Anyone had successful anal fistula surgery

Edited , 89 users are following.

I have read and heard many horror stories regarding anal fistula surgery. I have heard tales of incontinence, reccurence, severe scarring and infection.

Has anyone had sucessful surgery? Or natural medicine healing?

Stories would be appreciated.


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  • Edited

    I'm 9 weeks post fistulatomy surgery and life has gone back to normal. No incontinence, no real problems at all. I am 95% healed. I still have a small wound, but the discharge is all but gone. I still take soaks 2x per day, mostly as a precaution since I want to make sure everything is clean as can be while I heal the rest of the way. I see my surgeon again in 3 weeks to make sure I am fully healed, but based on my progress I have complete confidence that this mess is behind me (hahahahah, sorry, it's been a long day). Tulip, I think I have seen you posting for a while now. Please don't let the fear consume you! This is a crappy situation, but you have to brave the surgery if you have a fistula, it's really not going to heal otherwise. The surgery wadn't that bad, I only missed a couple of days of work and if you follow doctors orders you can manage the pain and healing. I wish you the best, but please don't be afraid, just get it taken care of and put this experience behind you!!

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    • Edited

      Seriously. It's not worth the pain.

      I was super embarrassed when I developed this "abscess" which over the course of the last 8 years has developed into a semi-complicated fistula. I was in 11th grade and I had to be pulled out of school because of the initial perianal abscess. I could feel it expanding and I developed a high fever, and my mom took me to the emergency room. The ER doctor said the abscess was approximately the size of an apricot. It was drained, dressed(no packing, just a bandage) and I was sent home. I was so elated because I felt better immediately. After the anaesthesia wore off it wasn't even that bad. I had minimal pain medication and it seemed fine. Then, instead of healing from the inside out, it healed on the outside and once again began filling up with pus. I was completed devastated.

      I was 16, and I was FREAKED out. I felt ashamed and ugly, as if I did something wrong. I felt like I would never be able to date anyone or marry someone and have a family. Due to absences, they failed me in every class. I was an A student. I couldn't explain to my friends why I was pulled out of school and in the hospital and I was terrified someone was going to find out and tell the whole school (2500+ kids, biggest in the state) about this hideous wound near my behind.

      I was admitted into a children's hospital, but not before I had to do an enema and colonoscopy prep. I won't go into details but the doctor was awful. I believe I had a seton that was unnecessarily large and taken out too soon. I was then sent on my way. never healed. I've had it for 8 years. I didn't tell my parents or my doctor because of the horrible experience I had at the children's hospital and being pulled out of school. I felt like I could keep it under control. I decided I'd keep it a secret and move on. And for 6 and a half years, I did just that.

      It was very small, just two tiny openings where the seton wound tried to heal but didn't and was still draining. By bathing two and sometimes three times a day, I was able to gently drain the wound myself. Sometimes it would get backed up, and to make a long story a little bit shorter, I eventually resorted to popping and draining them myself. This was very rare and solved the swelling problem immediately. But ultimately they never healed.

      This didn't bother me too much until a little over a year ago. My family and I traveled out of state for a week to attend a wedding. I noticed while we were there (very hot southern state, we're from the PNW) that the area was getting a little more irritated than usual. Not being at home, I didn't have the things I needed to effectively drain the wound, so I'd take hot baths and try to use a washcloth to open it up a bit.

      When we arrived home from our trip, things took a turn for the worse. I felt like the abscessed area was growing larger. We went to urgent care, who sent me to the emergency room, who, I'm not even kidding, gave me two vicodin and told me to call my primary care doctor. Suddenly I was scared and anxiety-ridden all over again.

      Anyway this is taking forever to type out so I'll just say that since that time last year I've been on antibiotics to keep the swelling down and infection. I highly recommend NOT waiting to fix this type of issue. Because I waited, I developed scar tissue. This means that the little tunnels in the fistula have to find other ways out. Those two little openings I had to begin with 8 years ago turned into four openings.

