Helping you to cope with the pain of fistulas

Information on Fistulas

You can get a fistula as a result of an infection or an abscess (collection of pus). It can also be caused by conditions that affect the bowel such as Crohn’s disease. If you are diagnosed with a fistula, you will also be tested for Crohn’s, as unfortunately the two go hand in hand. Crohn’s sufferers are more prone to developing fistulas.

Fistulas most often occur as a result of one or more perianal abcesses. A perianal fistula is a collection of pus under the skin next to the anal canal (back passage). It is usually caused by an infection of the glands of the anal canal. This presents as a painful lump in the area and may be associated with a fever. The treatment involves drainage of the pus usually by operation. Some of these infections go on to form a longstanding fistula (a track running from the skin near the anus to the inside of the anal canal). These intermittently swell and discharge pus and blood. The treatment involves surgery to either open the track to the skin or close the inside opening.

So in laymans terms, a fistula is a tunnel that connects two organs or vessels that normally wouldn’t be connected. The fistulas need to be treated and closed off with surgery. There are different techniques used in surgery to do this. But before a fistula can be closed off, it needs to be kept open to ensure that all infection and pus from the abcesses has been drained. To keep the fistula open, surgeons will insert a seton under general anesthetic. A seton is a surgical cord that is run into the fistula opening, through the fistula track, out the anus and then tied together, so essentually it runs around in a loop. This stops the fistula opening closing up and allows the pus to drain out over time so that there is no longer any infection inside the fistula.

If you have a ‘shallow’ fistula that is close to the surface of the skin and doesn’t run through any muscle, the surgeons are usually able to tighten the seton over time until it eventually comes out altogether as the fistula heals. However, if you have a more complicated fistula that runs through muscle and is not close to the surface, you will then need corrective surgery.

Fistula sufferers live each day with the seton in their body. You could even have more than one seton, depending on how many fistulas you have. At first they are difficult to live with, it can be uncomfortable to sit down, walk and go to the toilet. However, like everything, you will get used to living with a seton and will work out your own ways to deal with it. There are some tips on living with setons on the ‘ Tips and Advice’ page.

Seton Diagrams:

There are a few different surgery methods used to heal fistulas. Once the fistula has been drained using the seton, you will be ready for corrective surgery. This could take 6 weeks, or it could take over a year, it all depends on the severety of your fistula/s.

Advancement Flap surgery is common, this has around a 50% chance of working and involves cutting into the tissue where the fistula connects, folding the tissue back over itself and holding in place with disolvable stitches. It is simular to a graft and closes the hole off where the fisula connects to an organ or vessel. With plenty of rest, no exercise or heavy lifting and a healthy lifestyle, the chances are the advancement flap will take and the tissue will attach itself. This procedure can only be done twice.
Other methods include Fistula plugs and Fibrin Glue, if all fails, the setons are placed in again.


413 Responses to “Information on Fistulas”

  1. Excellent information page — I appreciate the diagrams. It took me a while to figure out what a fistula was because the brochures at the Dr’s office were not good drawings!!

    • Thanks Diane! Hope it helped you! Yes the doctors make everything WAY too complicated! Have you just got a fistula?

    • Very helpful, I now know more than my doctor.

    • Hi i am sanal here . hey guys dont panic when you have a decease … the best way to heal a fistula is
      1. drink wheat grass everyday in the morning after that take two spoons of honey and lemon water. after that take green tea . for break fast eat lightly. Try to skip the afternoon lunch and make it with fruits . night also have light food for the first one weak. drink two cocunut water in a day .

      wash the anal region with dettol and keep it clean. never sit for the first one week coz pressure can damage the cells .

      have two raw garlic daily morning and night .

      The second best things to do is to meditate rather than panic . imagine a red light passing through the anal region and healing is taking place . you need to imagine fuild or light entering inside the anus deep down and healing happening . do it three to four times while sitting in a bucket with rock salt. mind can heal but beileve in it .
      I had done it without any surgery or medication .

      final factor is hygiene …. always ventilate the place . wash it with salt water or any antispectic

      • Hello I am also facing fistula doctor said after using tablets 75%is reduced but now am staying in most humidity environment in India so I will follow all the things which have you mentioned
        Please tell me more about this fistula.
        I have stopped bleeding and little puss will come only on some times and recently there are small pimples on others side what should I do?

  2. I have a question. How do we know that the fistula is healing. I understand that less and less drainage is a sign but when do we see the doc about this? I am draining a lot less but it has not stopped draining. Does them mean I have to wait for it to stop draining before I can have it removed?

    • Yes you’ll have to wait until it’s completely stopped draining until you can have it removed, or have surgery. You should be having regular check ups with your doctor though. When is your next check up? It’s great news that your fistula is draining less and less!! Must mean you are doing all the right things to heal it!

    • yes, I had an abscess and had it drained about two months ago. Two days ago, it is coming back. I am nervous!!!!

      • Hi Pat! Same exact thing happened to me. I had an perianal abscess that is a fistula that lasted a good year before I finally had surgery to drain it. A little less than 2 months later, it came back. Last week I had surgery and had drainage seton placement. This thing is so uncomfortable I don’t know how people live with these things. I go to see my doctor tomorrow about possibly switching to stronger meds like Humira to help close all the fistulas I have, so I can have the seton removed. I really hope the stronger meds work, cause I have trouble focusing on anything but the seton. I can’t even have a normal bm, but I’m sure it’s cause I have a JPouch. Let me know how yours works out.

    • Fistulas rarely heal by themselves. You need an operation to cut the fistula open and let it heal

  3. Hi is it normal to experience gas through the fistula, I had a nissen fundoplication last year and all my gas goes out my anus as I cannot burp. This places extreme pressure on my bowel and cause me to pass wind more regular, I have a seton in and the gas bypasses and come out of my wound.

    • Hi Nick! Gosh, that nissen fundoplication you had sounds complicated, I’d never heard of it before, and just looked it up. You poor thing!!!! Does it take a long time to heal after that procedure?? I would say that it’s totally normal for the gas to come out of your wound, because your seton is holding open a tract, so the gas is bypassing through there. That’s what I would guess anyway – but I’m not a doctor! Does it hurt when the gas comes out of your wound? I can’t imagine it being very comfortable!

    • I am totally normal/healthy except for this peri-anal fistula that has been hanging around for 3 years & maybe staying for good… oh well, maybe I can dangle earrings off it or something and create a new fad. Farting thru the opening is one of my greatest tricks! lol… I’m bitter–sorry– my jokes are probably not funny, but I don’t think it is abnormal at all. If you still get on and read this blog– this is my opinion.

      • Hi, I do not know after 4 months, what I have . It was a large abcess that was cut, then drained, but it keeps coming back, but smaller. I do the sitz baths, as well. I pray all of you out there get better from this annoying mess. try the sitz baths. I find they clean it out so good!!!!!

      • Hello!
        I just read this and am too suffering from one! Is it still there or healed?

      • I am also bitter(no very mad,upset,crying). Mine has drained but Dr says can’t have surgery to close it and most people live 5-6 years normal life!!!!what!!!!!!!I want it fixed!!!! Now!!!!

    • why does it come back so often? Is it because of where it is located?

      • I have had three surgeries in this past year and I’m just wondering is it normal for so much fluid to still come out after three months after last surgery? I have some days there is nothing then other days I’m in extreen pain and have so much fluid it’s like I never had surgery I am scared and don’t want this to continue I do sits baths sometimes Epsom salt mixed and I put bacteen on my gauze, I noticed a lot of you say you have packing, iv never had anyone pack my wound and am curious to why others get it and I don’t? I had a perianal fistula, very large tract but doc says tract is shortened.

  4. if the Perianal abscess is on one side, why is the seton placed on the other side?

  5. hi, I am having fistula for a year now n it has
    made a opening on the surface. its bleeded from surface yesterday. the pink spot is about 5mm dai. wht should I do.


    • Sounds like my issue a year ago. Found out the surgery failed. The doctor has to verify it through either a MRI or a ultrasound or similar exam.

  7. I have a question for you all I recently had a sphincterectomy scar tissue removal to hemroidectomys for anal fissures closed 3 or 4 days after surgery the swelling went down and the new horrible pain. appeared I noticed it right away about the size of a half stick of butter called my doctor several times a day telling her I was in extreme pain even went to the er where is doctor called in my called my rectal surgeon she wouldn’t even give me the time of day said everything looks like it was healing better than expected and walked out of the room even though the surgeon suggested scans of the fistula 20 days after I hear me calling 2 or 3 * a day she was finally like oops in a fistula I didn’t do that was her reply that was not my question in the first place she finally drained it from the outside with 3 incisions from a scalpel put me on antibiotics and now it’s just a hard lump I can’t sit stand walker work without spasms

  8. it’s now a days 36 and I’m still in severe pain my doctor tried to drain and again and nothing would come out so she recommends another 5000 dollar surgery is there anyway it could have been caused by my previous surgery in the first place I thought to earth resurgence before my original surgery anoscopes and scans prior and there was no sign of a fistula I am uninsured can barely afford the first surgery what should I do all I want is my life back

  9. I apologize for some of that didn’t make sense I was using speech to text on my phone

    • When I first got fistulas, I asked the surgeon if she had caused them, because I didn’t understand what it was. She said “No, you caused them”. If you have a fistula, it’s because your body has created an abnormal ‘tract’, usually due to an infection, like an abscess. If you have a fistula, then you’ll need surgery. They may give you a seton, which will hold the fistula open and drain it for weeks. Are you able to go to another doctor and get a second opinion? I totally understand what you mean when you say you want your life back. It’s such a horrible thing to go through. And you will get your life back, but you have to be strong to do that, and deal with the problem and get the medical attention you need to get better.

    • I have just received news that my 3rd! surgery has a 50% chance of failing! So I feel your pain except that I have insurance. I did read however that you may be eligible for disability — which depending on where you live, means you might receive government help. Just a thought.

  10. I had an op to remove anal skin tags then within 2wks a fistula became apparent (I probably had it for 10-20yrs though, now that I’ve put all the clues together). That first surgeon should not have operated because there was a perianal abscess on the outside that day (it had been there over a month on that occasion) and although I obviously knew it was there I didn’t know what it meant, or that 30-50% of perianal abscesses are fistulas. The skin tag wounds (cauterised) were still there at the time of the fistula op and hadn’t completely healed yet; the healing skin was yellow. My fistula surgeon decided, despite me telling her and the anaesthetist about the previous op 2wks before, that they were chronic anal ulcers, so she biopsied them! Of course the tests came back showing nothing abnormal. She could of course have referred to my notes, too. Anyway, the seton has now worked itself into one of the biopsy wounds, then through into the weakened skin which had not yet healed from the skin tag removal, and the skin has SEALED around the seton!!! So it no longer comes out of the hole that God made for me – it comes out of my body, clear as day in my mirror and clear as day to my GP, out of the skin at the edge of the centre of the anus itself. It’s AGONY when I go to the loo and there’s always fresh blood. My GP called the hospital yesterday to try to explain it and get me an urgent appointment with the consultant and they refused to listen to what she was explaining and kept telling her that everything, including the pain I’m in and the bleeding, was NORMAL. Has this happened to anyone else?!! Obviously I’ve been in touch with a lawyer’s office! It’s been in me since 28 May and I was due to have it removed 23 July. It had stopped draining 5 days after the op and I was thrilled but since Thursday last week it’s been draining again. I am not a happy camper 😦 especially since the hospital wouldn’t listen to my GP so now no-one plans to do anything about it because they didn’t believe anything was wrong! His exact words were “It’s normal for the skin at the anal margin to close around a suture of this kind”. Yes, of course it is. It is however NOT normal for the skin at the anal margin to completely seal itself – via the totally unnecessary introduction of a biopsy wound at the edge of an existing, unhealed cauterised skin tag excision wound – around the exiting seton! I’ve left a message issuing terse instructions with the lead consultant’s secretary and if they don’t ring me first thing Monday I’m going to A&E at a different hospital and will let them put me onto their colorectal team. I’ve got type 1 diabetes too so am massively prone to infections. My GP put me on antibiotics yesterday thank goodness.

    • OMG!! I surely hope they were providing you with pain pills!! No this sealing has not happened to me and I’ve had 3 discouraging failed surgeries–thus 3 years dealing with this dreadful fistula! Doctors are so mean sometimes! Ugh!! I hope that you did lots of sitz baths and benodine mixed with water in a sterile water bottle to spritz your privates after toileting might be helpful. I have skin tags too and I asked to remove during one of my surgeries but she just did not do it. I guess it was for the best for me. I have pain but goes away once infections and wound healing and seton is back in its comfortable state (takes like 3 months for my body to get used to the seton and stop aching). I’m curious to see how your issue is working– I feel so frustrated as well.

  11. I have had multiple and long term abscesses on both of my buttocks but they are not like abscesses I’ve had in the past that just drain and heal. Now I’ve noticed “tunneling” away fron the abscess and seperately “holes” in my muscle tissue with just a thin layer of skin covering these “holes”. Also each hole a has at least one opening sometimes 2 which continuasly drain a brownish watery substance not like puss and continue to drain it for months on end. Usually they also have an opening that has a black solid substance protruding from them. I’ve thought it might be blood clots and thought if i could pull them out maybe the hole would drain fully and heal but as i tried to grab it with tweezers i couldn’t get a grip as the tweezers just squished through tge stuff without getting a purchase. One clue might be that an abscess i has when all this first started drained but the puss it drained was dark black instead of the normal grey with blood red tint to it. Please help if you can as this is an unending problem.

    • Gary – Have you been to a doctor??? You need to see a doctor. It doesn’t sound like something you can fix yourself with tweezers! And if you leave it any longer, you may end up needing surgery. Don’t muck around with things like this – it’s your health, the most important thing… go and see a doctor. I’m really hoping that you have already!!!

    • The brown drainage is probably stool. I’ve had it — still going through healing it. Sounds like you def have a fistula! And if pain is associated you have an absess! Skip the stupid MD if you can (mine thought it was a boil!) and go straight to a general surgeon for an exam. My advice. Coming from a 36 y.o. dealing with this for 3 years and 3 surgeries.

