Anal fistula is a chronic abnormal communication between the epithelialised surface of the anal canal and usually the perianal skin. They can form when anal abscesses do not heal properly. Anal fistulae originate from the anal glands , which are located between the internal and external anal sphincter and drain into the anal canal. The tract formed by this process is a fistula. Abscesses can recur if the fistula seals over, allowing the accumulation of pus. It can then extend to the surface again - repeating the process. Anal fistulae per se do not generally harm, but can be very painful, and can be irritating because of the drainage of pus it is also possible for formed stools to be passed through the fistula.
Why do we have so much trouble treating anal fistula?
Rectovaginal fistula - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
The anus is that part of the intestinal tract that passes through the muscular canal of the pelvis and anal sphincters. It is the final orifice through which stool passes out of the body. In adults, the anus is 4 to 5 centimeters long. The lower half of the anal canal has sensitive nerve endings. There are blood vessels under the lining, and in its mid portion there are numerous tiny, anal glands. This article describes four disorders that cause anal pain and irritation:. Although all four anal disorders cause some type of anal discomfort or pain, other symptoms vary, depending on the specific anal problem.
Most anal fistulas form in reaction to an anal gland that has developed a pus-filled infection abscess. Even if your abscess drains on its own, you have about the same risk for a fistula. Certain conditions that affect your lower digestive tract or anal area may also increase your risk. These include:. The specialist will ask about your symptoms and your medical history.
A fistula is an abnormal connection via a tunnel-like hole between two organs or vessels. Fistulas can occur in various parts of the body. In women, fistulas involving the genital and urinary tracts are the most common and happen due to prolonged or obstructed childbirth, injury during pelvic surgery, infection, inflammation, or radiation treatment in the pelvis or genital area.