The anal opening is through which excreta or faecal matter is excreted from the body. The anal canal often contains small glands which produce mucus that facilitate the expulsion of bodily wastes. Sometimes, these glands get clogged or blocked, often triggered by microbes and get infected. This leads to abscesses that eventually fill with pus and get swollen. This condition is known as an anal fistula.
Anal fistula causes
The following have been listed under common anal fistula causes:
- Intestinal inflammation or Crohn’s diseases
- Radiation treatment side effects
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Anal fistula symptoms
Anal fistula symptoms include:
- Frequent abscesses formation
- Bloody or pus-filled odorous secretions from the anal opening
- Fever chills and fatigue
Anal fistula treatment
Best Gastroenterologists in India often advise the following treatment options.
Medications such as stool softeners, pain killers, antibiotics, and drugs to reduce inflammation are used to treat anal fistula.
Surgery is the most effective treatment that can heal anal abscesses to a great extent. A fistulotomy, flap procedure or lift procedure is performed. Surgical procedures mainly involve tying up the introduction of a new piece of tissue or spreading of sphincter muscles.
Some novel methods have been introduced in recent years. Seton therapy involves continuous drainage of the fistula using medical thread and rubber band. This method is known to completely preserve the sphincter and reduce anal continence. However, studies suggest a long-term recurrence rate for complex treatment up to 20–80%. A slight modification to the above-mentioned LIFT procedure by adding a bioprosthetic anal fistula plug has been shown to increase the healing rate from 83.9 to 94%. While another novel method using a biological mesh is also being used in several countries. Both surgical procedures have shown a high healing rate, low trauma, and adequate protection of the anal sphincter. PDT is yet another advanced treatment that combines light energy and photosynthesizers to induce oxidative damage to the abscesses. It is simple, feasible, safe, and offers an 80% healing rate.
- Healthy diet – Avoid consuming excessively spicy or heavy meals to prevent irritation and diarrhoea. In addition, caffeine and alcohol must be avoided to prevent dehydration of the system. Also, sugar, refined and fried foods can harm intestinal function.
- Adequate hydration – Drinking plenty of water, fruit juices and homemade beverages like turmeric milk, cabbage juice, beetroot juice, coconut water, ginger tea, gooseberry extract, etc., can help in adequate bowel clearance, prevent constipation and pressure on the fistula.
- Healthy bowel habits – Anal areas and hands should always be cleaned with disinfectant soap. To reduce discomfort, leakage and pain, seating pads are advised. Bowel movement must never be delayed or resisted.
- Sitz bath – This is considered to be one of the most effective measures to provide relief from irritation, swelling, pain and inflammation. The anal area must be kept soaked for about 15-30 minutes in plain warm water.
If you or someone you know has been silently suffering from such symptoms or is not seeing any relief from pain and swelling despite treatment, it is wise to seek a first or second opinion with super-specialists at SeekMed. Simply search for the ‘Best Gastroenterologists in India’ or ‘Best gastroenterologist near me’, and you will be redirected to award-winning doctors who can help you explore the best and most affordable treatment options. Improve your health with empowered health decisions with the help of accomplished doctors on SeekMed.