      • I agree coming from a 37 year old and 10 ops in 18 months. See a doctor or colorectal surgeon

  12. I have a high rectal fistula and have a drain as well as a seton in place. When the fisula stopped draining a secondary fistula developed and resulted in further surgery. Once the cavity was drained I had complete comfort, however within 12 days the secondary fistula “seemed” to have healed up but with no discharge from the drain it soon reappeared. The seton and drain have been in place for 18 months now. Will the “flap” sort this out and how does the plug work? I have been told by the surgeons that the only solution is to have a “bag” again and I would like to stay as far away as possible from this option

    • does anyone ever try to push on the lump, this is before getting a seton. I did and this blood came out. Did anyone out there ever do this?

      • Hi pat this is the infection finding any opening to get out, I would guess u should see a doctor. When u have a seton you should give them a wiggle and press to keep things moving. Hope this helps good luck

      • I know this is old Pat – but before I realised mine was a fistula, and the exit wasn’t open – I used to squeeze it a lot to drain out the pus =/ There was blood sometimes too.

  13. My mother has been suffering from chronically surgically drained and unhealing perirectal abscess and multiple fistula tracts for about 6 months now. She finally had rubber band setons placed, however the complexity and tunneling, as well as scarring and thickening of the surrounding tissue, have made it difficult to heal or “pull out” the fistulas with the setons. Ultimately they may simply leave them in indefinitely.

    Yesterday the left tract’s seton came down slightly. It did not break, and it’s still in place. But it did move about half an inch. Since that time, brownish watery discharge has been present. She has no fever, no redness, but more pain than before (though still minor and tolerable as compared to before the setons were placed.)

    Is this cause for concern? Does anyone have similar experience with this? She has followup with the surgeon in one week. The setons were placed two months ago.

    Peace and good luck to everyone else suffering with this condition, and to your family or other loved ones helping you cope with it. I know it’s a nightmare.

    • I’m sure by now you found out that the brown discharge is stool and if there is increased pain it could mean infection. I’ve been dealing with this for 3 years– I feel like I know more than my surgeon! jk….. hope she is doing better.

      • Dear farah, u seem to be expert bit like me. I know more about chronic perianal fistular and setons than most medical people. I have had perianal desease for just over two years. And 11 ops to date. Last op 4 months ago still have two setons in did have four. Been tested for chrones few times all negative. Due to see consultant again nov to decide if I have setons taken out and see how I get on. Am better in myself have been very ill in past and on lots of meds and in and out of hospital so pretty scared of being back in that place. This desease as u know messes up ur life and head. Not convinced it has totally gone as still have bad days of slight pain. What do u think????

    • Hi Ben,

      I have exactly the same thing for the last week or so. Had a seton placed 2 months ago. And for the last 10 days, it seems the seton came down a bit and since, i only have brownish watery discharge (different to before where it was more yellowish stuff). I have no fever, no redness, not really more painful than before.

      I thought it could be the fistula track getting closer to the anus so picking up more stools than before…

      • Hi Ben. I need bt of seton came out by its self 6 dayz back but now a brownish discharge. does it jst stop by self oba thrz reason to worry?.wat happened to yoz?

  14. hi ,
    I had fistulotomy+Lord’s dailation on 10th july 2012 ,it has been 6th week i m still draining a yellowish discharge???i am worried please help some one. the pain is there ,…how much time it will take me to become a normal human being…

    • It takes a long time to drain. For some lucky people it will take 6 weeks, for others, it can take years. It depends on how severe the fistula is, and what your health is like. So I woudn’t be worried after 6 weeks, be patient 🙂 If you’re draining a yellowish discharge, you may need to go on a course of Antibiotics. The colour Yellow usually indicates infection. You should go and get checked by your doctor or surgeon, get them to take a swob of the discharge to check if it’s anything sinister – and go on some antibiotics for a week. Always trust you’re instincts. If you feel like something isn’t right, take control of the situation and go and get it checked straight away. Good luck!

    • does anyone know why they take so long to heal?

  15. Hi I had my 11th operation in 4 years to treat an anal fistula. This started out as a peri-anal abscess that didn’t drain properly. I’ve had 9 setons fitted and tightened over the course of this time. My consultant has now said he’s going to try inserting a plug in 3 months time to see if that helps. Had anybody gone through this procedure? I’m n a lot of pain right now and fed up of the whole thing so am happy to try something different but will it work?

  16. Hi, we seem to be in the same boat, including the time line. To date I have had about 12 fisula ops. At the moment I have a corragated drain in place as well as a seton and there seems to be no end in sight. I am very interested to find out if the “plug” works as I’m also fed up with the continious pain and discomfort. Best of luck and having the same situation I can say ” I know how you feel”. What part of the world are you at?

  17. Hi Angus whilst I don’t eny your situation it is comforting to be able to hear from someone who really does know how I feel! I’m in Manchester, UK. I had my 11th op on Monday of this week. I had to go back to A&E at my local hospital today though as the pain has been unbearable over the last few days. The seton has been fitted too tightly yet again! I’ve just been given stronger painkillers and told to go back in 48 hours if I’m no better. I know I’ll be back there on Monday and having to undergo more surgery to remove the seton, have a new one fitted and having to take more time off work. ( i know because this exact same thing happened to me 3 years ago) so I’m kind of hopeful that the prosthetic plug I’m getting will prove a better (less painful) solution!

    • Hi Melanie, I hope your doctors have managed to sort your seton out now and that you are not suffering as much as you were. I have also been in for another drain procedure this week and am not a happy camper. Is it possible for you to get me some info on this plug that your surgeons are thinking about as my surgeon would like to give it a go on me as a last resort?

      • Hi Angus, yes, all ok now though I did have to have op number 12 as the seton had been fitted too tightly. I’m due to go and see my consultant for a follow up in a month so will get more info on the plug and pass on to you.

    • Hi melanie so glad (pardon the expression) to hear of another sufferer in the manchester area…I was beginning to think I was alone as I can’t find anyone or anything at all to show its a common symptom suffered by many…my surgeon (at bolton royal) didn’t really have much to say for himself and I’m considering seeing if there’s any help groups out there where we can lobby for a better after care service from our NHS…hope your on the mend now as I’m just starting my journey I’m only 2 weeks into the nightmare and dread to think I’ve got all this to come that you guys have been suffering with

      • Hi Phil, I had another op in February and rather than fitting another seton, my surgeon fitted a collagen fistula plug. This procedure is going through trials at the moment so isn’t widely used but, I have to say, I wish it had been done sooner. Just 2 days after the op, I was back in work, all leakage/drainage completely disappeared after less than a week and I was completely pain free less than a week later. I’ve had no problems since and it looks like the fistula has finally cleared after four and a half years. I need to go back to see my consultant at Fairfield in Bury in 6 months but so far,so good! Obviously, no long term guarantee that the fistula won’t come back but I’m very happy at the moment – best of all, I was able to go on a bike ride last week for the first time in 4 and a half years!! So, hang on in there, it does get better .

  18. hi i undergone anal fistula surgery before two years. it has been great and no disturbtion till last week. i m having severe pain in anal. while consulting my doctor. he said pus may formed inside the anal. now the push has been getting out through the anal.what is the solution for this? shall i go with tablets or surgery? pls help…

  19. My husband has UC and developed a fistula and had surgery 12 weeks ago. It appears that it is possibly returning. We went to his colon/rectal surgeon today and he wants to keep a watch on it to see if in fact it is recuring. My question is…if the colon is removed, will this prevent further fistulas? I know that it would help the UC with the option of a J pouch. Thanks for any information.

    • My husband had UC since he was in his 20’s. In 2001 he had jpouch. He was treated until this year for pouchitis. He developed a fistula and has since been diagnosed with Chrons. The j pouch was not a cure for him.

  20. I just had my third surgery (8/24/12) whereby they removed the draining seton for my complex anal fistula. Hallelujah. The pain of the 2nd surgery when the seton was installed was awful. The first surgery was the LIFT procedure. I finally felt relief when the draining seton was removed.

    I was able to find a product at the dollar store here in USA which is for makeup like 2 inch round cotton pads that I found very useful to place on the opening to keep it clean and absorb drainage.

    This has been a long journey (over one year) and hopefully I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I see all these comments and I hope that you have access to the wonderful surgeon that I had. I truly believe that he gave me back my health. I pray that this PITA is healed and that I have had my last surgery.


  21. can the fistula cause bad smell?

  22. Just came across this website… Thank you for your time and effort posting comments. It has been very helpful..I was told yesterday that i will be having surgery for a fistula and I left the doctors office not really knowing why or what it actually was.. Because of your site I now understand!! One question though… if the surgery goes well how long should I expect to be taking off of work.. (office) I sit alot!

    • Hi Mary! Glad the website has been helpful for you 🙂 It depends on what kind of surgery you’re having, but for seton placement/changing, I was off work for 2 weeks. And for my advancement flap surgery, I was off work for 4 weeks. All the best with your surgery, make sure that the next time you see your surgeon, you ask lots and lots of questions, so that you understand everything that’s going to happen to you. I’ve found with surgeons, that they kind of just expect you to know!

  23. Yes it can cause a bad smell, I had surgery on 30/8/12 and had a draining seton fitted, the discharge changed to green and I noticed a bad odour, so they took a swab but found no infection. I think the smell is when a small piece of faeces gets into the exit hole, none of the nurses I see daily can smell it-just me!! I am back for more surgery on 13/10/12 for either a new seton or to cut it and lay it open. I suspect it will be a new seton due the amount of pus still draining.

    • My husband had the seton op, and 2 days later a fowl smell, he don’t seem to notice it much, the the stench is out of this world, no air fresheners are powerful enough to blank it, since he came home from hospital i’ve no had a nights sleep or rest because i cannot breathe sharing the same double bed , it stinks the whole house out even downstairs all windows are fully open does anyone know of anything i can buy to lessen this stench, it’s way passed farmyards i really can’t stand it, i know this may sound bad of me, but it’s no at all normal i don’t think.

      • I hope your husband is getting better! I am sure he’d rather have just the smell to worry about than the terrible pain he needs to endure also…. Poor man. The expression ” me me me” rings out here…. Although this forum is for fistula sufferers and not about you you you. You are so understanding…. NOT!

      • Well said Rob, this wife needs to take a long hard look at herself, had mine coming on for 4 years, the pain never ends , but I’m bloody lucky to have a brilliant wife

    • It is now 11 weeks after my op and the smell is really getting me down. I go back to see my surgeon this Monday . I did not get enough information regarding what the procedure was. I was not prepared for severity of the pain and the time it would take for the pain to subside. When does the smell go? I didn’t even realise till reading on here I had a drain, I thought it was stitches hanging out my bottom! I am leaking from the exit wound which didn’t happen pre op. The whole experience has been totally debilitating I am hoping for some optimistic news on Monday.

  24. Hello. First off I found this site informational and eye opening on this issue. I’ve been rolling along for 5 years with these issues as well but only over last 2 months going down the surgery path of seton to Anal Flap surgery last week. I’m bettin it did not work because I have feces leaking out of bored out seton hole every time I go. The flap was to cover that and stop from happening. Talked to Dr. today and while he agrees, feels it may be ok and this is normal drainage. If I have a ? It would be how could it have worked if feces draining from the hole that was flapped over?? My comment is after reading what others go through, this is par for the course and I need to accept I’m going to have this issue on some level til I go bye byes and be “strong in mind”! My thought to others is don’t be a victim and ask why me, search for how to overcome and live your life… Bang biscuit!

    • Dear Rope
      I think I am in the same boat and I am confused too. My LIFT op was 3 weeks ago, the seton was removed and the external part of the fistula is being packed & I have a few stitches around to my bum hole from the flap or internal sealing I guess. I feel that both wind and a small amount of pooh is still passing through the fistula so I don’t think that the internal tube from the bowel has been sealed off. Has anyone had experience of this? Guess I will find out when I see the surgeon for follow up in 2 weeks? Rope let me know if you see your surgeon what they say.
      Secondly I have dark navy stitches that I understand are nylon dissolvables ( the dissolvable factor is often queried by the nurses). Has anyone had this type of stitching and if so how long did they take to go? My bum hole is often quite itchy now so I hope that means it is healing as opposed to stitch irritation. Really difficult to see the area to tell. Nurses report all clean – which it should be because I bathe just before they arrive – clean on the outside anyhow.
      Top tip – I have found that the dressing pads/combis can rub & chaff, even if adapted by using Sellotape to stick them to the inside of my undies. So now when I go for a walk I wear old draws no pad for the walk and change to clean ones and pads when I return home. Reduces the chaffing and having had a fungal growth, luckily external, I feel the area is kept cooler so bugs less likely to breed.
      Thanks for creating this site it has really helped me not feel isolated & a total odd bod. RWA

      • Hi Ruth I just had a LIFT procedure on Tuesday and started experiencing the same thing as you described a few days ago re brown discharge and small bits of faeces passing through. No pain or infection but I’ve been freaking out and instinctively feel that the procedure hasn’t worked which is a depressing. As I can’t get a hold of my doctor due to the time of year I was wondering if your procedure worked or whether this kind of discharge is an indication that it didn’t. I also passed a small piece of navy blue stitch which worried me. Is there anything you or anyone else reading can tell me about this? Trying to stay positive!!

      • Hi Ruth …
        Hope you are going well .. I know it’s been a long time since you have commented here … but just needed some help . I had a plug surgery 12 days back ,my doctor also created a small flap along with the plug, but since day 6 I have been getting fecal matter from my outside opening & today on day 10 , I also passed a frat through it . Just wanted to know whether your procedure was successful or once the facial matter starts coming out it’s treated as a failure .
        Your response would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Rope …
      Hope you are going well .. I know it’s been a long time since you have commented here … but just needed some help . I had a plug surgery 12 days back ,my doctor also created a small flap along with the plug, but since day 6 I have been getting fecal matter from my outside opening & today on day 10 , I also passed a frat through it . Just wanted to know whether your procedure was successful or once the facial matter starts coming out it’s treated as a failure .
      Your response would be much appreciated.

  25. Has anyone ever known of a fistula healing on its own, without surgery or setons? I’ve recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and have changed my diet radically, so I am hoping that will help heal me.

    • Hi Liz, no you wil have to have surgery and I recommend the sooner the better. I have been living with this fistula for two years and wil be having my 3rd surgery in December after my seton band is in for 3 months. I am glad I’m not the only one that this is happening to.
      I recommend seing a colon-rectal surgeon and also getting a second opinion. I was mis-diagnosed originally from Bartholins cyst but if I was diagnosed properly I would have gotten the surgery asap and taken care of this!

