An anal fistula is an abnormal canal that forms between the anal canal and the skin surface. It is inflammatory in nature and occurs as a result of a blockage and subsequent infection of the anal glands and their outlets. These glands may get blocked for some reason which leads to the formation of an anal fistula. An anal fistula can form into an abscess if the opening of the fistula gets covered and pus begins to accumulate within it. An abscess is considered to be acute when it occurs for a period of less than 6 weeks. Beyond this period, it is considered to be a chronic case of anal fistula. Apart from the pain felt as a result of the fistula, there are no significant health risks associated with an anal fistula. The only risk that has been linked to it is the spread of infections, particularly if the tissue around the fistula or within the fistula is ruptured in some way.
An anal fistula can result from some sort of trauma in the anus which could include the passage of hard and large bowel movements. It could also result from injury due to anal sex. An anal fistula is often referred to as an anorectal fistula because it may originate in the rectum as well. In some cases, women suffering from an anal fistula may have one of the ends of the fistula opening into the vagina.
There are many different options for fistula treatment. Surgery is considered to be a long term solution as it can close the fistula completely and rectify the problem for a long period of time. There are other non-surgical options as well that can be explored by a patient. These include a surgical incision to open the fistula and regularly treating it so that it heals completely. Some doctors suggest leaving the fistula alone and placing a drainage system to make sure that it is always easily drained. An anorectal fistula repair procedure usually involves invasive surgery which may leave a scar on the skin. Some surgeries are not recommended as they may involve damage to the sphincter muscle. This happens when the fistula crosses the anal sphincter muscle. Invasive treatments for anal fistulae are often associated with incontinence which can be quite embarrassing and inconvenient for the individual. Long term solutions may include the consumption of dietary fiber which will help prevent hard and heavy stools.
Anorectal fistulas can be treated using Laser. Actual laser operation takes just 15 mins so if you are insured you might want to go in for this.
If you do not want any kind of fistula surgery nor laser treatment, you can try these home remedies for fistula relief.
Natural Cures for Fistula
First get the infection out by doing a sitz bath every night. Sit in warm water containing potassium permanganate for 10 mins.
If there are hard edges, granulation or scabbing, prepare a poultice of Calendula (OR St. John's wort)
This has wonderful wound healing ability. Do not use it if there is fresh blood and if the wound hasnt healed. Once infection is out totally, add lavender essential oil to calendula and apply.
Comfrey herb is known to heal and close wounds quickly. You can make this at home or use any OTC ointment containing comfrey.
Recipe for home made comfrey treatment for fistula healing -
- Dried or powdered comfrey
- Wheat germ oil
Mix two parts of wheat germ oil and honey in equal proportion. Comfrey should be mixed into this till you obtain a thick consistency. Spread this paste on a gauze piece and put on the wound about half inch thickness. Cover with bandage. Leave this on the wound constantly and reapply as needed. Do not remove original application, just put on more.