Anal Fistula Symptoms and Treatment

A number of small glands are inside the anus. In some cases, these glands can become blocked and the cavity will become infected, which is known as an anal abscess. There’s a 50 percent chance one of the abscesses could become an anal fistula in which a small tunnel connects the infected gland inside the anus to an opening on the skin around the anus.

Symptoms of Anal Fistula

Anal Fistulas can cause the following symptoms:

  • Swelling around the anus
  • Pain around the anus
  • Uncomfortable and painful bowel movements
  • Bloody drainage or pus around the anus
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Contact your physician immediately if you notice the above symptoms. To properly diagnose an anal fistula, your physician will examine the area around the anus. If the fistula is not visible, the physician will have to perform an anoscopy, ultrasound or MRI.

Treating an Anal Fistula

Surgery is usually necessary to treat an anal fistula. The physician will choose one of the following treatments based on the position of fistula:

  • Fistulotomy – Fistulotomy is the most common surgical procedure used to treat a fistula. In the procedure, the surgeon cuts the full length of the fistula to drain the contents.
  • Advancement Flap Procedures – More complex fistulas might be treated with advancement flap procedures. The advancement flap is removed from the rectum. The flap is then reattached after the fistula tract is removed.
  • Seton – If you’re high-risk for developing incontinence, a surgeon might consider a seton, which is a piece of thread that’s left in the fistula tract.
  • Fibrin Glue – This non-surgical option involves fibrin glue being injected into the fistula to seal the tract. Though the procedure is safe and painless, it’s not the best option for long-term results.

Anal Fistula Treatment in Rochester

Contact Rochester Colon & Rectal Surgeons, P.C. at (585) 222-6566 if you are suffering from an anal fistula.