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

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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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