1999 – I went to the doctor as I was bleeding from the anus after going to the toilet, after a quick check for piles/hemorrhoids, there were none, an appointment was made at the local hospital for a check up, the thought of a camera crew up the jacksie was not too appealing. After waiting 6 weeks for the appointment with no further bleeding I canceled the appointment, well if it aint broke why fix it, with hindsight this appointment may have saved me a lot of inconvenience.
2002 – I started bleeding again this time from a small spot about half inch from the anus, this was my introduction to my Fistula. An anal fistula is an abnormal tunnel between the anal canal and the outer skin of the anus that often drains pus or liquid. An anal fistula may irritate the outer tissues or cause discomfort and may increase the risk of developing anal cancer.
6 Jun 2003 – After many visits to the doctor I went down for my operation expecting it to be laid open. The fistula is ‘laid open’ by cutting a small amount of the anal skin and muscle to open up the tract. When I came round I was told it was too high to be left laid open as there was a risk of incontinence, whoah there!
So a Seton stitch was inserted. A Seton Stitch slowly cuts across the tract, working its way towards the surface skin. Due to the slow nature of this process, the fistula and the area cut by the stitch scar over so that at no point is there a gaping wound.
It was painful for about a week, especially after going to the toilet for the first time after the Op, and i found hot baths eased the pain. This thing won’t go away untreated, it needs the operation.
The stitch (a rubber band) is still in and will be in for at least another six months,
it is not painful at all now but is a little annoying when wiping in that area! but you get used to it. I have had it tightened once so far and am due the next tighten in January (cant wait!).
There is a little leakage which is the area healing and this is perfectly normal. The stitch eventually cuts through and falls out when the job is done. There are no side effects and it dosnt stop me playing football, jogging or eating hot curry!.
After the Op i had an MRI scan after about eight weeks to check the healing, so far so good.
I was worried of course but if it needs doing, it needs doing. Bite the bullet and go for the Op it is far better than the regular pain and bleeding in the dark place!
13 Jun 2005 - Operation number 2, this is becoming a pain in the ar*e!! Literally. The Seton stitch has done its job however it is no longer moving and needs to be removed. This time the fistula can be laid open as it is near the anus and won’t leave me incontinent, phew!
This was painful and I am walking like Jennifer Lopez again the wound is left open and heals from the inside out, this requires a clean finger to be drawn across the wound every day to ensure the healing process does indeed heal from the inside out.
I have been informed the wound may take from 2 to 6 weeks to heal, depending on its size, guess I wont be riding my bike for a few weeks!. Once treated the fistula should heal and produce no long-term problems, lets hope so.
If you are bleeding from the rear end get to the doctors TODAY they have seen it all before………and it will be a weight off your mind regards Yakka.
Last edited by yakka; 06-21-2005 at 01:06 AM.
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What a story - thanks for sharing and explaining everything in GREAT detail. My rear tightens just reading it - so I can't imagine the pain you've been through.
Well I am in your "1999 stage" right now - bleeding - noticed it twice on TP and pink toilet water. So I went to the GP - yep it's blood according to the quick test - go see a GI. Well the next day was the appt and when I did the business - no blood. Thought about canceling, but went ahead. So GI does his probing and says no roids and no fissures (didn't mention fistula either - hurray), but his quick test showed blood too. So, guess skipping it wouldn't have been a good idea. Scheduled for the scope - both upper and lower - in 2.5 weeks. Hey - at least I don't have to reschedule my 4th activities!!!!
Anyway - wanted to also encourage everyone to get it checked out - blood down there needs investigation! Of course - I LOVE the way Yakka tells ya!
I just read your story on your 2 surgeries. I am in the same spot as your were, I just had 1st. surgery 9/21/05 for perianal abscess w/fistula with them using a plug instead of laying it open. Well 7 days later, it came out, so now I am facing 2nd. surgery. Mine is located about 1" up and straight, so they say they can fix it with what you had done for your 2nd. surgery.
Did you have a general surgeon or a proctologist do the surgery?
How did your 2nd. surgery go for fixing your fistula when they laid it open? How long were you in pain before it started to let up? Also was your aftercare like? You mentioned about a clean finger going across the wound? And most important, did it work for you and how long did it take for your recovery? I hope to hear back from you and hope that it is good news for you and for me.
