By Anonymous, UK
In January 2018 I was diagnosed with an anal fistula. A fistula is a tunnel that has formed with an opening at either end, one outside the anal entrance and one – or more, as in my experience I had two – inside. It becomes increasingly painful to sit, poo and move around and then very painful 24/7. It can be caused by Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis or certain other bowel conditions. It can develop as a consequence of an abscess forming and then bursting, and often is accompanied by constipation initially. It is notable for the pain experienced.
The main form of treatment is surgery. The fistula or the tunnel can be opened up from one end to the other all in one go or in stages. There is a risk of incontinence in some types of fistula that involve the anal sphincters if they are opened all at once. An alternative approach is to insert a Seton suture – which is usually a length of plastic which is put through the tunnel and tied in a loop and this helps to drain the fistula and it can then be opened up gradually over a number of weeks rather than all at once.
My symptoms had started with what seemed like faecal incontinence which only happened after I had passed stool. I left this alone for a while to see if it would stop on its own, like many of us do. It didn’t, I was leaking poo through the fistula, leaving me sore, uncomfortable, inflamed and concerned. I had bleeding from my anus and a lot of pain. As time went on my anus became swollen and bright red most of the time, looking and feeling a lot like bad sunburn. I didn’t however have an abscess or any other bowel condition, though I regularly had constipation. Continue reading “Anal Fistula – Holding On … Is it Worth it?”