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What is Anal Fistula?
A fistula is an abnormal connection between two organs or blood vessels or cavities that usually do not connect. Fistulas can develop anywhere in the body. However, the most common location for a fistula is around the anus.
An anal fistula is a tunnel that forms from the anal canal to the skin near the anus. The anus is the opening in the last part of the digestive system through which the stools exit the body. Inside the anus, there are a number of small glands that produce mucus. Sometimes these glands get clogged and become infected, leading to an abscess (a painful collection of pus that results from a bacterial infection). In most cases, these abscesses develop into a fistula. Multiple fistulas can develop around the anus, causing pain and discomfort. Anal fistula(s) do not resolve by themselves and can be treated medically or surgically.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you experience painful bowel movements, irritation of the skin around the anus, foul-smelling drainage from the opening around the anus, fever with/without chills or general feeling of fatigue, chances are that you might have an anal fistula.
It usually takes one 4-6 weeks to recover completely from an Anal Fistual surgery.
An anal fissure is a tear that develops in the lining of the anus. It can happen as a result of passing hard stools. Whereas, an anal fistula is a connection between the inside portion of your anus to the skin near the anus. It usually results from an infection of the anal glands.
Anal fistula surgery can cost approximately INR 70,000. The cost may vary on a case-to-case basis depending upon the procedure, complexities associated with the disease, institution, and geographical location.
Anal fistulas surgeries are performed by general surgeons.
Fistula surgery is a safe procedure in which complications are very rare. However, few of the expected complications include an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic drug and severe pain in the anal area which is not relieved by medications. There might be bleeding at the site of the surgery coupled with infection and development of pus in the fistula. In some cases, the wound may take a longer time to heal, causing discomfort. The condition may recur or return after the surgery and may require additional intervention.
Following are a few simple measures that can help in preventing an anal fistula:
- Eat fibre-rich food
- Drink lots of water
- Keep the anal region clean and dry
- Avoid straining while passing stools
- Exercise regularly
Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment around 7 to 10 days after the procedure to check for proper recovery. Most fistulas respond well to surgery and recovery is possible without any complications.
You need to contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- High fever and chills
- Severe pain that does not come down with medications
- Swelling, redness, and bleeding from the site of the surgery.