      • hi jj,i hav 2 fistulas and been tld by my surgeon that there isnt a high rate of success in any of the surgical precedures for fistulas,then again ive had to deal with them for 3 years

      • The low surgery success rate really bothers me. Surgeon tells me if it doesn’t work I’ll just be back where I started, but I can’t imagine after all the poking, cutting and inserting that I would really be back to this natural state, where I have no pain, no fever, just a tiny bit of draining.

  26. I had a fistulectomy about 8-9 weeks ago, and I still see some gunk/yellow discharge. It’s not pus, nor infected, but it still feels like it’s healing.

    The actual site of the fistula has been healed, but it seems like the tail end of the tract, or whatever is what’s creating some drainage.

    I wanna know how long it took for other people and if I’m healing properly. Doctor said I should be good, but at 2 months in, and seeing drainage, I’m concerned. I’m going in next week to get it looked at.

    I hope that the surgery was a success. If not, I might have to live with this forever. =(

  27. I’m only 19 & three days ago I had a seton put in. I’m due to see the surgeon in 6 weeks, I was just wondering what happens after the seton has drained it all out ? The pain is awful. I can’t walk properly or sit down. I’m hoping it heals in a few weeks!

    • Once the seton is drained, they then will decide what is the best surgery for you, in terms of closing the fistula. If your seton hasn’t drained after 6 weeks, then you’ll have it in for longer. Be prepared for the worst case scenario, and ask your surgeon loads of questions, because they often misinform you.

  28. Hi, I submitted a comment and checked the two notify boxes, but did not get notified by email. Do you know if this feature is working?

    • Hi Liz, you won’t get any notifications until your comment is approved by me. I have to approve every comment on this site before it’s posted live. Otherwise the website would be full of spam and awful comments. I check the site every day. Cheers 🙂

  29. here is one for you. i got a fistula over 10 years ago now and its never healed properly. im on surgery every 3 – 4 months to get my seton changed and to have it layed open again. my surgeon has tried every method possible and although each one did help it a little it never healed properly. to give you an idea about how bad it was the first time i had it opened and drained the next day the nurse came out to my home to re dress the wound and she had to remove the blue surgical ribbon from inside the wound to irrigate it properly. at the time i had to tracks very close to each other and from the smaller one there was 3 feet of surgical ribbon and in the other was 9 feet of ribbon. it took 45 mins to get it all out and all i had taken was 2 normal ibuprfen so i can honestly say i hurt a little. ive been told it will never heal as its been so long and ive had so many surgeries and ive even had a colostomy bag fitted but it made little difference like everything else. my surgeon did mention that there may be a way to get rid of it but “it would mean losing my bum” and im just not sure what he means, will i lose my whole cheek or just a chunk from the inside i just dont know. has anyone ever heard of this procedure???

  30. I have battled this for 6 yrs. I am to scared to get a seton as I can’t find anyone that it has helped online. I had one surgery long ago, and then I got another fistula. I will learn to live with it and stay away from gluten, meat, and dairy. Our lymphatic system is clogged, so I have been eating a diet high in berries and fruits. The doctors don’t have a clue about the lymphatic system. They are trained to slice and dice and give out pills that worsen it. Google Dr Moorse and the lymphatic system. Read this as it explains the lymphatic system to you.

    • I think surgery is a good option for some, I have chronic perianal desease. Had 12 ops in 2 years 7 by one surgeon that was not doing a great job then transferred hospitals where I was lucky to meet a colorectal surgeon that was very realistic honest about what he could do for me and I now have only two small setons in which after 4 months are pretty comfortable apart fro when I am due my period. I go to gym do Zumba sit with out a special seat. I still have regular sitz baths in evening. My next step is to have the last two setons out and see how I get on , but not sure if I am actually happy to just live with them keeps my mind at rest that if a infection try’s to start there is a drain there for it to come out of. I remember the pain, fevers, hospital stays, weeks in bed, visits from nurses to get wounds packed, becoming so experienced I could do my own packing, time off work, loss of life, feeling disabled, not being able to go any where, but it does get better and u get back to normal and feel really appreciate life x good luck every one

      • Your story sounds very like mine. I have had 9 surgeries in one yr, the first 7 with a surgeon who also did not do a good job. I moved surgeons and the new one is very open and honest with me. He has placed two setons which I will have long term. I am hoping to get back to work as I need my life back. Have u any advice how u managed sitting in wrk.

  31. I think I got my first fistula… Looks like surgery is on the way 😦

    • keep your chin up you’ll be better soon. the pain from the surgery isnt that bad if you have enough pain killers ( be very careful always check with your GP ) and take it easy for a couple of weeks at least. since its your first do as much research as you can on helping it heal it will do a lot more than you think. keep as active as you can even if it means just walking to the kitchen and back a few times to startt with and slowly build up. the more you do the better just dont over do it. try and speak to a physiotherapist for more advice. hope it all goes well. good lick

  32. Thank you very much for sharing the information here. My dad has a fistula, too and I’m currently having some trouble getting him to listen to the doctor. He doesn’t regularly do his hot sitz baths. I think he doubts whether doing them is really useful or not. I have to admit though, that I can’t fully explain to him why this is important. I hope you could help me with this. Why are hot sitz baths important?

  33. Hi, I’ve been reading the comments here and they have helped me a lot to understand the pain I am going through.

    I had a seton inserted 2 weeks ago and it seemed to start settling down until today, all of a sudden the pain has been horrendous and there has been lots of discharge… Yellowy brown gunge etc. I’ve taken strong pain killers and they help… But tonight I just sat and cried as it is so painful… Being 42 and male I must have looked a right sight… But I feel like my life has been taken over by this fisttula that I now have…

    My surgeon says that my fistula runs through my muscle so can’t cut it open to heal, hence the seton. And I now have to go back to have an MRI on 28th nov… I presume this is to allow them to think of the next step?

    My seton causes me great pain and the muscle that it must run through keeps spasming… When It does this, the pain is excruciating…lessened a bit if I’ve taken pain killers… I work in an office and due to go back in a couple of days but don’t think I can even get in the car to drive still…. Do these things ever get sorted….? I’ve never been down in my life really, but this issue is really making me feel like I’ve lost control of my life… I’m based Derbyshire uk, if anyone is around and wants to talk???

    For anyone else living with this nightmare… I wish you well…:

  34. Hi Rob & Others,
    I have had a draining seton & then a cutting seton… for the same fistula. Mine is also through muscle so couldn’t just be cut & heal.
    Also had the MRI to determine the exact track of the fistula.
    You will improve, I was VERY down about it all but it gets less painful and with experience more manageable…
    Cutting seton actually ‘fell’ out tonight, not due to see surgeon till 30th Nov so just hoping its done its job…

  35. Great website. I so feel for everybody who’s going through the fistula experience.

    I have had a jpouch-vaginal fistula for 2 years; seton for about 1/2 year. Pus has been coming out but slowing down; blood has stopped. Good signs, right? However, last night the discharge seemed to stop, and there’s now a small, slightly tender lump next to the vag. opening just to the side of the seton exit in the same general area. I did some rather strenuous exercises yesterday, and wonder if this could have caused something to “go wrong” down there? I’m working on sitz baths with epsom salts and take augmentim 500 mg. every other day – have been on antibiotics of one sort or another since this saga began. I’m worried – could this be another abscess and/or fistula? I thought setons prevented abscesses from occuring? After 2 years of living with this I’m stll confused and feel so uneducated!

  36. i got my first abcess back in 2009. i have been cut and healed over at least 3 times. the last one was dec 2010. since then i have been dealing with draining and bleeding. some days nothing and some days more. it seemed to be less and less all the time. all the same this is not a normal way to live with a half a mini pad in the crack of your bum so i finally went back to my surgeon. yesterday i had the surgery to place the seton. today i have very little pain and am still bleeding some. she made it sound like this is going to be an easy heal and that either my body will remove the seton on its own like a sliver or she may have to remove it but all the while saying it is an easy fix….then i read all of this information and begin to wonder if she is really giving me all the information. i am 45 years old and cannot even fathom that i will have to live with this forever. ugh! part of me thinks i should have left well enough alone and just dealt with the half of a mini pad in my bum…lol…trying to keep positive

  37. Hey everyone,
    My story should help you. I had 3 seperate surgeries for my Chron’s. The I got to fistulas so I needed two setons, I had them in for 11 months. I had to take a shower after going to the bathroom as I couldn’t wipe. Super I know, my fistula’s were caused by an infection from a surgery were packing was not done properly. However I started Remicade which were infusions and I did not need further surgery for my fistulas. I have not had any issues with my Chron’s or fistulas. I have changed my meds to Humeria and I am still good. I had a horror story for 3 years with all my surgeries and I am great. Hope all goes well with everyone

  38. please help. drainage from my fistula surgery is still occurring after 6 weeks and tonight is getting worse. Its been about 8 weeks. What should I do

    • Some people have fistulas draining for years. If you’re in pain and there’s yellow pus coming out then you may have an infection and need to go on antibiotics. Have you called your surgeon?? Ring your surgeon or nurse and make and appointment to get checked. Don’t panic, it can take a lot longer than 6 weeks to drain. Most surgeons will tell you 6 weeks, but mine were always a lot longer. Just keep getting checked and asking questions, and keep on top of it, make sure you’re monitoring any infection. You have to be proactive in getting checked if you feel something is wrong, rather than sitting around wondering what’s going on, it will put your mind at ease to get an answer from a medical expert. And make sure you’re really looking after yourself and are being as healthy as you possibly can – and are cleaning the area constantly so you don’t get an infection.

  39. Thank you so much for all the information. It was very helpful. Yes, I soak 2-3 times a day, just in case. I greatly appreciate the information. It is very scary getting something that you are unsure of what it is .Thanks again

  40. Hi, I don’t know if I have a fistula, but assume I do. I had an anal abscess and that was in August of 2012. I have been back to the doctor 4 times because the place is still open and sore, not very much but still there.

    thanks for listening

  41. Hi, I’m a 28 gay male and have a few questions regarding fistula’s that have needed a seaton insertion. 13months ago i had surgery to drain a abscess close to my anus after i had a nurse dress the wound daily and after 2weeks healed completely. 3months ago it came back but this time had created a fistula and i had a seaton insertion placed, i returned to the doctors yesterday and was put on the waiting list for surgery again to remove the seaton he said he feels as the muscle hasn’t been affected too much which means that they will lay it open with 90% chance of healing without problems, but during surgery they will examine this in more detail otherwise if it has i may have another seaton insertion placed which is different to my current one.

    Can anyone provide any information on this as I’m still so confused, im very happy to hear positive news but im unsure what he means by if the muscle has been affected too much or enough for them to lay it open??

    Also another question regarding anal sex. I haven’t been sexually active since the operation with my partner and I’m unsure if i am able to have anal sex still or not? I have no pain in the area and can see the seaton it’s above my anus not anywhere in my anus, i haven’t seen puss or discharge in a month from the area and have stopped placing pads there. This is why I’m unsure and one reason I’ve not been active sexually. I don’t want the chance of re-injurying the area but I’m unsure if it would, any information you have would greatly be appreciated. I know this question is abit out there but its best to be safe then sorry, Thanks.

    • Hi Ninja!
      First of all, sorry to hear about your surgery, it’s a horrible thing to go through, and hopefully your fistula will be an easy one for them to deal with. If they are talking about laying your fistula open, then it must be quite low lying – so not a very complex fistula, which is a good thing!! My fistulas were very high up inside my body, so were harder to deal with, and they couldn’t lay them open as it would have involved cutting away too much tissue.
      When they lay open a fistula, they basically cut away all the tissue down to the fistula, so you will have an open wound – which will be packed daily by a nurse and will heal from the inside out, so that the fistula completely disappears. This is the most effective way of getting rid of a fistula – BUT, they will only ever do this, if it means they’re not cutting away muscle with the tissue. If they cut away some of the muscles around that area (sphincter muscle), it means you could be incontinent. So what they will generally do, is what until you’re asleep in surgery… and examine you to see how much tissue/muscle is involved, and if they think there is NO risk of you having incontinence, then they will lay it open. Alternatively, they’ll put in another seton, and ‘fix’ the fistula in another way. Which means, you may have a seton for another 3 months after this operation.
      These are all the things you need to be prepared for – and they should have told you all of this!! It really annoys me that these surgeons aren’t up front about everything. This is why you need to ask LOADS of questions. If you don’t understand what they are saying – tell them to explain it to you better, until you understand. Don’t leave there until you know EXACTLY what is planned for you.
      As far as anal sex goes – I’m a heterosexual female, so you’re probably best to ask your surgeon straight out. There is another guy on this website who asked the same question not so long ago, and he ended up talking to his surgeon about it. Best to be upfront with them if you need an answer.
      Personally, if it was me, I wouldn’t. The tissue in that area is so delicate. And fistulas are extremely difficult to treat. I wouldn’t do ANYTHING that could potentially harm the tissue more, make the fistula worse, create infection by irriation, or even worse – move the seton too much so that it tears the tissue inside.
      You need to be very concious from now on of getting better, and being as healthy as possible, and not doing anything to ruin your chances of getting rid of the fistula. If I’d had a vaginal fistula (which I didn’t), there is no way I would have had sex.
      Up to you though, it’s your body. Arm yourself with facts and answers from your surgeon before you do anything!
      And good luck!! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your reply this has opened my eyes up to exactly what I’m due to expect when I return for surgery… I’m very angry at the doctors as they are never this informative and just think cause its not there body they don’t need to explain… Sorry to hear bout your story and I hope you know have recovered as I know parts of how this can interfere with your life… I’m not going to attempt to have sex nor did I want too but I wanted to know all the information I could to explain better to my partner as he’s as confused as I am about this situwation.. I really hope they end up laying it open as this sounds to me better then the other option, I believe they did this to my first absess and if so gladly go ahead and do it… I’m not to found on pain but just hope and the doctors give me something to take home and not have to see gp for as there hopeless.. Thank you all for your comments and story’s my mind is now looking clearly into the future with positive outlooks!! 😎

  42. A fistula takes time to heal. It could take up to four months. I would talk to your doctor about having sex. It could delay your healing process.

  43. Two years back in Pakistan, i got a pimple grown over night near my anus and then it started growing day by day and after two days it became as big as a size of a grapes. Then it exploded and a lot of puss and blood came out, giving me big relief. I went through the same problem 3 times over six months and then went to different surgeons for their opinion. Two of them said me that it is Fistula in Ano and needs a surgery but one famous surgeon said there is no need of a surgery and gave me some medicines (1g augmentain, flaygil) ,it worked as a charm and healed up.

    but now after two years i got it again 6 days back and went to a surgeon who operated it (fistulatomy) . They removed a lump type thing and showed me that was a fistula ( God knows better).

