A fistula is a passage between a cylinder-like or tubular beginning and other body tissue or 2 tubular organs. Fistulas may also form special places and variations inside the body, however anorectal fistulas are the most common. Surgical operations can also be used to operate a fistula, however a good lifestyle may also heal fistula.
- Causes and factors: Most of the fistula are related to chronic inflammatory disease like Crohn’s disease and tuberculosis. Some fistula may also result from diverticulitis, tumors, or chronic trauma. A surgical treatment or any damage can also cause development of a fistula like biliary or arteriovenous fistulas. Recto-vaginal fistulas caused by Crohn’s disease, obstetric injuries because of delivery, radiation therapy or cancer. Fistulas in kids or babies are more common in boys as compared to girls.
- Sign and Symptoms: Major signs and symptoms of any fistula are:
- Pain caused by any infection.
- Blood loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Weight loss.
- Types of fistula: 90% of fistula are anorectal fistula. Rest of 10% are:
- Blind Fistula: This is a joining between two organs, one is closed while the other one is open which leads to a complete fistula if it remains untreated.
- Incomplete Fistula: This is a joining that has only one external opening.
- Complete Fistula: This joining has both internal and external openings.
- Horseshoe Fistula: This joining is U-shaped, between two external openings around anus.
2. Making lifestyle changes:
- Eat a balanced diet:
Healthy diet will keep your stomach and digestive system healthy and safe. Staying away from spicy food, junk meals and fatty meals will provide you a more healthy digestive system that is much less liable to problems. Eat extra whole grains, leafy green veggies, fruits, and lean meats. Taking fibers and cereal meals in your diet will prevent you from constipation, which could damage a fistula. Avoid those kinds of meals you’re allergic to or that disturb your digestive system. Keep in mind that it’s not the same for all people. Fatty meals increase the risk of blocking an anal fistula tunnel and develop perianal abscess that cause pain in humans affected by fistulas.
- Drink more water:
Try to drink at least one and a half liters (8 glasses) of water in a day. Don’t consume alcohol or drink soda. Drink large quantities of water and juices. This will help you to prevent constipation which pressurizes your fistula. If you drink an extra amount of water, it will moisturize your intestines and make your waste flow smooth. That’s why when you drink extra water you need to go to the washroom repeatedly. Water also stops blockage of intestines especially the patient suffering from digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, toxic megacolon etc.
- Use pillows:
If you have a routine to sit for several hours at work, don’t put pressure on your hips, back, spin or neck especially for those you suffer from anal fistula. If you still want to work in a sitting position then you should use a pillow or donut pillow under your hips.
- Use absorbent pads:
If your fistula causes leakage then wear soft and absorbent pads. If you have leakage of any blood, pus or fluids out from your fistula then wear pad as it acts as an absorbent surface. Adult diapers are also available but it is heavier and big in size as compared to pads.
- Taking painkillers:
Anorectal fistulas cause bad pain especially when you’re sitting. Consult your doctor for proper meditation and treatment. Many painkillers like Ibuprofen, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is used to treat fistula pain. Fistula also cause irritation sensation and redness along with pain along with perianal skin because of pus leakage.
- Strengthen your immune system:
Take a healthy diet that contains multivitamins like omega-3s, omega-6s, vitamin C, fish, olive oil and citrus fruits will help to strengthen your immune system and decrease the risk of inflammation due to fistula. You may also take supplements if your doctor recommends you.
3) Treatment for fistula:
- Consult your doctor: Must visit your doctor for the proper diagnosis. Sigmoidoscopy is used for diagnosis of any Crohn’s disease, cancer, fistula and other diseases. To know you proper condition and for doctor’s satisfaction and confirmation, He also perform one of the following test:
- Computerized Tomography Scan (CT scan): Specifically for the patients with Crohn’s disease, a CT scan shows the inflammatory stage earlier than the feasible formation of a fistula, further to displaying the cavities of abscess to determine if surgical care is needed.
- Managing Resonance Imaging (MRI): This is a useful technique to determine any enteric fistulas by showing any inflammatory modifications or accumulation of fluids inside the fistula tube.
- Fistulography: That is an X-ray technique wherein a comparison media is injected at the outer site of a fistula to make clear the fistula direction and how deep it is through the tissues in order to assist in selecting the treatment.
- Ultrasonography: This mixed with physical exam can be used to discover any presence of abscess or fluid accumulation that can reside in the fistula tube.
- Cystoscopy: This is useful for the “enterovesical fistula” that connects the gut with the bladder.
- Microbiological tests: To signify any signal of contamination, particularly in the presence of abscess, a urine culture can be required in case of colovesical fistulas
- Undergo Surgery: The most common surgery for fistula is “fistulotomy”. In this surgery the doctor removes fistula and pus or any fluid filled in it. There is an 85% Success rate for this surgery.
- In fistulotomy for rectal fistulas, a method referred to as endorectal flap might be used. That is where the encircling healthy tissues get positioned in the fistula cavity to ensure the prevention of its blockage by means of feces in case of a recurrent infection.
- A Seton stitch (passing a cord into the fistula so that it will keep it closed throughout the drainage) is also suggested for use in fistulotomy. There is a “Cutting Seton Treatment” known as “Kshar Sutra Therapy,” which is more effective.
Fistula like anorectal fistula cause bad pain and irritation sensation. To avoid this take healthy diet like high intake of whole grains, leafy green veggies, fruits, and lean meats and should avoid junk food, spicy food and fatty meals, Drink extra amount of water regularly around 1.5 liters in a day, use absorbent pads and use soft pillows under your hips and take meditation like painkillers (NSAID or ibuprofen) and follow good and healthy lifestyle. If your Fistula getting worse then you should consult with the doctor for proper treatment like Sigmoidoscopy, CT scan, MRI, fistulography, ultrasonography, cystoscopy and microbiological test and undergo surgery called as fistulotomy or seton stitch which helps you to heal fistula.