Just been diagnosed with an Anal Fistula

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After suffering from anal abscesses for over a year, I've been diagnosed with a fistula.  My colon/rectum doctor has scheduled surgery. What would happen if I don't have the surgery? 

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  • Posted

    Hi! I had an abscess in Sept 2015, I had it drained then they put a wick (packing) in the wound.. It healed too quick on the outside before the inside healed and I had to have the wound made larger so it could be packed every day until it healed. It healed by end of Oct 2015, and was ok,, then last year a tiny hole opened. I stopped eating sugar all was ok but lately the hole opened again I think it's a fistula but don't want surgery. I can feel a tiny tube underneath my scar which I think is the tunnel of the fistula. It drains only occasionly. I don't want the surgery affecting my life, should i leave it alone? I bath all the time I have a little drainge only drainage after being to the bathroom.

    I am 38 and female, it makes me feel dirty and manky, I am scared the surgery will be a botch job from what horror stories I've read. A seton sounds horrific and dirty. 

    I am slim, I ride, cycle, fell walk and conquered many mountains. I don't smoke or drink alcohol. Can't understand why!!!

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    • Posted

      I was told (by my family doctor) to let my abscesses drain naturally and continue with warm compresses and sits baths. I was put on antibiotics every time. Still they cam back. Each time more painful and larger. It was my dermatologist that referred me to a colon/rectum surgeon that specializes in this type of condition. He told me that it would only continue to get worse. What started out with cysts that occurred yearly to every 6 months and now monthly. I'm tired of this and the antibiotics that I'm take are now causing a rash. 

      Im afraid that my only option is surgery. I can't keep doing this.

      I'm a 56 year old female who is slim and works out daily. Walking (4 to 6 miles a day) and weights 3 days a week. I use to ride my bike but having the abscesses has put a stop to this.

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  • Posted

    Hello. you talk here about your fitness and being slim but how is your diet? what sort of foods and liquids do you take each week?
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  • Posted

    So your diet is good too. Well done.

    I use cronometer on my laptop (free) to monitor my nutrient intake because even though my diet is good I am still usually low on potassium, iron, zinc and calcium and to make sure my vit B's and fibre are on the mark too. It is not a great application but it helps keep me right each day.

    When I had my fistula I ate way over the recommended amount of nutrients for 2 to 3 months and as much raw veg as I could manage. 80% veg 20% fruit. No sugar,  honey,  chocolate,  cakes, biscuits, alcohol, caffeine. It was extremely hard but it healed my fistula.

    I now drink veggie juice most days to keep me topped up as eating that amount of veg every day took up alot of time but the veggie juice doesn't give you enough but it keeps me topped up to stop it returning.

    Saying all that diet is not the only answer, it just worked for me. everyone is different.

    If diet does not help it start to heal then it is not a good idea to leave it. If you already have a fistula a seton, two types draining and cutting/draining is one way to go and you can keep those in for a while to try to let it heal that way. It just depends where your fistula is  and how high or low risk surgery is. Try the Fistula Support Group (Colorectal), you will get lots of support there from many people going through the same thing and it will help you to make a more informed decision about surgery along with your surgeon and doctors help. My own website has lots of information too. Perianal Abscess organisation. The best thing is to get as much information as possible. It is scary but you can get through this. Not easy to stay calm and have a clear head about it but truly the more info you have the better you will feel you have some control over the situation and that gives you some peace of mind.

    Feel free to ask anything anytime. take care of yourself. hope you are well soon.

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  • Posted

    I'd advise you to go for surgery. I have suffered from anal fistula for twenty years. Please find an anorectal surgeon who is specialized in performing such procedure. You've asked what if you don't take up surgery and the answer is that you will get pus and blood which keeps coming time and again. If it doesn't drain,it causes so much pain,throbbing pain until it bursts. I wish you get well soon!

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    • Posted

      The abscesses started about a year ago. Every 6 months or so. My doctor ordered sits baths and warm compresses plus antibiotics. She basically told me that I would have to live with it. That there was nothing she could do. Finally after they began appearing monthly (this summer), my OBGYN and my dermatologist both referred me to a colon and rectal surgeon. These guys specialize in this type of surgery. My surgery is scheduled for November but I'm still thinking about it. 

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