    It is a painful when I go for stools and other wise it is ok , I am on bed rest of 15 days , 7 days passed now but still some smelly liquid is coming out from that open wound , I am eating a little so that i dont want to go toilet..

    Yes the main thing which gives me some relief is Sitz bath , sitting in a warm water tub , just a warm water no drops of any medicine in to it.

    The surgeon gave me Voren tab ( for pain) Velocif and flagyl (BLD)

    I dont know how much time it will take to heal but my search and dr said that it will take 4 weeks.

    Lest see! i will update. Get well soon to all those who are suffering with this disease.

  44. I’m just so sad, been dealin with this for a year now. 5 surgerys just had one a week ago. Hurts bleeding crying. I just wanna be normal.

    • Hi, I know somewhat how you feel. I got abscess in august, of this year, I keep getting the place closed up, then pus gets into it. It never goes away. I am so distraught over this. Does everyone out there feel like i do? you have to wash and soak constantly because if not, you keep getting infections. Good luck to everyone.

      • Pat, I am going through the same thing. I don’t have insurance and I haven’t been to the doctors, but after hours of research I am positive I have an anal abscess, and possibly a fistula because the abscess just won’t go away. The skin will heal itself up, and then the abscess will get filled again. It gets filled up after every bowel movement I have. I am not in severe pain though, in fact it rarely hurts, it’s just incredibly annoying that it is always draining! I have it or 4 months now, draining every day.

  45. I had a abcess back in june 2012, it was surgically drained and the wound was packed for a while. Eventually it got to a stage where there was just a tiny tiny hole that just wldnt heal. Anyway 2 weeks ago i had a seton stitch put in and part of the site ‘layed open’ because the fistula ran through some muscle. The first week or so was agony. I recommend stool softners and pain killers! Preferably not codeine because it could make you constipated. Now the pain is very little however it seems to be bleeding :s it never bled before. And the tightness i felt before has disapeared. I was told i would be seen again in 3months. Im 21 and its really taking over my life! I pray everyone else who has commented has patience and recovers well.

  46. my body formed a fistula about 4 years ago and i never knew what it was. it would occasionally burst and there was blood and pus. I finally got concerned about and told my doctor about it, got the fistula confirmed by MRI and i had a surgery a week ago to insert the seton and see what happens, i get a lot of discharges which is odorous and ugly colour. i have been better though, i always had dizziness and
    fever, now i feel like im living in this word again. at least i am one step closer to getting better or worst lol. i have done colonoscopy and i was negative for crohns. thank god for that. but apparently if you have a fistula and its caused by crohns disease, the fistula would heel by medication they put you on.
    good luck to everyone out there.

    • Hi Mirak, Sorry to hear you’re suffering with a fistula, but as you say, you’re on the right track now to getting better. I can’t believe you lasted for 4 years without any treatment!! You really should have gone to the doctor sooner about it. It’s great that you don’t have Crohns disease. It is not true that if you have Crohns, you can heal fistulas with medication – they are all treated the same way, whether you have Crohns or not. And actually, if you have Crohns, they are harder to treat.
      Good luck to you too, make sure you always ask your doctor straight away if you think there is something not right with your body 🙂

  47. I had a perianal abscess drained & a seton put in place 2 weeks ago. All was going well until last night.
    I discovered the area where the abscess was has hardened & is tender.Also I noticed a tiny blister type lump which I think may be another fistula. Is it possible for the abscess to re-form when I’ve just had surgery.
    I’m not getting any straight answers from any medical person I ask.

    • Currently i have a seton stitch in place after drainage of an abscess, iv also noticed its a little hard and it seems a little round blister/bubble has formed. I will be making an appointment to get my doctor to check it. So i will let you know if she says anything.. Will you be having a follow up surgery to remove/tighten the stitch?

  48. I’m going to be very honest with you. I just had my fourth surgery with this problem. I am station at Ft Gordon and have a hospital full of Army
    Doctors who have put all the pieces together. It is very likely to continue having these problems. The conclusion that I have found is Chrohns Disease.
    You need to have your doctor refer you to have a colonoscopy performed.
    Although I know you want so bad for this to just be done and over with…..Its not going to happen anytime soon. If your starting to develop this quickly then, more than likely you will continue to have these problems until you get the Chrohns under control. Which can be done with medication.
    I will pray for all of you and just know that your life is not over because your anal problems.
    IF any of you need to talk further in depth and have serious questions please feel free to email me. I will tell you my experience and hopefully guide you in the right direction.

  49. hey guys……I had a LIFT procedure for anal fistula about 4 weeks ago. It seems to be healing fine….However, I had a question about recurrance or a failed sugery. In either case, does the fistula come back at the same spot or a totally different place?


  50. Its essentially a sphincter preserving technique. They cut the fistula and leave the skin tract open to heal on its own. Although my guy was a general surgeon, he was an experienced old guy who does GI surgeries only. Honestly, I did not even take a second opinion and just went with it. However, after reading some papers, I feel like I should ask someone who has gone through fistula repairs and can explain its recurrence pattern.

    I do not think, I would want to go through this again 😦

  51. Thank you for a fantastic site. Eleven years ago I had a perianal abcess which was operated on and healed well over time. However just last week I had the tell tale signs of another one and was taken in to hospital straight away and operated on late that night.
    This time I have a corrigated drain in place and have found this site while trying to find out more about this condition and the treatment involved.
    Unfortunately for me I was in too much pain pre op and too out of it on pain relief after to really question the consultant!

  52. Had anal fistula surgery in Sept. 2012. Having trouble keeping erection unless laying flat on back. Ejaculation is extemely hard, it has ruined my relationship with a gf of 1 year. Has anyone else gone through this? I’ve also had issues with competence of my sphincter, which I believe there was damage done inside, which might affect performance of my prostate, which I believe may be a reason I’ve had issues with erections. What direction do I go?..

  53. My 17 year old son had a Seaton placed on Dec18th. 2012. He is a brain cancer survivor. He just had his Third brain surgery that left him where his left side is weakened and his left leg, foot, arm and hand didn’t work. He has been in Peds. live in rehab and his left side is starting to work again. Since all this has been going on he has been using a wheelchair alott and has not been able to do sitz baths, he has started doing them again. Being over 100 miles from our surgeons has been horrible. Not one medical person at our Childrens hospital had heard of a Seaton let alone seen one. I have been having himl lie on the hospital bed and washing his bum and drying it and putting a barrier cream on it. The skin looks much better since I have start caring for it. Problem is for the last 2 days he has been in so much pain. I don’t feel it is on the outside. So I called our surgeon and he said the Seaton has done it’s job, have it removed and if he re-abcesses we will deal with that later. My son just finished 1 year of arterial blood brian barrier disruption chemotherepy which causes the use of many and high doses of steriods. He is also doing 5 round of high focused Radiation on his brain at his tumor site (the site that relasped that they spent a year of chemo treating) He will begin chemo again whithin a month. With so many asaults on his poor immunity systems what is the best way to keep a abcess from returning? He has so much to deal with already. (He was diagnosed with Medullablastomia in 2009)

  54. Hi guys,
    i have one fistula from december 2011 so it is almost more than one year occurs because of perianal abscess
    I have done my check up to doctor many times
    and all have one answer for me *you need a surgery for this but we are not sure, there is chances of re-occurence*
    to be honest as it is near from anal so before i go for surgery i start fearing that if i lose control on my bowels then, so because of the fear i always drop the plan of surgery, and till now i have not gone through with any surgery on this case of fistula,
    so the thing i want to ask is this, i dont know how But fistula is automaticaly getting heald, i mean to say there is very little pus coming out from opening of fistula(its very little or may be no pus), or you can say there is no pus coming out, so infection is going away or what sign is this?
    The anti-biotics, gas, better digestion, all these medicines which doctor told me to take it, i started taking those medicines again after 1 year, because my fistula is automaticaly healing, does my infection is going away or fucking fistual will go forever?
    Please help me, i want this fucking shit go away from my body,
    my senses are saying that its going away from my body and i start having medicines to help more for healing it and now little pimple like mark left there on fistula openings are almost closed?
    Help my dear ones..? Is this going away or what?

  55. Hi yes I had an abscess too!!!! I kept this nasty pus thing for 4 months. I found that every single time I go to bathroom I HAVE TO WASH!!!!!..This will keep the infection, at bay. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Thanks for all of your posts. It really is helpful!

    Has anyone tried Oil of Oregano to help with healing your fistula? The reading I’ve done is that this is a natural antibiotic. I got limited info on it from the Listen to Your Gut website.

    I have a rectal abscess and was diagnosed with a fistula yesterday. My CRS wants to “cut” of course. Looking at what’s out there, it doesn’t seem the risk/reward is there. My CRS was very non-chalant about the procedure, and said that it was no big deal. I didn’t believe him.

    What is the harm if you don’t have the fistula taken care of?

    • Hi LMF, I guess the harm is that your fistula will never go away.
      Yes Oil of Oregano is meant to have amazing healing benefits for fistulas! I used to put drops in my bath!
      If you are dubious about surgery – perhaps give yourself a few weeks of ‘natural remedies’ and alternative methods and see what happens, see if your fistula improves and you can live with it. If it gets worse, or no better, then I guess you will need to consider surgery.

  57. Hi, no OI never heard of oil of oregano, but I will try it. Where can I buy it?
    thank you

  58. It’s called wild oregano oil, do some reading and download the free book on it from jinni patels website. She recommends one, which I bought, but it took a few days. I couldn’t wait, so I did research, and found a comparable one at vitamin world. Full strength I put it directly on the abcess it hurts, but a lot less than the abscess.

    For the past 3 night s I’ve gotten creative, and had my husband squirt a 7:1 diluted form into the hole, about 1cc. I will report progress!

    I’m having a colonoscopy on Wednesday to rule out chrons. I’m going to give myself a few weeks to see if I can heal this without surgery. Btw, I’m 51yo, have no health problems, live a pretty healthy lifestyle. This has come out of the blue for me!

  59. I got surgery on june 2012 and my fistula is gone.. But my wound from surgery hasent heal yet.. Any sugestions ???i think is a cronic wound now

    • So you have a wound that hasn’t closed up after 8 months??? Have you been to see someone about it?? If it hasn’t healed over after that amount of time, then I would say you need some treatment to help it close up. Great that your fistula is gone!! Good luck with the healing – you might like to try oxygen therapy!

      • Yes I used a lot of creams, Hyperbaric chamber Therapy 20 Hours.. And i tried some human growth hormone But i felt bad.. I eat right I take my vitamins.. And I really don’t know what to do now.
        My wound is almost healed It’s the size of Q-tip tip.. An it looks like a Blister.. Well hope somebody can help me..

  60. hello,
    I have suffered 35 yrs. with Crohn’s disease…many surgeries for removal of intestine. Also fistualizing problems. 4 yrs. ago was told stoma was way to go -so had that surgery with hope in 2 yrs. bowel would be resected. Unfortunately in 2 yrs. lower still diseased so had surgery to remove colon, rectum & anus. Since that surgery have had the worse fistualizing mess. Method of treatment for abcess/fistualizing has always been to have abcess drained & packed- then packing changed every few days-for 3-4 wks & antibiotic treatment. Reading here about surgery for fistualizing confusing as I do not consider draining an abcess & packing it to be surgery. The process of packing does stop that fistula from abcessing but after time I always have had new fistula develop. What drives me crazy is where is the source??? Where is the fistula developing from?? The diseased bowel is gone— In the past have had fistula from rectum to vagina, from rectum to bladder, also have tried remicade treatment for 2 yr. period. At this point suffering daily, unable to stand- some days cannot walk- wear pads full time with draining pus but no abcessing. Sit baths daily keep draining open but still want to know where the source of this draining pus is?? My last results from mri was “we can see the fistulas”….woopy doo, I know I have fistulas, why can they not see where they come from?? Help please.

  61. I had my fistula operated and it has left me a big open wound 10*10 inch deep . How long ll it take to it possible to get it back in same place .Wat are the prevention should I take..

  62. I had an abcess that the doc opened. Now a month later there is a fistula. What is the chance that this fistula will result in a new abcess and what is the normal time period? I also have a blood disease, so I would like to avoid the surgery if the risk of getting another abcess is not too high.

  63. my is 45 years old.he have this problem last 2 years.i consult to my family doctor & he told surgery is very dangerous just get regular clean of your pus.please tell me what treatment is best for my dad.

  64. hi, wash everytime you use the bathroom. Keep extra clean, that is the only way i got help!!!

  65. I’m getting my surgery in May and I’m scared and very emotional. I’ve been dealing with having abcesses since 2007 and it was diagnosed as something else for all these years. I’m getting abcesses every month sometimes 2x. Finally last week a new doctor says you have to the fistulotomy surgery. After she explained why I was getting these abcesses, she told me what the surgery was about and the procedure-I sucked it up while at the hospital but broke down emotionally the minute I left the hospital. I’ve had two c-sections, gall bladder removal, hysterectomy, and a rectum surgery before because of abcesses. This surgery has me on edge badly-help me

    • Oh, I am so sorry. My own story is similar to you. The only difference, is that I had my first abcess this past december, and it turned into a fistula. I’ve consulted 2 C/R surgeons, and both want to cut. The 2nd surgeon told me that the fistula will not get worse if I do nothing. I am doing all I can to avoid surgery.

      Have you done any research online? I have begun taking 2 pro-biotices, one called probiotice pearls, (I get them from Dr. Julie Buckley in Jackxonville, FL) and I am also taking Paracid Forte, which I think I got at Vitamin World. Look at the website Listen to Your gut, that’s how I started on the Probiotic thing. I also bought Wild Oil of Oregano at Vitamin World, I use a q-tip to apply to the outside of the abcess/fistula. WOO is supposed to be a natural antibiotic.

      For me, there is too much of a risk for surgery. I’m not a doc, but have you had a colonoscopy to rule out Chron’s?

      Hope this helps and good luck to you!

      • I have undergone 6 surgeries and daily packing for abscess and fistula, from oct 2012. The wound is looking and hesling well, I am told but I keep suffering reinfections which cause excruciating pain. I have a seton in which drains and am continously prescribed antibiotics but they do not seem to clear infection. I would be obsessive about cleanliness so I am at my wits end as to why there is constant infection. Has anyone else suffered with the same issue and has any possible solutions

    • Tammerrra, you’ve had all that done solely because of abscesses, not a fistula? Why would you have two c-sections because of an abscess? I have an anal abscess that I don’t think is a fistula, and i’m hoping to get pregnant soon and have a natural birth. If this abscess doesn’t go away, I wonder how natural birth would affect it.

