After Meera Rawat, 35, was diagnosed with a fistula in ano, she felt her doubts regarding fistula treatment were not clarified properly by her previous physician.
“Getting fistula surgery done was scary so I decided to come to Sitaram Bhartia for a second opinion,” said Meera.
A fistula in ano is an infected tunnel filled with pus that forms between your anal canal and the outer skin of the buttocks.
Common fistula symptoms include –
- Recurrent pain and swelling in the perianal area
- Smelly discharge – pus or blood – from the anal area
- Throbbing pain that gets worse when you cough, sit or move around
- Fever, chills or fatigue
- Bowel incontinence, or having difficulty in controlling bowel movements
Meera eagerly put forth her questions at her consultation with Dr. Amarchand S. Bajaj, Senior Consultant, General Surgery at Sitaram Bhartia.
What is the best treatment for fistula?
“There is no fistula treatment without surgery as the fistula cannot heal on its own,” said Dr. Bajaj.
Meera was worried when she heard her fistula treatment cannot be done with just conservative management.
Dr. Bajaj was quick to reassure her and explained how fistula surgery is a simple procedure.
Here are the two fistula treatment methods he recommended –
- Minimal-access method: Minimally-invasive surgery like VAAFT surgery causes less pain, is safer with no external scars, and has a quicker recovery period.“It is a day-care surgery so you can be discharged the same day and resume work the next day.”
- Open surgery method: The more conventional open-surgery method, also known as a Fistulectomy, lessens the chances of fistulae from recurring.“The recovery period may be longer in this method as it can take 4-6 weeks to heal post-surgery.”
Fistula treatment without surgery is not a recommended option as fistulae rarely heal by themselves.
It is important you consult your surgeon as early as possible for appropriate fistula treatment.
What happens after my fistula treatment?
“How long does it take for a fistula to heal after surgery?” Meera wanted to know if she needed to take additional measures after her fistula surgery.
“If not treated properly or with wrong aftercare, it may recur and need a more serious surgery.”
Meera was advised to make some lifestyle changes to prevent her symptoms from coming back:
- Proper wound care, as instructed by your doctor, is important. Use Sitz baths in lukewarm water to gently clean the anal area and help yourself feel better symptomatically.
- Adopt a vegetarian diet and a more active lifestyle. Avoid constipation by including more fiber in your daily meals like whole-wheat foods, vegetables, nuts, etc.
- In case symptoms like constipation persist, consult your surgeon for optimal dose of laxatives to soften your stool.
Meera decided to go ahead with her fistula treatment as she did not want to prolong the process any longer.
“I was not expecting to be able to resume my daily routine within a few days! I am glad I got fistula surgery done on time and now I am free of further complications,” said Meera, content with her fistula treatment.
This blog post has been created with editorial inputs from Dr. Amarchand S. Bajaj, who has a special interest in providing sound medical advice in the field of Laparoscopic, Bariatric & General Surgery.