disease and diverticulitis.
How is the problem diagnosed?
Diagnosis of anal fistula majorly involves a physical examination. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and assessment. Along with the physical examination, your doctor will also take a brief note of your medical history. Although some fistulas are very easy to spot, others might require advanced screening and imaging which is done via tests like x-rays, CT scan and colonoscopy. The procedures are usually performed under the influence of anaesthesia such that the patient does not feel any pain or discomfort.
Major risk factors
There are certain risk factors that may increase your vulnerability to developing an anal fistula. These include obesity, high salt consumption, history of anal abscesses, diabetes, dermatosis, anorectal surgery, unhealthy lifestyle, consumption of spicy food, smoking and drinking alcohol.
Treatment for anal fistula
At present there is no medication that can help to treat anal fistula and the only way to treat the patient is by performing a surgery. The technique used greatly depends upon the type of fistula and its location. Your doctor will recommend a proper medical protocol to be undertaken after a thorough examination.
In case the fistula is not too close to your anus the doctor will simply cut open the skin and muscles around the tunnel which allows the opening to heal from inside.
In some cases, the doctor may use a plug to close the fistula.
In the case of chronic anal fistula, the doctors may use a seton to drain the infected fluid. Seton is a small drainage tube that is placed inside the opening.
Your doctor might even need to make small incisions in the sphincter muscles that regulate the opening and closing of the anus. The procedure is likely to affect your bowel movement.
General complications associated with the surgery include bleeding, pain, scarring, painful urination, loss of control over passing faeces and winds. Bowel incontinence is also possible. However the benefits of the surgery outnumber the risks and without proper treatment, your symptoms are likely to get worse.
Life after treatment
The patients are usually discharged within a day or two after the surgery. Patients are required to abstain from indulging in rigorous physical activities. Limit your movement as much as possible. This will help in faster healing. You can return back to your normal lifestyle within a few weeks. Surgery can help to improve the quality of life though you may experience some changes in bowel movement. Regular exercise and healthy changes in eating habits can speed up the healing procedure.