This article will teach you how to treat and detect a rectal fistula. Rectal fistulas can be embarrassing to talk to your doctor about. Rectal fistulas need to be addressed with your doctor because they can lead to more health problems.
- Detection of rectal fistulas – Fistulas are small tunnels or openings. These fistulas can channel from the rectum to the skin, making another small opening in the skin which is easily detected. Fistulas nearer the skin can be felt under the skin, and feel like a cord. Fistulas can also be totally internal, like one running from the rectum to the vagina in females. Fistulas can be caused from birth defects, infections within the body, injury or trauma, cancer, and cancer treatments. Often times fistulas start out as small abscesses within the body that rupture, causing the start of a tunnel-like fistula. If the fistula starts out as an abscess, a person may experience pain, fever, or anal leakage. In rectal fistulas pain with bowel movements is the number one complaint. To detect rectal fistulas that aren't openly visible, a doctor will use a scope or a colonoscopy.
- Treatment of rectal fistulas varies depending on the severity of the fistula and if there is an underlying disease causing the fistulas. Most rectal fistulas need to be treated surgically because they do not go away on their own. A fistulotomy is a procedure in which the surgeon cuts open the channel that has formed, and the sides of the fistula are stitched down so it can heal. Some doctors now use fibrin glue to block the fistula instead of cutting it open. After surgery, it is imperative that you eat a diet high in fiber and drink a lot of water to avoid constipation which can keep the rectal fistual at bay.