The symptoms include:
External fistulas cause discharge through the skin. They are accompanied by other symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain
- Painful bowel obstruction
- Elevated white blood cell count
With internal fistulas, patients may also experience the following symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Bloodstream infection, or sepsis
- Poor absorption of nutrients and weight loss
- Worsening of the underlying disease
The tests include:
- Physical Examination
- Rectal Examination
- Anal endosonography (ultrasound)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Computerised tomography (CT) scan
Several treatment options are available, including:
- Hormones to reduce gastric fluid production
- Lots of nutritional supplements
- Surgery to close the fistula
- Fistulotomy : A fistulotomy is the most commonly used type of anal fistula surgery, used in 85-95% of cases
- Seton techniques: A seton is a piece of surgical thread that is left in the fistula tract to keep the tract open, often for several months. This allows it to drain properly before it heals.
- Advancement flap procedures: Advancement flap procedures may be considered if your fistula is complex or there is a high risk of incontinence.
- Bioprosthetic plug: A bioprosthetic plug is a cone-shaped plug made from animal tissue. It can be used to block the internal opening of the fistula.
- Fibrin glue: Fibrin glue is currently the only non-surgical option for treating an anal fistula.
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