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Anal Fistulas

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Old 10-27-2011, 03:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: U.S.
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rectalspectacle HB User
Anal Fistulas


I found this forum by way of searching the internet and was surprised to see the lack of information regarding this condition, with the exception of this forum. Most of the in-depth information that is available seems to be centered around people with Crohn's or other digestive diseases.

I was 26 when I was told by my doctor that I had an anal fissure. Some months and many visits later after visiting a colorectal surgeon I was told that I had a fistula. Now, my fissure healed up on it's own but I was left to deal with the fistula. He recommended surgery, as this is the only way to address that problem. I was hesitant since I knew absolutely nothing about anal fistulas and after doing a bit of research was horrified by the prospect of what could happen: bowel incontinence, fistula reoccurrence, etc...

When this whole fistula mess started there was a lot of both pus and blood, and there were many times it would seep through my clothing, which can be quite embarrassing if you're out and about in public, and I would end up having to wash my shorts or pants after one wearing. It's now almost a year later and the drainage from the fistula is next to nothing; a little bit here or there and I have only once had what could be described as semi-significant drainage in at least 6 months (and that occurred with some major soreness which lasted less than a day). This is all after I had started gently cleaning the area with a wash cloth with soap and warm water during my daily morning shower and pat-drying it afterwards (perhaps this has helped? - it was recommended that I do this by the cr surgeon). I have also not experienced any bleeding really except for the very little that occurs once in a while if I wipe near the area too roughly after using the bathroom and some in the discharge when I first started cleaning the area in said showers (but that has stopped).

Now, I do not have Crohn's or any other digestive disease. A pamphlet that the surgeon gave me did mention that an abscess, which it says will turn into a fistula 50% of the time, can be caused by among other things, inflammation of the intestine. A little less than a year prior I did have some inflammation following a bad bacterial infection of the intestines due to something bad that I ate while traveling. Following the infection I had a colonoscopy to check for Crohn's or any other problems and everything came back completely normal and okay, and soon after all was back to normal. I've had two regular physicals since then, including blood work, and as of two weeks ago I am under the assumption that I am in good health since all of the results were within normal range and my physician has not said otherwise nor recommended any any kind of change to my current lifestyle, diet or otherwise.

My question is, since I have not read of any similar experiences to mine: could all of this indicate that my fistula is relatively shallow and will only require the incision, cleaning, and sewing up? Or perhaps this will only require a seton stich/drain and not the full tied loop? Or has anyone had a similar fistula experience to mine? I can't find any case that is similar to mine or any information on these shallow or non-complex fistulas and I am quite concerned about experiencing problems or complications following the procedure as I'm still relatively young (too young for incontinence for example) and cannot afford to have an on-going problem of this nature as it would seriously interrupt and/or jeopardize work, further educational pursuits, and just about my entire life in general.

Thank you in advance for any tips or information.

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