      I was hurting all the time. I'm a manager and I work on my feet 8 hours a day at a very fast paced job. The antibiotics were making me sick to my stomach every day.

      Anyway finally about a month ago I hit my breaking point and finally scheduled the damn surgery with my specialist. Sulked around and drank my delicious gallon of colonoscopy prep yesterday(ew) and then today I had the surgery for a seton. Basically keeps the wound open so it can drain. It reduces the swelling, which needs to happen so that my surgeon can see what's causing the fistula itself. So far I'm feeling okay. It was a much better experience than the children's hospital. I'm so relieved that I've finally done this so we can move on to the next step and get this thing GONE.

      I've never posted on a site like this before, to be honest I never even searched for anything about fistulas online because my anxiety is so high that it literally keeps me up at night. I'm really glad there are other people who have stories like mine.

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    • Posted

      as I read this it was like i was typing.

      mine also started in 11 grade

      it went away for a while then came back. last year September It got very bad and finally i went to a surgeon who deals with our problem and he operated its now 11 months and I'm healed. no fistula no puss and all that horrible things I went through

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    • Posted

      don't Google and stress yourself. it will be ok. its a process but once you go to the right surgeon and have it operated you will be on your way to good health

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    • Posted

      Dr Cathel Mc Leod in Portland ME fixed me with a cutting seton a year and five months ago. Then dr Jerald Hurdle in Waterville Maine handled the physical therapy for post surgery stenosis.
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  • Posted

    For me the surgery was surprisingly painless. I only had a hollow ache for the first two days after surgery and then nothing at all for the remainder of the 12 weeks it took to heal. How well you handle it I think is based on a number of factors- general health (e.g. are you one of the roughly 90% of fistula patients that don't have any underlying disease), cleanliness, age, diet, and, of course, the skill of your surgeon. I feel very thankful to my surgeon that the worst part of my recovery was the worrying that it might come back...the pain itself was virtually nonexistent. The other annoying thing was washing the area down after every bowel movement (and since I was eating 35-40g of fiber per day at the time, that meant 2-3 poops per day).

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    • Posted

      Thanks to you all for reading my question and answering. I am glad to hear that there are success stories, thanks. 

      I am constantly thinking about the problem I have and it is always there in my mind I have had a few nightmares about it too, lol!

      It makes me not want to go out. 

      After antibiotics I'm still not happy about it and will be trying to get a GP appointment soon and hopefully fingers crossed get referred. I am NHS - the first time my abscess op was by a bowel surgeon but the second abscess surgey i had was by a general surgeon  the 2nd op I had was not because of an abscess  - it was because the outside of my wound healed and left a 5mm pocket under my skin and packing couldn't get in so they operated and made an even bigger incision though no infection was there...). I don't know if i can but i think i will ask for a bowel surgeon referral.

      I am slim, don't have diabetes and i don't smoke or drink...

      Thank you all for helping

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  • Posted

    I'm 1 month post-op and doing fairly well.  I apparently had the fistula over 10 years.  I thought it was an in-grown hair which wouldn't heal and flaired up about once every two months, resulting in me squeazing a little pus out.  Well, in December of 2016 the little pus turned into a large abcess which totally freaked me out.

    I bypassed a general practitioner and went right to a colon surgeon.  He diagnosed me with an anal fistula.  My sugery was scheduled for the end of January.  In the mean time I went through 4 courses of anti-biotics to keep the infection at bay.

    The morning of the surgery I also had an elective colonoscopy at the advise of the surgeon (I just turned 50 and never had one).  Because the fistula did not pass the sphincter, into the rectum the Dr. was able to lay the fistula open.

    I was off work a week.  It was a week before I could sit for any time without a ring cushion.  It was fairly painful for about two days.  But after that I didn't have to take any pain medication.  It drained chunky white discharge for about three weeks.  After a month, I still have a little throbbing at time and some soreness.  No infection though.  I also have the urge to make a bowel movement, pretty much all the time.  I'm hoping that will subside with more healing time.

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