  66. My surgeon said that I have a small/short track fistula which he says a fistulotomy will suffice. I have never had any symptoms. No pain or bleeding ever. It’s not swollen or infected. It was found on a routine exam. What are the consequences of not doing anything? and how common is incontinence? Is is permanent?

  67. Same place if it fails. I had two lift surgeries. Both failed. Ugh…

  68. Had seton put in 2 weeks ago after a year of misdiagnosis’s. Have had descent recovery, little bleeding after the first day or 2, little drainage anymore. Just passed gas through the wound hole though and that was kind of surprising and not comfortable. Saw a post about it earlier, but no concrete answers, thoughts?

  69. Hi, has anyone else here also suffered from hemorrhoids or “thrombosed” hemorrhoids? I have an abscess, possibly fistula, and now I believe I have a thrombosed hemorrhoid on the other side! Geez when will these butt problems ever end..

  70. Hello, so glad to find this – I have been very ill with a complex fistula which was finally diagnosed last summer. I had a seton put in late August last year but have been in and out of hospital ever since with severe cellulitis in my buttock and dreadful infection requiring lots of IV and oral antibiotics. Nine months on the seton is still in and draining pus – will it ever end? I get extremely tired very quickly, can’t exercise much due to pain and sitting is still a nightmare – has anyone else experienced this with a seton? Problems in this area have ruined my 30’s and Im approaching 40 now and have had enough of this ruinung my life. I’m going to ask my surgeon to start cutting it out (Ive had about 5 minor exploritory ops already and been packed until wounds have healed), I know as it runs through my muscle at one end (its a horse shoe shape) presumably they can start laying open the other end? Does anyone have any advice / experience of this type of surgery? Thanks

  71. 50% chance of working. I don’t like the odds.
    I’ve spoken to a nurse that deals with rehab for rectal patients- she said be prepared to have fecal incontinence, best case a short time. . Laughing and crapping not what I want.

  72. I have a question, I had a fistula for many years from a bee sting that turned to a boil that burst ; untreated because I didn’t have medical insurance or money or anyone to help take care of it because of the area. Finally had an operation; and I haven’t had problems since with the fistula. Although, many years later, I’ve had many intestinal issues. My husband and I often wonder, can the many years I had it affected my intestines long term? This is actually the first time; I’ve seen anything about fistulas. We’re researching all the other reasons why my intestines hardly work (it can be over 2 weeks before I have a bowel movement but it doesn’t hurt). I’m gluten free and looking into glutamate free options… but we can’t help to think the fistula could have something to do with it. Some my question is, what would be the long-term effects to your body if you have had a fistula ? Can the chronic contamination of possible feces or other germs possibly cause other types of diseases to your immunity since it’s basically a hole to your inside? I get no replies from doctors, it took years to even find a doctor that even figured out what it even was.

  73. I have been a crohns disease patient for 23yrs. During the course of the disease I had start dealing with a fistula since the last 10yrs or so now I have multiple fistulas which can be painful majority of the time.. I now have had the fistulas drained on and doctors have even done a Seton placement while on humira shot the fistulas r suppose to not be there or filling up wth abscesses however that’s not the we speak an abscess has formed

    • Rhonda, I was told I had an extremely long colon, I had pain in the right upper stomache area for 3 years caused by the vitamins I was taken (contained gluten), exploratory surgery (twisted colon)and now, I rarely have bowel movements (like it could be weeks), and have dystonia (muscle twisting) and it doesn’t hurt, and if i use anything to make it move it hurts too bad and doesn’t work. It feels like some areas don’t work and it may be pocketed somewhere, but since I can’t clean out my system and the last colonscopy hurt so bad, the doctor’s haven’t done anything, and since it’s not painful, and I’m labeled as a nut case, I haven’t made a big deal out of it. But, I had the fistula filled with something solid surgically, don’t know what it was, and haven’t had any more problems with that; but I had it for like 3 years and can’t help to believe it’s has to do with something.

  74. I’m a guy in the UK and had a peri-anal abscess in my 20’s, which following surgery never really healed up and I lived with it for 10 years.

    It was occasionally a tiny bit uncomfortable but didn’t really do any harm and was just like a spot near my anus that never healed. However I took it to my GP and said “Look, it doesn’t hurt but do I need to worry about this thing that never heals?” and they said yes and referred me to the local hospital and following an examination I was informed I had a ‘Fistula’ (hurrah!) and that it needed Seton stich surgery to remove.

    I had my first surgery at the end of November 2012 and stupidly went back to work at the office after 2 days, not realising that the effects of the general anesthetic would be so severe and a week was the minimum rest time required.

    The surgery itself and the stitch were much more painful than I expected and after a few weeks sitting down was getting more and more painful. Things got even worse in January and I went to my GP and said that there was increasing pain and discomfort.

    I was referred back to the hospital and examined by an specialist who was delighted to inform me I now had an Anal Fissure too! Obviously my thoughts were that something which never caused any pain before I had surgery was now incredibly painful and could only be as a result of the surgical intervention, the pain now so great I could barely function as a human being. Added to this, the draining of the fistula was constant and I had to wear female underwear liners to prevent staining my trousers.

    In mid-February I had a second operation where he replaced the seton stitch with an identical one and treated the fissure with Botox! Now in May, the fissure pain has largely subsided and the only discomfort is because I still have the second silk seton-stitch in place and a bit of string coming out of you, both inside and out, isn’t ever going to be comfortable.

    I am due to have the THIRD operation on Friday and I am hoping it is to take the stitch out and let the thing heal. There doesn’t seem to be any monitoring of the effectiveness of the previous surgery as I haven’t been examined since the second stitch was put in so I am in the dark as to how things are going. It still constantly drains a clear-ish liquid and as a result, underwear liners still have to be worn. The whole area still feels lumpy and slightly inflamed so I really won’t know until Friday what Mr Surgeon is going to do.

    The moral of the story if there is one, is that if I’d have known the pain and discomfort caused by the procedure, which is still on-going, I wouldn’t have elected to have the surgery, although the understandable medical advice is that something is wrong and something has to be done.

    Thanks for reading and my heart goes out to anyone in a similar or worse situation x

    • Jesus paul ya not fillin me with much optimism for the outcome of my surgery…I’m 10 days in now and tbh I’m too beginnin to wish I’d not bothered going as the pain and discharge now is 10 times worse than before the surgeons got me under their control…let’s just hope we both end up with designer mangina’s eh and end this ridiculous episode of walkin about like a stick of dynamite lol…good luck buddy, phil in madchestor

  75. After giving birth to my daughter, I got an anal fissure, omg! It hurt soo bad, and my daughter had colic, what a nightmare,; I went through. I got surgery,I asked the doctor is this gonna be painful and he said, ‘ Do you feel pain now, well, you’ll feel pain afterwards, but it’ll get better, at least.” He removed a hemorroid while he was down there, I was grateful. I always get something, doctors never heard of, or it can’t happen, so I like this site, I’m not the only one.

  76. Look up difference of fissure and fistula.
    Seems similar, but they are very different!
    Good luck

  77. I had fistula surgery on the 29th. I had a seton placed and I believe a partial fistulsectomy seeing as I have a giant hole. My fistula is a little different as my external opening is next to my vagina. I have noticed changes in the drainage. It’s now thick and has a yellow tinge to it and just today it is starting to smell for the first time. Is something wrong or is that normal.

    • Hi alyssa,

      My drainage also smells and I have to mask it by using scented baby wipes inside the “sanitary towles” I have decided to wear. This smell I don’t know if anyone else can smell, but to me it really is pungent and makes me self conscious of others sensing it when I’m around. The only advice I can offer is 3-4 baths a day (if you can) and just try and refresh your towel with some type of scented wipe (if that’s possible for a female to do?).

      I hope this helps, I had mine done on the 30th April this year and I’m finding it very difficult to operate as normal when using the toilet at the moment.

      Good luck and keep your chin up that’s all we can do.

      Phil (in the UK)

  78. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks for your effort and dedication in putting this website together it has proved very handy in trying to offer my family the information needed to explain my current predicament.

    I have 2 setons implanted one on (as I describe it) the front section of my bum and one in the rear, I’m praying the use of these awful bungee cords works and the “advancement flap” surgery can be used as the last thing I want is to be going thro this painful, uncomfortable and dirty proceedure again.

    Would the surgery here in the UK be the same as carried out where you are or do our NHS doctors perform different operations and tactics to those used by your own do you know?

    Thanks again for putting this site together and I look forward to your advice and guidance let alone reassurance in your competent understanding as soon as your free to offer any to me.

    Kind Regards from Manchester England


  79. Maybe you have caught a minor yeast infection from the fistula since its.near.vagina sometimes.I.need.monistat 3 or 7 day treatment from mine I.get a lot of.itching down.there from fistula

  80. Hi there, 5 days ago I had a seton inserted to treat a fistula. The first few days were so-so as far as pain, and the last two have been extremely agonizing. I cannot seem to get comfortable and painkillers help mildly. The pain is very sharp. The surgeon had said recovery was “only a couple days” before I would be up and moving about as normal – this seems to be misleading. Can anyone tell me how long it took before they no longer had much pain or discomfort caused by the seton? I assume I will always be “aware” of it but I am just wondering when I should be able to go about life without painkillers! I am supposed to return to work on Monday and am wondering if this is even realistic?! How long did it take any of you to get past the pain/discomfort of the seton insertion?

  81. I had a Seton placement and for the first 2 weeks it was very painful since my fistulas since the last 10 yrs has been painful at times ESP at nite.. my doctor has been prescribing tylenol 3 since the last 10 yrs now he prescribes me tramadol since it doesn’t have codeine in them which can be very addictive after this course having a Seton placement since last yr or so sometimes I do OK swithout the pain pills but most of the time I’m hurting at night and sometimes in morning!!!

    • Sits baths r a must sometimes relieves pain it depends on the days I can’t work from mine and I’m on humira to prevent abceses from forming even wth Seton placement also I take 6mp mercaptopurrinethol this horrible disease has been a challenge for me

  82. Amen to that @Phil

  83. Can I ask the community a question pls, has anyone any idea when sufferers of fistulas with setons in can have sex again pls? I’m only asking this because I feel I’ve got half a mile of electrical cabling hanging out of my rear and tbh its causing me to lose my labido and I’m not sure if this is a natural side effect of being “re-wired” lol…any advice on time frames or the like would be most appreciated thanks as I’m lying here wondering if this is it now for me and my cheeky side?

  84. Phil, I have a recto-vaginal fistula, and was told I could have sex anytime, that it will NOT damage the fistula. Of course, the issue of pain is there, at least in my case – since I have pain when the seton is pulled/tugged, I am holding off on coitus. As for the libido, mine is gone as well. So sad, hope to get it back when the seton comes out.

    • np – Mine exits right beside my vagina and I have been putting off getting too comfortable with anyone because of it! Good to see it’s ok… was having horrible thoughts

  85. Yes you can bust the abscess that grows that’s nothing but an infection when my bump came I would make them buss by putting a hot hot towel right between my rectum so they can drain those bumps are abscesses which is very discomforting and causes infection in your body which only be cured with antiobotics now I have a Seton placement now they bust o. Its own and is very painful constantly taking sits baths and taking.pain pills with narcotics I have crohns disease which causes my multiple fistulas

  86. I am so sorry. 4 setons at once! Omg….. well some good news for you. Despite the fact my last advanced flap surgery failed, I have been pretty much pain free. It took about 4-5 months to heal and feel back to normal. My seton broke and my doctor thought we could try leaving it out. It has been almost a year (Aug was my last surgery) and i haven’t absessed or had any problems. I still have the fistula but it hasn’t bothered me. I do have muscle spasms off and on that will jolt me. . However in time less and less. I almost have forgotten the hell I was living in. So there is hope! I didn’t know and couldn’t find anyone to tell me this. And was so scared and depressed during the last years. But there is a better time coming for you! Just keep up the fiber! Good luck!

  87. Hey guys, I need some advice.

    I’m 21 years old male, no sort of IBD. I’ve had an transphincteric fistula for over 2 years now. Finally started doing something about it, and the planned approach by the doctor is:
    1, Draining seton for 2 months
    2, Surgery – either LIFT or advancement flap
    I’d prefer the LIFT surgery, as it seems less painful and also won’t restrict me for as long. AF can always be done later.

    The problem is, I’m not sure I wanna go through this. There’s so many reasons:
    I’ve already had a seton in for over a month once (then it fell out and I have to get another surgery to get one again, and 2 months again), and it wasn’t very comfortable. So there’s 2 months of a having a draining seton.
    Then there’s gonna be the LIFT surgery, which will put me out of a normal life for probably like 2 weeks. I also like to exercise a lot and lift weights, and I’m sure I’ll have to avoid that for ~8 weeks or so to have better chances of it healing, which is very annoying for me.
    The whole surgery doesn’t even have a very high success rate. So it might all be a waste of time. I’m not trying to be arrogant and say my time is more important than others’ time, but I’m 21 years old and I don’t want to have a bad summer with a drain and then a surgery, only for it to not work.
    All of this is also quite mentally draining, and I’d rather not have to think about any of this.
    And most of all… the current state of my fistula is great. I have MINIMAL problems with it. It’s not painful (exception below, every 2 – 3 weeks), it’s barely visible, there’s minimal drainage. Now, every 2 to 3 weeks, the pus will “grow up” a bit underneath the external opening (which is closed) of the fistula, but then within a day either the external opening will open and the pus will go out, or I make a little hole with a needle (haven’t done for over half a year now). A few drops of pus perhaps. And even this one day, when it’s in a relatively “bad” state – it still is almost painless. Perhaps if I walk for a very long time or touch it, but sitting/basically everything, is painless.

    I just don’t know whether it’s worth it to treat it. I feel like not doing anything about it instead, and just dealing with it in a few years time, when I’m not as physically active and the post-surgery recovery won’t restrict me so much for so long.

    Sorry for the long post, just felt like I needed to explain my situations.

    • I’m 51 and a healthy woman. Active. I also have been in the career of selling medical devices for 20+ years. I developed a rectal abscess in dec 2012. Most painful thing I’ve ever had. I have given birth to 2 kids, have had a fissure and hem.

