What Is an Fistula ?
An anal fistula is a tunnel that runs from inside the anus — the hole your body uses to get rid of solid waste — to somewhere in the skin around it. It usually follows an infection that didn’t heal the right way. Your doctor can repair the fistula, but you’ll need surgery for that.
If the doctor thinks you have an anal fistula, they’ll ask about your medical history and give you a physical exam.
Some fistulas are easy to spot. Others aren’t. Sometimes they close on their own, then open back up. Your doctor will look for signs of oozing fluid or bleeding. The doctor might stick a finger into your anus during the exam.
The doctor will probably send you to a specialist in colon and rectal problems for more exams or imaging tests like X-rays or a CT scan. You might even need a colonoscopy. For this test, the doctor will put a tube with a camera on the end into your anus to look at the inside of your bowels. You’ll be asleep when this happens.
What Are the Symptoms?The most common symptoms are:
- Swelling around your anus
You might also notice:
- Painful bowel movements or urination
- A foul-smelling liquid oozing from a hole near your anus
If you have any of these symptoms, call a doctor.