Colon and rectal health play a large role in overall bowel health. An anal fistula is accompanied by a seris of uncomfortable symptoms that can impact your quality of life.
The specialists at Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists in Parker, Colorado, can detect and treat anal fistulas. Dr. Lisa Perryman, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is board-certified in colon and rectal surgery and can provide you with the recommended treatment to alleviate anal pain.
What is an anal fistula?
An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the end of the rectum and the skin near the anus. It is the result of an infection causing pus to develop in the nearby tissue. When the pus drains, a small tunnel is left behind. When this happens, you’ll notice symptoms like discomfort, irritation, or bleeding. Medication cannot cure an anal fistula.
Surgery is recommended for most cases.
What causes anal fistulas?
Inside your anus are glands that make fluid. In some cases, they may get blocked or clogged. When that happens, they become a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria create a pocket of infected tissue. This is known as an abscess. If you don’t undergo the proper treatment, the abscess will grow.
Sometimes, the abscess will puncture the skin near your anus so the abscess can drain or it may need to be surgically drained. The fistula is the small tunnel that connects the gland to the opening. Once this happens, you have an uncomfortable anal fistula.
Anal fistula symptoms
An anal fistula will present itself with a few symptoms that may give you an indication something is wrong. Here are a few things to watch for:
- Skin irritation or discoloration around the anus
- Throbbing pain that occurs when you sit, stand, move, or use the bathroom
- Smelly or colored discharge from your anus
- Pus or blood when you have a bowel movement
- A fever
You may experience all or a few of these symptoms. Regardless of the symptom, it’s important to tell your doctor.
Treatment options are available for anal fistulas. If you detect and treat a fistula early on, you likely won’t have any complications or require a hospital stay. For a simple anal fistula, Dr. Perryman will cut the skin and soft tissues surrounding the tunnel. The opening will heal internally.
Dr. Perryman may also use a plug to close the fistula. For more complicated scenarios, she may insert a drain (seton) into the opening. The seton helps drain the fluid before surgery.
In most cases, anal fistulas are cured with surgery and a short recovery time.
Uncomfortable symptoms of anal fistulas can be treated by Dr. Perryman. Visit the specialists at Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists. Call us or book your appointment online.