Anal fistula:causes, symptoms and treatment

The human body has many connections between different organs. This allows proper operation of the same. However, sometimes abnormal connections can occur, which considerably affect health . This condition is often called a fistula.

In this article we will see what anal fistula is about, how it can be diagnosed, as well as the best treatment in its presence.

What is an anal fistula?

The connection between two parts of the body, which should not be joined, is called a fistula . This can occur in various ways. For example, a connection between the skin and the bile ducts, the throat and the neck, the arteries and the lungs, the navel and the intestines, etc.

Among the causes that lead to fistulas we find injuries suffered at any time in life , which leave this abnormal connection among their damages. It is also possible that you suffer from it due to a surgical intervention. When a person suffers from infections, especially when they are frequent, or from swelling, an anal fistula can also appear in the body.

Types of anal fistulas

Due to their characteristics, fistulas can be divided into 4 large groups. Depending on its class, a different treatment may be indicated.

  • blind. They are those that have a single opening, but always affect two organs. This last point is essential to include it in this group.
  • complete. Unlike the blind, they have two openings, inside and outside the body. horseshoes . It refers to its shape and route, these being the ones located in the area of ​​the anus, joining the skin.
  • incomplete. There are some anal fistulas that start in the skin, but whose route does not end in any other organ. Although there is some controversy about it, it is also considered as part of this health problem, even if it is not finished or complete.

In the presence of any of them, it is necessary to visit an expert doctor, who will determine the type of fistula, as well as the best treatment to follow.

Symptoms of an anal fistula

Anal fistula can cause various symptoms, in addition to the union of organs in the body. These are highlighted by the National Library of Medicine.

  • Hole in the skin. It is another of the factors that must be present to consider the problem as a fistula.
  • Redness or inflammation. Due to this abnormality in the body, there is often a red color as well as swelling, especially on the outside of the body.
  • pain. In the same way, you can have a lot of pain in the affected area. For example, if it involves the anus, it can be intensified when the person sits down or when passing stool.
  • General malaiseThe fever stands out in this picture , which can be of high intensity and present for long periods.
  • infection. The symptoms of the infection include the presence of discharge and pus.

Depending on the health condition of each person, as well as the conditions suffered in the past, they can make them more prone to having a fistula.

Fistula Treatment

The doctor must carry out a complete review of the patient in order to determine if there is an anal fistula and what its class is . Once the condition is confirmed, the treatment to follow can be indicated. These are some of the options available to reduce or completely eliminate fistulas.

Surgical interventions

It is the most recommended treatment because it allows the elimination of the problem from the root. There are various methods, and the choice will depend on the severity of the fistula and its location.

  • fistulotomy. It refers to the process where the internal part of the anal fistula is reached, removing part of it and sealing the opening. In the most serious cases, both the area that makes contact with the other organ and part of the tunnel must be removed.
  • Ligature. It is a much more complex process, but it prevents part of the tunnel that has been created from being removed. Latex is placed and, after a few days, it is removed. That period of time allows it to spread, making it easier to seal.

It should always be the doctor who decides if any of these methods will be used, or another available one, because he is the one who knows best the risks and benefits of each process.

Use of fishing line

For this treatment, a seton is placed to drain the contents of the fistula . This allows it to close completely and, after a short period, to heal completely. It can only be used in cases where the problem is still mild or moderate.


The use of medicines can have two objectives. First, in patients with fistula caused by Crohn’s disease , it is usually administered both to eliminate Crohn’s disease and its effect. In this way, it is possible to completely eliminate the anal fistula.

On the other hand, the use of medications can be indicated in order to treat the symptoms that the fistula produces . If this is the case, it will only be prescribed by the doctor when the problem is very mild and does not require surgical intervention.

More invasive methods

Depending on the condition of the disease, the healthcare professional might determine that even more intense or invasive treatment is required. This usually occurs in patients with anal fistula. To do this, two methods can be followed.

  • Ostomy. It refers to the opening that is created in the abdomen. Now, a bag is placed, which helps to collect the feces in it. Because the anal area is left unused during this period, the fistula can give way considerably, or even disappear completely.
  • flap. It is also possible to use patient tissue from other parts of the body and fill the tunnel. Thus the problem is eliminated.

Although it is true that anal fistula can cause many discomforts and problems, there are also different ways to treat it , achieving the best solution.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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