I had a general surgeon carry out my operation in day surgery. I went in about 0900hrs and eventually went for the Op at 1045 hrs, by 1130 hrs i had come round from the anaesthesia and went home about 1400hrs.
The pain was initially quite bad, i felt like i had passed a basketball! but suprisingly enough the pain wore off within 3-4 days, it was painful going to the toilet but again the hot baths were a godsend, i had about 3 baths a day!!
The aftercare was running a clean finger going across the wound to ensure the wound healed from the inside out. (Not the most pleasant things to do in the shower!)
After about 2 weeks it was like i never had a problem, quite remarkable really. The best bit of all was going back to the specialist at the 3 month mark and being told it was all over.
Thank you so much for getting back to me. You are the first person that I know of that has had this same surgery.
I was the first patient in our area for them trying to fix the fistula by using a plug. Well big mistake, since it didn't work. And they told me it would be less recovery and less pain. Well the pain afterwards with bm's, well I know you can relate to the pain. I buried my face in a towel every time I went to bathroom. And then 4 to 5 days after surgery, pain got worse and burned real bad constantly. Until the plug came out. So now facing surgery again. I am sick to my stomach, knowing how painful it will be again, especially with bm's.
When you say they laid it open. Did you have to pack it or anything or was it really just completely laid open? Did they put you on antibotics at all, since it is in such a bad place for infection with being left open. Did your pain meds help much with the pain?
Did you have to go back to the doctor for care of the wound or anything?
Mine is about 1" up, was your down that low by the time you had your 2nd. surgery? And you can tell, I am sick to my stomach the thought of going thru another surgery. And I know I have to, because I still have the fistula since the surgery failed.
Did your pain really let up by the 4th day ? And you said 2 weeks later you felt like you didn't even have a problem? It gives me hope and courage to go thru this again.
Hope to hear from you soon. And thank you so much for answering me. You are giving me the courage to go thru this.
Sorry to hear the plug method didnt work it must be a new procedure, i havnt heard of that before.
I was a bit dubious before my 2nd operation but after 2 years of doctors fingers and the seton stitch in place i was also relieved to be having the Op.
It was indeed just laid open and left to heal, it wasnt packed with anything and there was no need for any antibiotics, which suprised me you would think there is a great risk of infection being in a waste product area!
Honestly the pain really let up by the 4th day and i think you will be pleasantly suprised the pain was nowhere near as bad as i thought it would be (Hot baths are my top tip). The only follow up appointment i had was 12 weeks after the Op and it all healed fine. I am pleased to help and answer your queries and wish you the very best of luck with the Op.
Thanks so much for all your responses. Fistula's must not be as common. Because there doesn't seem to be many posts on Fistula surgery on this website.
I went to the doctor last week and he gave me 2 choices. Have surgery or wait and see if the plug was in long enough to heal the fistula. That was on Tuesday, Oct. 4th. Saturday I felt the fistula opening swell and then pain, a few hours later pain went away and then pus. Knew at that point I definately have to have the 2nd. surgery.
I am going to set up the surgery for November 1st. or 2nd. I have a few questions for you.
Did your fistula have an internal opening into your anal canal? Mine obviously had an external opening and they found the internal opening into my anal canal. Because when they lay it open, do they cut it clear into your anal canal? If they did then wouldn't your bm come out where they lay it open? Do they stitch it close at the internal opening in your anal canal? Did you have any stitches at all?
And also after the surgery, were you able to sit much? What position did you find comfortable and did you take anything to keep your bm's from being painful?
I thought I was going to be a trooper with facing this surgery again, but not doing so well right now. For me the thought of having bm's after surgery is my hardest part. I can deal with the normal pain of surgery but the pain from having bm's, terrifies me. But I know I don't have much choice, because I don't want to live with a fistula.
Did your doctor tell if your fistula would come back? And how long has it been since your fistula surgery and how are you doing today?
Thanks again for all your help, it is appreciated so much.
I think you are wise to go for the 2nd surgery, although it looks like the decision was made for you!
My fistula did indeed have an opening into the anal canal. My first surgery was the seton stitch which was passed through the fistula and out of the anus and tied together, the stitch was like a rubber band and cut through the muscle and healed as it went, quite a slow process.
When it was low enough (2 years!) so as not to leave me incontinent the remaining fistula was layed open. It is cut totaly and left open into your anal canal. Believe me when i say the pain on bowel movement is not as bad as you think it is going to be, certainly not as bad as after my first Surgery.There are absolutely NO Stitches.