      The abscess turned into a fistula. I did A ton of research and met w 2 gen surgeons. I spoke with a rehab nurse who told me to expect fecal incontinence for min of 2 weeks.

      I decided that since the fistula wouldn’t get worse if I did nothing, to do nothing surgically.

      Initially, I had flare ups of every 2 weeks or so with the abscess. Antibiotics do not help with them. I did research and found that applying wild oregano oil with a qtip to the abscess really seemed to help. It’s painful, but it has worked for me. I did the sitz baths, hot compresses when it flared. I do use a baby wipe after every bm to keep it as clean as possible.

      I just don’t think that the risk is even close to the reward for having any type of surgery. I had a colonoscopy and do not have chrons. My sitch may be different that another, but I am very happy and comfortable with my choice

      Good luck

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Wow that sounds terrible, 2 weeks of incontinence? I wouldn’t think about going for that surgery either. That sounds very drastic, what surgery were they planning for you Lynn?

        My surgeon is thinking of LIFT, which is relatively non-invasive as far as the sphincters go. Some minor incontinence perhaps. There’s usually incontinence problems with other more invasive procedures like fistulotomy (if the fistula goes across the sphincters, but for example my surgeon said he wouldn’t do that, because of the incontinence), or the cutting seton, or advancement flap.
        As far as surgeries go, LIFT is pretty much the least invasive one. Well, that and the plug/glue, both of which are not very successful.

    • Jack- If the fistula doesn’t cause you much pain, I advise just leaving it alone. The success rate isn’t high, as you know, and as you can read from others on this site there are numerous post surgery pains and further complications. I am leaving mine alone because all I have is very minimal daily drainage with basically no pain at all (unless the abscess fills up– then I just pop it again for relief). Surgery should be those who experience unbearable pain and discomfort. Getting surgery now, when you have minimal pain, can back fire and can make things worse down there. I’ve had mine for 8 months now and I haven’t had any medical intervention, and I still have no pain.

      • I am in very similar situations Jendel.

        I really have minimal problems with the fistula. It is closed 13 out of 14 days with no pain, when it gets irritated it opens and there is some minor drainage. Still, healthcare is free here, the doctor is very good (recommended by my uncle who’s an gastro-enterologist or whatever it’s spelled), and I feel it might be good for me.

        While the success rate isn’t high, the research indicating this isn’t very solid – high median age, for many of the people it’s not their first fistula surgery, very high % have some sort of IBD which considerably lowers the chances of success, and there is no information about immunity of patients.

        I on the other hand, am 21 years old, very healthy with good immunity and recovery. I’m confident the chances of success are probably higher for me with LIFT, I’d dare say it’s 75% or more.

        I also fear that it will get worse with time, treatment will become more complicated, and I will regret not doing anything about the fistula, back when I was 21 and it was in better state, and would possibly get fixed by a surgery. I’d also not want another fistula tract to emerge, because I didn’t treat it.

        Why do you think it could backfire and make things worse? Honestly asking.

        np- my seton just broke. One day I noticed it’s broken when I was showering. I don’t know why, I didn’t feel any pain prior – and I sure could tell easily when I yanked on it, so I think I would have noticed if it got stuck somewhere.
        I think it was possibly from me being very active. I played a lot of soccer, ran, lifted weights with the seton.. I noticed that when the seton fell out, it wasn’t a nice “smooth” rubber line as initially – it was very “saw-tooth”ish.

  88. Jack, I tend to agree with the other commenters. You might want to get a second opinion, however. If you can make a trip to the Cleveland Clinic, that might put your mind at ease. I’ve had my seton for nearly a year now and am doing fine with it, but unfortunately, it’s in a location that prevents marital relations, so I’ll have to address that at some point. I don’t quite understand why your seton breaks, it must be due to the location? Also, I do know of a person who had the LIFT done and it was successful and she is doing wonderfully now. There is a lot to think about, but as long as you aren’t having problems I don’t believe there is a rush to make a decision.

  89. Hi could anyone offer me any advice please as I’ve had my setons in for 3 weeks now and this 3rd week has been tremendously worse than the previous 2 I feel like my insides are being ripped out due to them and can’t walk, sit, lie or stand comfortably as the feeling of pulling and stretching is becoming unbearable. I feel they have become all twisted and stretched and as I speak I can feel them pulling my inside and feeling like they are tightening up over time. Is this normal please?

    Also, I’ve had my biopsy result back today which showed “no sign” of chrones so do I still need the setons in or could I have them taken out do you know? Any advice on this matter would be very much appreciated as I’m close to cutting them myself to release the pain if this carries on.

    I’m not nor have I ever been on or given any pain relief, again is this wrong or should I be asking for some type of relief?

    Thank you

    • Hi Phil… your seton may be getting tighter because there is swelling? You probably just need to go and get a check up. When mine used to hurt like that, it was because it had gotten twisted around, so I used to go in for a check up and they’d pull it back around for me. Make an appointment ASAP, if you’re in intense pain like that, you shouldn’t wait around to see if it gets better. Just get a check.
      I also had several biopsys that showed no signs of crohns disease. It doesn’t matter. You can get a fistula whether you have crohns or not. I don’t have crohns, but I still had fistulas, and they still need to be treated with setons and surgery. The reason they check for crohns is because it’s more common to get fistulas if you have the disease, and if you have it, they would need to manage the disease with medication or diet restriction. If they can manage the crohns, then the fistulas shouldn’t flare up as much.
      Yes you should definitely have been offered pain medication. And if you didn’t get the offer, I would complain, that’s shocking!! You should have been given a prescription for tramadol, or something along those lines. Take panadol for now, until you get some… you should ring for an appointment/check up asap.
      Good luck!!

  90. It’s the fistula surgical success rates that have me concerned. How do they measure success? A seton interfering with my daily activity, plus future surgeries. . I like the one and done option.

    I’ve had appendix removed, knee meniscus cut out. Healed well at 45 and 51 respectively. Don’t let the fact that u think u r healthier at ur age to push u into something. Fecal incontinence something to consider.

    If you do nothing the fistula doesn’t get worse. That convinced me. Surgeons are trained to cut.

    • Well in most studies online, you can find success rates after a number of months etc. Usually with LIFT it really is about 60-70% after 12+ months. Which is a very low % of success, considering you have to live 6+ weeks with a seton prior to that (which while not very painful, still is quite unpleasant until you get used to it – which takes like a month), then after surgery you will be in some pain for a few days, and quite limited for a month or so.

      Risk/reward-wise, it sure is tough to say whether it’s worth it, especially if your fistula is giving you minimal problems, like mine. Really, only reason I went to the doctor in the first place, was that it was annoying me a bit, wasn’t healing, and I wanted to know what my treatment options are. I remember telling myself I’d probably not do anything drastic to treat it.. and here I am, wondering whether this surgery is drastic or not.

      Not doubting you, but how have you come to the conclusion that a fistula doesn’t get worse? My surgeon warned me about the possibility of another abscess forming, and the possibility of the fistula becoming more complex (creating new branches).
      Also, studies indicate minimal problems with incontinence in LIFT surgery. With other surgeries, it’s worse, but with lift it seems good.

      • I’m not sure a fistula won’t get worse, either. I don’t know how long I had mine, as it was not dx’d in a timely fashion, but I do have branches that make this particular fistula (jpouch-vaginal) impossible to treat surgically, according to my surgeon (outside of having my pouch remade or removed). I think – although I certainly am not certain – that a seton can help in preventing things from “backing up” and causing additional abscesses and possibly even branching. This – surgery – is a really tough call, Jack. I would not rush into it, and as noted, I would go for a 2nd opinion.

  91. Hi just had 2nd op on mine, still no sucess! got seton in for atleast ten more weeks in a lot of discomfort fed up with smell soreness etc. does anyone recover

  92. np, I actually got another opinion from another surgeon.. and well, like the first one, he said it’s up to me. He also similarly noted that he thinks it’s better to treat things before they get worse. Really, I think my situation doesn’t need much medical expertise – it doesn’t seem to be a problem of that. I’m very happy with the surgeon I have, as he’s very kind and isn’t pushing me into anything and both the options (LIFT / flap) are considered very good and advanced at the moment, from the research I’ve done. There’s a ton of stupid surgeons who would just get me a fistulotomy/cutting seton or tell me those are the only options, even though they are “old” methods that are generally not used on fistulas that go across the sphincters because of the very high chance of incontinence they bring.

    I’ve also considered living with a seton, because as you say, that is the safest method really. However, even after a month it was relatively painful for me, compared to not having a seton – not most of the time, but if I ever ran / played some sports / exercised for a longer period of time, it would be far more unpleasant than without a seton. Without a seton, a lot of walking or running also made the fistula irritated, but with a seton it was even worse. Still, while the seton did cause a bit more consistent pain, there was no swelling every 2 or 3 weeks. I’m pretty sure as far as pain goes though, I’d prefer 1 day of swelling every 2 or 3 weeks, over having a seton that makes the fistula a bit more painful pretty much all the time.

  93. I had a fistula for approx 15 yrs which used to get infected/drain itself maybe once a wk, then I started on Methotrexate for RA and within 2months it had become an abcess, had a seton put in, the 6 wks later seton replaced as too much sphincter muscle involved, had absolutely no probs for 7 months, then suddenly it became infected with seton in place, not sure why this has happened, now booked for a EUA in 2wks time. I would have been prepared to keep a seton in for life due to my history but now not sure?? anyone had any similar experience? regards Lisa

  94. The thing that gets me about repairing a fistula is this..A seton is inserted which goes into the intestines where it is full of bacteria…niw the seton allows bacteria to invade the fistula tract from the is not a tight seal why is it a mystery with the continued introduction into the tract that fistulas dont heal well…in other words the tract is closed while infection exist. I dont understand why the internal opening is not closed and the outer left open with some sort of seton that can work by going only out the external opening…then continue to clean and close…the internal opening feeds the bacteria in the tract…

    • Hi Fred…. they can’t close the internal opening that easily – that’s why fistulas are so hard to fix. Both openings are kept open with the seton while all the pus and infection drains out. Once the tissue is healthy and infection free – then they can close the internal opening with one of many different procedures – like an advancement flap. If they could simply close the internal opening – then none of us would have fistulas for so long. They cannot close the internal opening while there is infection etc – the procedure just won’t work, the infection stops the healing etc.

  95. Greetings from Sweden everyone, was so glad to find this webpage! I`ve had the same issues as many of you. Operated on for a perianal abscess, and as soon as the wound closed up I had another. At my last and third op to have it drained they found a fistula tract and put in a seton. Wondering if this definetely will stop the abscess from returning? The information I`ve gotten isn`t exactly satisfying 😦 Seems many doctors, incl the first one I saw, are at a loss of what to do, she even asked me how come I got an abscess?! I haven`t a clue ofcourse.. She put me on antibiotics instead of sending me to a surgeon which ofcourse made me very ill :/
    Why do those of us who don`t have Chrons or IBS etc get this? Does it have anything to do with the immunesystem or is it pure bad luck?
    Thanks so much in advance, glad to find I`m not alone..

    • Hi Gabi, yes the surgeons aren’t great at giving you information – that’s why you really need to write down questions, and ask them all your questions when you’re there next.
      The seton will keep the fistula tract open, which should stop another abscess forming in there. However, you could get another abscess elsewhere nearby. That’s why it’s best to get yourself as healthy as possible.
      Are you seeing a Colorectal surgeon? Make sure you are. General surgeons do not have the expertise to deal with fistulas, you need a Colorectal surgeon.
      I was told by several surgeons that it is just pure bad luck. I guess you always want a reason for things, but try not to think about it, just get yourself better 🙂

  96. Thanks so much 4 respnding 🙂
    I`ll make sure to do that. Yes, the surgeon is a gastrospecialist (in swedish) is it the same? Not sure of the translation 😛
    This last time they sent me home from the ER with an appointment in 2 days, still wondering why, it just got bigger and I got sicker again. Would have been better if they just drained it with local anesthesia, did that the previous time.
    Anyway, are u better now?
    Yeah, I`ll just have to accept it`s just bad fortune 😀

    • I have been dealing with a fistula for several years. I am scared to get the seton surgery as the last surgery made me sicker, and I got several more bullet holes through me. My cortisol is high and my hemoglobin in low. I am on a raw organic diet and gave up meat, wheat and dairy. I have a mouthful of mercury fillings and am wondering if that is the cause of this infection. Do any of you have mercury fillings? Maybe, we took to many antibiotics and now have a super infection? I can no longer work because of my fistula and am on disability. Sometimes, I get a sharp intense pain on my right hand side , stomach issues, back aches, and a pain on the left side above my knee. I will keep up with my raw organic diet and hopefully one day my system can fight this infection dead.

  97. i am in excruciating pain since my seton and wanna just cut it and take it out.ive pretty much gone anorexic as going to the toilet is so painful..can i just cut borderline now as im in so much pain

    • If you’re in that much pain, then you need to go and have a check up, to make sure that it’s positioned properly etc. It is painful, but have you been prescribed some pain medication?? Don’t cut your seton or take it out yourself. You had to go through surgery to have it placed, and it’s there to make you better. Just make an appointment and tell them you’re in pain, and ask for a solution.

      • i asked and no solution..just pain meds that make it even harder to go to the loo…as they cause contipation….just checking wether its normal for it to b this painful….and also itchy?? ive been checked in the hospital and they didnt say anything im totally revolted at my own body,i cant have sex i have no idea when it will b removed im beyond over it..and ive only had it in 3weeks!!!total mental breakdown

      • Yes it’s a pretty painful thing to go through, but it gets easier in time. Most pain medications will constipate you, your doctor should have suggested that you take some sort of stool softener as well as the pain medication. Something like Movicol. I know it’s hard, and it’s such a horrible thing to go through, but 3 weeks isn’t long, it can take a long time to heal. You will get your head around it and learn to live with it for a while, it’s just a shock in the beginning. Take it easy and try to be positive. Get yourself some stool softener!

