Our intestinal tract contains many parts. Out of all those parts, the last one is the anal canal. This anal canal basically consists of rectum and anus. The rectum is the last place for the storage of feces. Just after the rectum comes an anus. It is basically an external opening for the removal of waste material of the body. Glands present inside the anus are helpful in making mucus. This mucus combines with feces and helps them to come out easily. Sometimes, the infection occurs in these glands. As a result, that area becomes swell. This swelling develops into this problem. So, let’s start our discussion with the fact that what is this fistula? What are the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of anal fistula?
It is basically a small hole that forms near the anus, from where feces come out of the body. It occurs because of inflammation in the glands of anal. Due to which pus starts forming in the anal tissues and the hole. It may also occur in other areas like the vagina or urinary tract depending upon the conditions. Before going into further detail, first, have a look at what are the basic symptoms of anal fistula:
Symptoms of an Anal Fistula
Symptoms of anal fistula vary from person to person. In some cases, symptoms of anal fistula appear very soon. Although in some cases they occur after some time. So, these are some common symptoms of anal fistula:
- A person feels swelling in the anal most often.
- Mostly, it causes severe pain in the anus and at the time of bowel movements.
- One of the major symptoms of anal fistula is that smell containing pus comes out of the anus.
- A person feels continuous irritation in the anus, especially at the time of drainage.
- Continuous feeling of fatigue is another symptom of this problem.
- Mostly, a person suffers from high fever in this situation.
Causes of an Anal Fistula
There are many causes of anal fistula. It may also occur because of some other diseases. So, let’s see in detail what are the major causes of anal fistula:
This disease basically causes inflammation in the intestine of the person. Another name of this disease in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It can lead to severe pain and ulcers in the intestinal tract. Due to which, pus starts forming in the anal tissues. As a result, it causes anal fistula.
As we know that everything has its side effects. Same is that case with radiations. Radiations are used in the treatment of many diseases like cancer. When these radiations pass through any intestinal area these may cause infection in those areas. This infection spread towards the anus and causes anal fistula.
If the person suffers from any injury on anal, he/she may face this issue. This injury affects the normal functioning of anal glands. Due to which, infection occurs in these glands. It may result in the formation of pus and a person face this problem.
Sexually transmitted diseases
This problem may also occur with sexual contact. Sometimes a person comes in contact with another person who is suffering from this problem. This contact increases the chances of infection in that person.
Diverticulitis is basically a disease of the large intestine. In diverticulitis, small pouches start forming in the large intestine. Due to which, they cause infection and blockage in the large intestine. In some cases, this infection travels toward the anus and results in this problem.
If any patient has rectal cancer, he has maximum chances of getting this anal problem. As cancer causes inflammation in cells. This inflammation travels to the anus of a person. Due to which fistula starts forming there.
This problem causes many complications. It may cause some problems even after the treatment. There are maximum chances of the fistula to develop again after treatment. Another major problem occurs because it is difficult in the removal of feces. After treatment, a person sometimes feels unable to control the bowel movement.
Anal fistula diagnosis
If you face any symptoms of anal fistula, you must go for its diagnosis. First of all, the doctor will diagnose the problem through a physical exam. He/she looks into the opening of anal. Then he/she touch that area to find if there is any pus or pain. This may help the doctor to know about the external area of anal. After confirmation, the doctor goes through the following methods for the complete internal diagnosis of anal fistula.
It is basically a thin tube. The doctor inserts it into the outer opening of the anus. When it touches the fistula, a person feels severe pain. In this way, it is helpful in the diagnosis of anal fistula.
This is also a small instrument that helps in the diagnosis of anal fistula. The doctors use this instrument to look inside the anal of the patient. They insert this instrument a few inches into the anal. After that, they see at which area the fistula is present.
MRI basically shows the complete detail of an anal fistula. In this method, doctors scan the area of anal. As a result, it shows the complete image of anal as well as of the pelvic floor.
This technique basically helps in the identification of the area of infection as well as the surrounding muscles and tissues. In this method, the doctor passes the sound waves from anal. As a result, these waves show the complete image on the computer screen and helps in the diagnosis of anal fistula.
Treatment of Anal Fistula
Basically, it is not a normal problem. You cannot deal with this problem at home. You must have to visit a doctor for the treatment of anal fistula. Sometimes the doctor uses some antibiotics for the treatment of anal fistula. Although, its treatment also depends on the exact location of the fistula. However, if the patient still suffers from this problem, then the doctor goes for different surgeries. So, let’s see in detail which surgeries are best for the treatment of anal fistula.
This is one of the most common surgeries used in the treatment of anal fistula. In this surgery, the doctor simply cut the internal fistula opening. It helps in removing the pus from the tissues. After that, the doctor closes that area with the help of stitches. After some days a patient gets relief. But if the situation is more complicated, then sometimes the doctor removes some channels.
Fibrin glue and collagen plug
In this treatment, the doctor closes the internal opening of the fistula after clearing it. The doctor closes the fistula external opening through glue. That glue is made up of fibrin protein. So, in this way, the fistula gets close and remain safe from further infection.
The surgeon places a silk or latex string (seton) into the fistula This treatment of anal fistula is useful in a complicated situation. In this method, the doctor basically avoids the cutting of the fistula opening. The doctor places a silk sting into the fistula tract of the patient. As a result, that area starts opening with time. When the fistula opens the doctor easily removes the infected tissues from that area. He/she closes that area of fistula and it starts healing with time.
Ostomy and stoma
In this method, the doctor first creates a temporary opening in the abdomen of the patient. As a result, the waste from the fistula starts moving in a collection bag from that temporary opening. Furthermore, when the fistula becomes clear, the doctor closes that opening and seal that opening. After some days the fistula starts healing.
Prevention of Anal Fistula
We cannot avoid any problem totally. All we can do is to take some measures for the prevention of this problem. It is basically not a difficult task. We just have to follow some steps for the prevention of this problem. These steps are as follows.
- We must pass our stool easily and comfortably. Otherwise, it may result in this problem.
- For the prevention of this anal problem, we must try to keep that l area dry.
- We must take care of cleanliness for the prevention of this problem.
- We should try to take enough fiber in the diet. It helps in dealing with constipation. As a result, a person stays safe from this problem.
- We should try to keep our body hydrated, as it also helps in the prevention of this problem.
An anal fistula is one of the common problems that many people face these days. It is basically an area near the anal where pus starts gathering. As a result, a person suffers from severe pain and face difficulty in stool passing. Causes and symptoms of anal fistula vary from person to person. But a person should immediately go for the treatment of anal fistula after its diagnosis. Although, a person should also follow some measures for the prevention of anal fistula.