Anal fistula

An anal fistula is a tunnel between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus.

Overview

An anal fistula is a tunnel between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus. Symptoms include pain and permanent discharge from the opening of the fistula. Preventive measures include a high-fibre diet and good post-defecation hygiene.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • There is a red nodule (similar to a pimple) near the anus which
    • can be painful when touched
    • sometimes oozes a foul-smelling liquid
  • The surrounding skin is irritated / reddened / painful

The symptoms usually persist until the fistula is treated by a doctor.

Complications

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Endoscopy of the rectum (proctoscopy)
  • Ultrasound (sonography)

Possible therapies

  • Operation (fistulotomy)

What can I do myself?

  • High-fibre diet to encourage soft stools
  • Sufficient exercise
  • Good post-defecation hygiene

When to see a doctor?

  • Pain or itching in the area around the anus
  • Constant weeping in the anal area

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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