  98. I take tylenol 3 and tramadol for my pain over counter pain meds don’t work for me anymore but my doctor dont like to prescribe narcotics cus they r addictive sometimes I go without however I sometimes be in great need at bedtime also Sitz baths also work u want to keep fistula and Seton placement as clean as possible… when its not clean tend to be more; painful ijs

  99. Yes I have crohn’s disease and I was diagnosed in 1993 I suffered starting with one fistula then it grew to multiple fistulas know that crohns is not curable so u can only take meds like sulfasalzine folic acid prednozone antiobotics and or remicade or humira shot whatever your doctor prescribe each person is different now my first surgery was 3 yrsago where I had a colon stricture from crohns unfornuately had another surgery almost a year since Seton placement all you can do its tolerate; pain as much as I do then sometimes I can’t take it so I have to take something for pain sometimes when its unbearable I if I happen to get an abscess which shouldn’t happen with meds mines bust on its own which which can be messy at times

  100. Bad smell coming out anus; I had fistulas.
    How do the odea go away?

  101. Hello, the information here is great. Its really helped me understand the condition better. I am 21 years old and I was diagnosed with the abscess in January 2013. It was the most excruciating pain that I ever felt in my life. I couldnt even walk, sit or lie on my back. The area around the abscess had swelled and the swelling seemed to be spreading. I was limited to lying on my side. I went to my doctor and she sent me away with antibiotics. A week later I went back to her as I had a fever and I was puking up food, I could not keep anything down. I was sent to A and E and admitted to hospital. They pumped me with antibiotics because turns out the infection was so severe that they found traces of it in my blood. Despite this the surgeons tried to convince me that it did not need to be operated on. They kept me in hospital for three days on antibiotics, on the third day I was reduced to tears from the pain and they decided that surgery was needed. After the surgery I could not even describe the relief I felt. It was a little bit sore but nothing compared to the pain I had felt before. I thought this was it. After a few days I was discharged from hospital. I had to get the wound packed everyday. I do not have a medical card, so I was not entitled to a public health nurse. In the beginning my parents had to pay 20 euros everyday to the GP to change the dressing. Later my mother (who is a psychiatric nurse) was shown how to do it, but at first the staff in the hospital made out like she couldn’t possibly understand how to do it. The GP expressed some concerns about the wound. It was discharging a lot of smelly putrid liquid and she sent me back to the hospital to get checked out. I was seen by a surgeon, not one of surgeons on my original team albeit. He put me on IV antibiotics for 24 hours and sent me home. My GP was furious as she felt her concerns had basically been ignored. By this time I was feeling quite ill again. I could not walk or sit without pain. My GP rang my original surgical team directly and arranged an appointment for me to meet with them. This time I was readmitted straight away. They told me that they were going to perform and EUA and that they might be placing a seton drain and that it would stay in for a couple of months. Turns out they did put in a seton drain but no one ever came back to tell me this. I found out a day later when the nurse was changing the wound and she was wondering what it was. It was quite painful at first and going to the toilet was impossible. I have been going back to the hospital every 6 weeks or so since February. I am usually not one to complain but I feel to some extent let down by the experts. It just seems that I am passed around to whoevers available and nobody is ever fully aware of whats going on. For example my visit last month, the wound was inspected…or not. He was looking in the wrong place all the time telling me o that looks great, you don’t have to come back anymore your done. I replied to him what about the seton. He appeared confused and left the cubicle to go look at my chart. When he came back all he said was come back in six weeks. This was a huge let down because the months before that I had been seen by the head of the colorectal team himself and he said everything was great and when I came back the next time we would see about doing something to close the wound further. He said he would explain it to me next time, but next time he was nowhere to be seen. I have my next appointment next week, and I have come to terms with the fact that the same thing will probably happen again. It is still draining very very small amounts of yellow liquid. This does get a small bit worse after I go to the toilet and the color changes to brown probably because of stool. I have been searching through forums like these because I am scared. I am scared that it will never fully heal and I will be stuck with it. I feel that I can’t really move forward with my life. I got this when I was in my final year of college. I missed five weeks of the last term and desperately struggled to keep up. I have just gotten accepted into the masters I wanted to do but I am afraid that there will just be more of the same. In September 12 months all my friends are going to Canada for the year to travel and I am afraid that I will be left behind. I am clueless to whether my care could even be continued in another country or even affordable. I do not have chroens disease, and they could not find anything else wrong with me. They said I was just one of the ‘unlucky’ ones. I have come across some good and bad stories about this. Some people have said their seton will be in for life while others have said theirs was taken out after a few months. I can only pray that this time I will be one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

  102. I am a bit concerned about my bf.. he has crohns and had surgery for a fistula a week ago today.. he says he is always uncomfortable and hurting and is still doing the pads to catch anything.. but now he is being stubborn and saying he wants to ride rollercoasters on tuesday, less than 2 weeks since his surgery.. this seems like a really bad idea, any thoughts?

    • What kind of fistula surgery did he have?? There is no way I would go on a rollercoaster after fistula surgery. I wouldn’t do anything that could risk doing damage. Up to him at the end of the day though!

      • That is what I was thinking, it could damage it so soon after surgery.. keep in mind this is under 2 weeks since the surgery. Seems like getting bumped around and all wouldn’t be great.. this is like his 5th surgery and they said if this doesn’t work then he could end up with a permabag.

      • If they’ve said this could be his last chance of the surgery working, then why is he willing to do something that could ruin his chances? I had an advancement flap and hardly moved for 6 weeks afterwards, because I wanted to give the advancement flap the best possible chance of healing over. There is absolutely no way I would have gone on a rollercoaster. The jolts and bumps could cause damage. And I think if he asked his surgeon, he would say the same thing. There is plenty of time to do stuff like that in the future, when he’s better.

  103. Not neccessarily if he can deal with the pain… Pain killer s knock the pain out. Somtimes it is tolerable and sometimes its not.

  104. Our 14 years research has simplified complex modern surgery of fistula to non surgical procedure. In our clinic we treat fistula only by KSHARSUTRA ( medicated herbal seton ). We have developed different probing techniques for each type of fistula. Using appropriate technique kshar- sutra is inserted correctly in the fistula track. The success of the treatment depend on two things – quality of ksharsutra & its correct insertion in the fistula track. We take care of both. This herbal thread is changed after every 7 days. Duration of treatment is 4 to 8 weeks. The duration & cost of the treatment depend on the length & stage of fistula.
    Ksharsutra treatment is now replacing fistulectomy & other complex surgeries in India. This treatment is curing patients of anorectal fistula & pilonidal cyst permanently. We also takes pride in treating complex / recurrent, complete or partial / horseshoe shape fistula successfully without any incontinence .We have maintained the data of each patient to prove this fact. Ksharsutra treatment don’t require hospitalization, daily dressing, antibiotics & bed rest. It is purely herbal treatment without side effects. World Health Organisation ( W.H.O. ) has accepted the kshar sutra treatment for anal fistula.
    Mode of action of Kshara sutra:
    Ksharsutra has both cutting & healing action. Kshara sutra works by 4 ways :
    – pressure necrosis,
    – chemical cauterization by kshar (alkali) ,
    – sloughing of the tissue of the walls of the fistulous track
    – cutting provides adequate drainage.
    It leads to an easy debridement of unhealthy tissue and pus etc. and thus providing a cleaner base for the wound healing of the fistulous track. The Kshara-sutra is changed weekly so that an average pace of cutting of about 0.5-0.8 cm/week is maintained along with healing from behind. Finally the whole track is cut through and the fistula gets healed up with minimal scarring and without any other major complication. Infection is not the only cause in fistula. The structure itself is a big cause of recurrence. As kshar-sutra totally distroys the unhealthy tissue & structure, there is no recurrence .

  105. How do they tighten a seton? I go back Monday and am dreading the visit!

    • A seton is a loop… they just make the loop smaller, tie it together tighter. They do it as the fistula heals… don’t worry, you’ll be fine 🙂

      • Thanks! I went for my first visit and it was still tight. He went and got some kind of long tool to tighten it with, but then didn’t need it. I asked him if that was my torture tool! Hoping it will still be tight when I go Monday. Thanks for the prompt reply.

  106. Good Afternoon. My husband just had his 6 surgery (the one before last was a LIFT) putting in Seton Tubes on this past Friday. He currently has 4 tubes in. This one was huge. Between the tubes and the stitches, he is extremely uncomfortable. Is there any lubrication that won’t cause infection that can alleviate some of the friction down there?

    Thank you!

  107. Have him add some Epsom Salt to his Bath Water. It Really Helps With soreness. I Also Put Some Coconut Oil On Mine. It Has Helped With itching And Soreness. Sorry about The Caps. I Am Typing On My PhonE And It Is Automatically Changing The Letters To Caps.

  108. Hi everyone, I would like to say how glad I am to have found this site.

    I had an abscess 5 years ago and it came back at Christmas. I had surgery to drain it in April and May when the surgeon fitted a seton stitch. Before I found this site I didn’t understand fully what the stitch was for. I get terrible pain when the knot in the stitch becomes trapped inside me. Is this a common problem?

    I have just had an MRI scan and am going for follow up in 3 weeks. Surgeon is suggesting laying open the fistula if it is not too deep. I haven’t had much confidence in them but I see that my problem are common to fellow suffers.

    Thanks for all the useful info, it’s been a great help

    • Hi Simon, I used to have the same problem with the knot in the seton. Every week the seton would turn and the knot would go up inside and scratch around. I kept going to see the nurse to get her to pull the seton back around, and then I worked out I could do it myself. The seton is a loop right…. so you just gently pull one side of it, so that the knot comes back out, and it’s in place properly again. Don’t do it if it hurts to much, and don’t pull it too hard.
      Good luck with your MRI, let us know what happens 🙂

  109. Went back to the surgeon today. It was my third follow up, since my surgery on June 21st. Unfortunately, my seton fell out while I was there, because it fell out too soon, I have to go back into surgery to either have it replaced or a fistulatomy. He won’t know until he examines while I am under for surgery. Sooooo frustrating!!!

  110. Hi. I’m 33yrs old from M’sia. I been facing this problem since 2 yrs plus. I now on medical leave almost 3 weeks. i been diagnosis with fistula in ano on feb this yr and did surgery fistulotomy however it fail although my GS told me im cure. i was not satisfied and asked to refer to another surgeon, the medical center refer me to colonrectal surgeon and told that i need to go another surgery, this time doc want to do fistulectomy procedure which is removing the whole tract and stitched with dissolved surture, i not agree at first because when i surf mostly the proceudre will lay open the wound. Doc said is for cosmestic reason. Is true after the surgery i can sit with less pain not as before it take 2 week for me able to sit down. Now I have some questions to ask u guys – couple of days ago, i m been experiencing some drainage (pinkish colour) coming from the inside of the wound where the stiches are there, no discharge in the anus, the area have no redness or getting more pain. So is confirmed that i has no infection. But why got drainage? Anyone facing the same problem?

  111. I had my second surgery last week Thursday. I had the LIFT procedure done. Yesterday I was alright taking Ibuprofen only but today I am in so much pain. Its very direct and stabbing. Is this normal this far out from the surgery? I’m not sure what to do the pain pills I have aren’t really working.

    • Alyssa,
      I soaked in Epson Salt baths. That helps me with the pain. Sometimes in the beginning I soak 3x a day. Especially after a bowel movement to keep the are clean. It seems like when it’s not clean the “poo” aggravates it and makes it hurt. I hope you get relief soon.

      • I had an abscess drained on 5/22/2013. The drainage was successful but my wound never healed. My surgeon plugged my fistula with fibrin glue 6 days ago. I’ve been taking laxatives regularly since then and it’s been work to have a successful bowel movement. Today, although very very painful I suceeded but I’m physically drained and very sore. I still have painkillers so that helps but I’m concerned about thoroughly cleaning the area. No matter how many times I gently wipe the area with baby wipes its never clean. I tried rinsing in the shower with little success. I’m worried I’m going to get an infection. I still have lots of brown mucous like discharge mixed with blood. Does anyone have any suggestions for cleaning the area without causing myself too much pain?

  112. Okay, so I have a seton in place for a fistula the surgeon did for me.

    Two weeks later I go to the nurse who cuts the seton and attemps to take it out.

    Problem is, she can’t get it out. If I put a finger inside me, I can’t feel the knot and no matter how I pull, I can’t get the thing out.

    (A) should we have left it uncut? If so when does it eventually come out?

    (B) well I’ve cut it now, so how the bugger can I remove it??

    Really appreciate the advice guys.

    • Hi Travis… OMG your nurse tried to remove your seton?! Surely not? I would say you need to go and see your surgeon asap…. Setons are meant to stay in place for a long time – until your surgeon decides it can be removed. I had setons in for over 2 years. Most people on this site have them for a long time. 2 weeks is not long enough for a seton to do it’s ‘job’. I think you need to lay a complaint about that nurse, that’s terrible. You may need surgery again now to replace the seton.

      • I agree. You need to see your surgeon. My surgeon told me it would fall out on its own when things have healed. Unfortunately, my fell out too early in his office this past Monday. Now I am rescheduled for surgery to have another one put in because my fistula has not heated. Call you doctor tomorrow.

  113. Everybody look at all of the postings to get a view of the complications of surgery!!! Unacceptable! I’ve posted previously about oil of oregano to heal the abscess and do nothing w/ the fistula. I was diagnosed w abscess dec 2012, fistula end of jan 2013. No chrons thank goodness. Taking probiotic and using baby wipes to keep area clean. No surgery to repair fistula, just letting it be. Been absolutely pain-free w/ no complications since feb. I will post if anything changes.

    I feel so bad for all of you dealing w the setons and the pain you are enduring. I remember like it was yesterday. Good luck to all!

    • I agree with you 100%. I just leave mine alone and as long as I pop my abscess, I have no pain! I most likely won’t ever get surgery as long as I remain pain-free. I will trust that my body will heal over time…even if it may take years (I’ve had mine for 11 months now I believe). I sometimes take Oil of Oregano pills, but I still need to go out and buy the oil and apply the oils directly to the abscess when it fills up – thanks for reminding us!