After the surgery sitting down was okay almosy immediately i remember that after bowel movements i used to wipe and get into the bath. If there was any pain then i took Ibuprofen or paracetamol.
If the hardest part for you is thinking of bowel movement afterwards you are gonna be fine my friend.
The doctor told me fistulas can come back and if it does i will have it cut out again, no problem, my last surgery was June 5th and i am back to normal, although i didnt class myself as ill really.
Even today when i wipe after a bowel movement i look at the paper in case of blood! old habits die hard i suppose. Good luck for November if you need anything else drop me a line. I was going to leave my email address for you but i dont think the message board rules allow that.
Hi all, I too had a fistula surgery. Surprisingly also on Oct 4th.
The pain at first wasn't bad, however; not sure what happened but when I was having a bm it seemed like the stitch came out. I had meet with the GP on Friday, and everything seemed fine. On Saturday I started getting constipated. I took some laxatives to looses the bm's. I couldn't handle the pain, I started wishing that I shouldn't have gotten this procedure. after the bm was done, the pain wasn't bad, but on Sunday, I couldn't function, the pain after and during the bm was bad. I am hoping I can get into see my GP today.
My body is wore out from the pain, I am really hoping I don't not also have to go in for a second procedure.
Sorry to hear that you are having that much pain. But I have been there where you are. It is normal, it goes along with surgery in that area. If only we didn't have to use it after surgery!
What type of doctor did your surgery? Was your fistula low and how did the doctor do your fistula surgery? Did he lay the tract open? You mentioned you have stitches. I asked my doctor about this 2nd. surgery that I have to have; and I thought that there wouldn't be any stitches, that they just lay the tract open. My sister says I ask too many questions, but I don't think I ask enough. Lol.
What did your doctor tell you to take to keep bm's soft? Are you taking any stool softeners or fiber supplements? I know for me the docusate sodium (colace) stool softeners help me tremendously! I take 1 (100 mg) in the morning and 1 (100 mg) at suppertime. Keeps the stool softer, and easier to pass. Everyone keeps telling me to take fiber supplements also. Like Citracel, Metamucil, etc. And I have trouble with them. Right now if I take 2 tablets of Citracel or Fibercon daily. I actually have a bulkier stool, but it tends to impact me, which can cause a lot of pressure and pain. And I drink at least 64 oz. of water or more a day. Your pain will get better, but do everything you can not to get constipated. If you think that you are, I find Milk of Magnesa works well.
Taking sitz baths helped me a lot. The doctor told me 3 to 4x day, 15 min. each. Some people on this board tho, recommend 10 min. and not too hot of water. They say that too hot of water can cause bleeding and I know for me it caused swelling.
Keep me posted and I hope that you start feeling better everyday.
Thanks so much for thinking of me. I didn't have the surgery yesterday. My doctor cancelled my appointment with him, because of an emergency. They don't have me rescheduled to go see the doctor until next Monday, November 7th. I asked them to please schedule me for the surgery ASAP. With the holidays coming up and everything, plus I go on vacation for 5 to 6 weeks at the beginning of January. Want this all behind me before the holidays and vacation.
The doctors office said they won't schedule the surgery now until he sees me. Which is really goofy, because the doctor saw me in October and told me to call if it failed and they would do the surgery the 1st. of November. The girl in office is saying now that they can't book the operating room without doctor seeing me and the doctor has to fill out paperwork. So I asked her to talk to the doctor tomorrow and ask him if he can do the paperwork so she can book for surgery next Wednesday, November 9th. (She said that was their only opening next week.) I said pencil me in. Lol. She says she can't without the paperwork.
So, I guess I won't know until next Monday when I go in for the surgery. I will definately let you know Monday. Hopefully it will be soon, so as to get this over with.
So now are you doing? I hope everything is still going well for you!
It was really nice hearing from you.
I am so glad to hear that everything is going great for you! It sure was a long haul for you. Its nice to hear success stories.
I went to the doctor yesterday, surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.
I asked the doctor about the aftercare, and he just said sitz baths. He never mentioned about running a clean finger over the open area.
Did your surgeon recommend this? I know that you said that you did this in the shower. Did you basically just run your finger across the open area? How many times a day did you do this, and for how long after your surgery? Because I think that this makes sense to help ensure that the wound heals from the inside out. Sounds like it will hurt, but no pain, no gain. Right?