      I feel that the doctors are just banking in on all these surgeries when they know that they aren’t very successful. Performing all these tests, recommending surgery after surgery, I think that the doctors really are still in the learning stages of Fistula’s…and it’s at the patients pain/suffering expense :/

      • Just leaving it won’t work for everyone, some patients need the surgery. If you have a very high abscess that is right up the top of your colon, you can’t “pop it”… it needs to be surgically drained, and then setons put in to place. I had two very high abscesses and two very complex fistulas that would never have gone away by themselves, and in fact I left it too long and had such a massive infection that I nearly died. So I would not recommend that anyone just leaves their fistula, I would take a professionals advice, get 3 opinions if you need to. If you are lucky enough not to need surgery, then that’s great, but unfortunately, not everyone is the same.
        I do agree that there is a long way to go in the treatment of fistulas. Perhaps we are all guinea pigs! 🙂

      • I agree with leaving fistulas alone and changing to a vegan raw food diet. I had one surgery, and it didn’t work and my fistula came back! One must get to the root of the problem, and that is internally. I quit meat, wheat, dairy and beans, and am keeping my fistula under control. My specialist believes that because of my change in diet, that my fistula will heal on its own. 🙂

  114. i made sergery for anal fistula but it was unsucessesful till now i feel sick occationaly did it have possibility to change to cancer the fistula is dual opening

  115. I had a fistulectomy about 6 weeks go. I still get this yellow discharge, although things were healing pretty smoothly. I saw the doctor a week after the surgery, then 10 days later I saw her again. Last time I know things had healed pretty well and she was also happy with the results and discharged me. I traveled afterwards from Asia to South America. Two long haul flights. On the plane, I noticed some bleeding and since then I still have the yellowish discharges and some bleeding (usually after driving, it seems). After two or three days without any bleeding, today I had some bleeding (quite a lot, I guess). As I have been using gaze as a sanitary pad to keep it dry, I noticed the blood spot on the gaze and I’m very much worried now and feeling so frustrated. I still have to go back to Asia in a couple of days so I can see the doctor again. I just saw some replies above and someone suggests antibiotics (or anti-inflammatory?) could be recommended. I’m lost today and really scared.

  116. hi everyone, i have this fistula in ano, its fking driving me crazy, when it reoccured and this time,its hurt like hell theres part in my anus that inflamed, i try to visit my surgeon again and tell us about putting a seton, after 6days of thinking about it and suffer for severe pain, my fistula in ano accidentally pop out, my brief soak with this poop like or something and the pain lessen for about 50% of pain, do everyone there explain me about why its pop out? i pray that it cant harm this sh* of me

  117. sometimes its ok to commit suicide rather than wasting money in this sh*t, honestly, this sh*t is like cancer, this illness is for rich people, getting surgery after it pops out again, and again, and again, didnt have a guarantee every time we have a surgery, what about poor sick people? who even doesnt have a money for food? then have a debt for their surgery, but then, they didnt have even a 1% guarantee that this fckin fistula healed 100%? i feel stressed, and sorry, we all cover our fear with each other

  118. I’m poor and then still had to have a Seton placement due to crohns!!!;unfortunatly there is no cure but certain medecines like humira keeps my

  119. I had the LIFT procedure done almost 5 weeks ago. The last 2 days I have had some bleeding and and pain. Are these signs that the procedure wasn’t successful?

  120. I really do not know what to do anymore, sometomes i just cry till i fall asleep. I am getting tired too. It is a cycle. No pain, swelling, puss coming out. Healing and swelling again i feel so hopeless

  121. hi, yes i sit in a bathtub and soak and wash. I am so afraid of an infection I wash EVERY SINGLE TIME I USE THE BATHROOM, EVEN TO URINATE.

  122. Please consider purchasing a bidet. For those of you with setons, washing after every BM is a good idea; bidets make this SO much easier. Look on Amazon for some relatively cheap and easy bidets that attach to your toilet. Another option is to get a squirt bottle and use that to cleanse. Much easier than getting into a bathtub after every bm!

  123. Well I find myself in a very frustrating situation. My husband has been suffering with an unknown (to us) situation. For at least seven years now he has been having rectal pain. We assumed hemorrhoids, so i took him to the er and we were told he had a fissure. So when we returned home (we had been on vacation) I took him to dr. They told us he didnot have any hemorrhoids. So after suffering a few days of pain, he was ok. I should add the fact that we have bidets in all of our bathrooms.
    We found that whenever he used the rest room without having bidet, he would be in pain. So whenever we went on vacation i would always take a hose that could be connected to a sink or tub faucet. After dealing with this for a while, my husband traveled to the mid east to visit, and came home with a, what looked like a pimple near his anus. It popped, and after a few days pain was gone and he was fine.
    Forward to about 21/2 months ago, we went to vegas for a few days, and low and behold the pain returned. Totally frustrated, when we got back home i found a CR dr and took him. The dr said he had nothing wrong and just spasms of his muscles. no hemorrhoids, no fissures.
    So my husband left for the mid east approx. 11/2 months ago for visit. Unfortunatly, the water pressure was low in the bidet, and he became so infected he couldnt even walk, or barely stand.
    So, he went to the dr and they referred him to a CR dr there. He went, and the dr was furious! He started cussing out every dr that my husband had been seen by!
    Apparently, he has 2 complicated fistulas. So immediately the dr scheduled emergency surgery for that same afternoon!
    He inserted 4 setons. Cutting setons at that. i’m assuming 2 for cutting, and 2 for draining.
    Now 3 weeks after surgery my husband is in so much pain he cant hardly even handle it!
    I feel so helpless, because i am not there with him, and because after all of the research i’ve been trying to get online, i cant find much about cutting setons! He has been told that he has to tighten these things every 2-3 days, and he cant handle the pain.
    I dont know what to do, cause he cant make the 13 hour flight home to get another drs opinion. He told me he is willing to go thru another surgery if it could only ease his pain!
    So i’m wondering if maybe a plug or some other form of procedure would be less painful for him.
    I have been trying to get his medical records emailed to me from overseas, but have not received them yet. I cant even really have a discussion with a dr here till i get those records. I really dont know what to do.
    I want to tell him to stop tightening the setons to get relief, then maybe he could handle the pain to make the flight home.
    The dr told him that its gonna take 3 months of pain and he has to handle it. He also told him that the pain is really intense when he will tighten the setons. Is this normal?
    Help! If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated!

  124. What a horrible ordeal! I don’t have any experience with cutting setons, but do know that and both have individuals who have had them and who may be able to give you some info. on them. I am so sorry you and your husband are going through this –

  125. I noticed fistula last week. Now I notice pus in the morning and evening when I check. In very first day I had pain, after that I had no pain. Now, what can I understand? Pus is draining itself or something else. May I have to take antibiotic or surgery is only the solution. Can I leave this in as usual condition without untreated? Is this will create another problem if untreated. I use to do seize bath two times for 5-7 minute in a day.

  126. Thank you Queenie for the info. I am still learning how to use these forums. I have never been in a situation that I’ve needed to consult with others that have been suffering thru a particular matter. I have visited the web address you suggested, and I am hoping maybe someone will have some helpful info.
    Does anyone on this site know if it would be harmful if my husband quit tightening the setons for a while?
    I just want him to be able to come home!
    I would like to thank np for suggesting the Cleveland Clinic, we are not too far away, and it looks like they accept our insurance. So thank you so much for mentioning them, because I am trying to find a Dr. that actually knows what they are doing, and they have a great deal of experience with this sort of thing….
    Now the trick is trying to get my husband to be able to tolerate the 13 hour flight, along with a 4 hour layover.
    The procedure they preformed on him overseas is different than what they typically do here. They have inserted a long seton (suture like material) pulled it around and out of the fistula and anus, then they tied it in a knot to form a loop. Then they pulled the two ends of the seton tight and taped them to his butt cheek. He has one on the right and one on the left side of his anus. So now, he has one seton taped to his right butt cheek and another on the left. The way they tighten, is by pulling the strings tighter, and retaping them. I have not seen this particular method at all on any site anywhere. Although, they are draining, and my husband said that when he loosens the tape, it relieves about 50 percent of his pain.
    It is so frustrating being far from him, and not being able to do anything except try to be proactive here, to get him an appointment to see a Dr. that actually might be able to relieve his pain, and treat this thing with a more advanced procedure.
    So I ask my question again, “Does anyone know if it would harm him in anyway to stop pulling the setons tighter for a while, just so he can rest himself from the pain, to be able to fly back home?”
    Thanks to anyone that can help!

    • Hi Jamie, I would have thought that if he didn’t tighten them for a couple of days, then that should be fine, just to fly home. I guess when he’s on the plane for 13 hours, he will have to get up and walk around as often as possible. I would get up every ten minutes or so… its the pressure of sitting that will hurt. If you find an expert in Fistulas, a good Colorectal Surgeon, and have an appointment ready for when he gets home, then that is the most proactive thing you can do from a distance. It must be difficult being so far away from him, he’ll get through the flight though, don’t worry. He will just need to make sure he has good pain medication. And his current doctor/surgeon should have prescribed him some pain medication such as Tramadol, to get him through this difficult tightening/healing stage. Good Luck Jamie, let us know how you both get on 🙂

  127. Thank you so much for your concern, and i will be sure to follow up….
    I am wondering about Oil of Oregano….how do you take it, and what are its benefits? Do people find it works? Does it help reduce pain, or just with antiseptic qualities? Is it best taken by mouth, or directly on the anus area, or both?
    Any advice would be great!

    • Hi Jamie, you can put a couple of drops in your Sitz Bath. Or if you’re having a normal bath, put a couple of drops in. It’s meant to have healing properties, particularly for that area of your body. As far as I know, you can also purchase Wild Oregano Oil capsules, which you can take daily, I didn’t do this but some people swear by it. You can probably buy them on the internet somewhere 🙂

  128. Hi guy, I was diagnosed with probable Crohns in January. In may I had an abcess and got it drained. Within two weeks I had a fistula and got a draining seton inserted. I was a bit uncomfortable for the first 2 days but became used to it much quicker than I thought. Last week, I started getting really foul smelling discharge and started paining a lot. Went to my surgeon and he said the seton should come off. Yesterday had a surgery to remove the seton. Now they have left the wound open. It’s slightly painful. But I’m more worried about the bleeding. It’s not a lot but I’m bleeding almost all the time. It’s only been a day. But can anyone tell me if its normal to bleed ? Thanks a lot.

    • mine would bleed not a lot but it would Bleed.. Mine would also leak yellow it goes to all kinds of changes it seems like. Be sure to take warm sitz bath with Epsom salt it helps with the pain and helps it drain. I actually got my water as hot as I could stand it I felt like the heat helped It drain better.

  129. Mine is just a pin hole, very small, and doesn’t drain much, i do not have setons, is it possible that this will heal on its own? I used to abscess every three months but as the years went by it became lesser. I do not get big abscess anymore its just that the wound (external openning) doesn’t seem to heal and keeps reopenning. I do experience pain from time to time, but not as much as i used to 8 or 9 years ago, where i couldn’t even walk straight or sit straight, now i can bear the pain. My doctor refuses to operate and i too am scared to go to a different doctor because they might operate and make things worse.

  130. Hi, i had an abscess about a year ago, and it healed. Now I have some small blisters there. What does anyone think it is. Please help me, I am very frightened.

  131. My question is I have done kshar sutr treatment, last week, but I have a problem, afterinserted seton, after 2day, pus is discharged, I wanted to know, it’s harmful or it will happen? Plz help me, I m so worried

  132. I had a fistula surgery in 1993 on my right buttock..but in 2004 I have another fistula in my left..It has been for 10 years now..I used to clear the dranage everytime.I have no severe pain but having discomfort when there is a swelling..earlier it used to be once in 2/3 it’s more frequent..Should I go for surgery or any home remedies would help me on this.

  133. i have developed fistula on my sinuses after wisdom tooth extraction 10 years ago..the dentist gave me steroid for a fast healing but sad to say i have developed a fistula.i am dizzy or i developed vertigo and i am suffering dizziness for 5 yeras now! the doctor advised me to drain though suctioning but i live from the province and i need to spend alot of money for my problem is i am dizzy,i have ear ringing atleast once a month but my major problem is dizziness.pls elp me what to do.Do i need surgery?pls give me advise.Thanks ahead!

  134. hi everyone- i am so glad i found this website today. i have chrons and have been dealing with a recto vaginal fistula for 3 years this Halloween! Shortly after my diagnosis, I had a seton put in. It was in for aobut 6 months and finally had it removed. I also started remicade about the same time, and it has been helpful – so between the seton and remicade the fistula has shrunk and drainage decreased. BUT i still have it. i do have drainage, odor, pass gas through my vagina, etc. it also can feel swollen down there so sitz baths are great. i am over this to say the least. my surgeon wants to put in another seton to see if that will help the fistula heal. after reading almost everything above, i am now questioning it. my fistula does not get infected but drainage/odor/pain is constant. advice?

    • Hi Paige, Sounds like you’ve had a really tough time, sorry to hear that. My biggest advice to everyone is – get a second, and third opinion! Don’t put all your faith in one surgeon until you have double and triple checked that he/she is telling you the right thing. When you say drainage, do you mean pus? If so, perhaps it is infected?
      I would also say, look at completely changing your diet, it helps so much. Let us know how you get on 🙂

      • I have gotten 2 opinions. The first one wanted to give me a temporary bag – seemed to aggressive. The drainage is not pus….just clear with fecal at times…..esp after i have a bowel movement. can’t decide what to do!

      • Hi Paige, it’s horrible when you can’t decide what to do 😦 Maybe just give yourself a bit more time to think about it, rather than stressing yourself to decide. You could go and see a third surgeon? Sounds like the two that you’ve been to see have very very different methods! I have heard that having a temporary bag can work really well for some people, because it allows your fistula to be completely free of any waste passing by, which means more chance of healing. But I’ve heard it’s mainly used if you’ve had an advancement flap or such… which ups the chance of success. I think with you, maybe it’s just a matter of doing a little more research until things become clearer for you.

  135. I’m so tired of dealing with this! I am a 25 year old female. I shouldn’t have to deal with this! I have been dealing with this since February of this year. I have had 3 surgeries since then. This first was a seton placement and then my second one was a LIFT procedure and that failed within 6 weeks. I went back in for my third surgery and had another seton put in. My surgeon was hopeful that I wouldn’t need a 4th surgery and she would just take the seton out and let it heal because the location of the internal opening was right on edge of not being internal anymore. At my appointment on Friday she did an exam and found that that internal opening is larger that she would like and there is a lot of scar tissue so she now doesn’t think it will close up on its own….she isn’t comfortable with doing a cutting seton because the tract goes through a lot of muscle…so now I am scheduled for my 4th surgery and I know that is nothing compared to some people but still its not the most convenient thing in the world. My 4th surgery is going to be the advancement flap. Surgery is not until December 12th. November 4th I am going in for a second opinion with the Chief of Colorectal surgery at a teaching hospital in Wisconsin. So maybe he will have some more information or another option.

    But my question for everyone is what are the things I need to do to increase my chances of the advancement flap being successful? My procedure is same day surgery but have read that some people stay a few nights in the hospital, how long should I be on bed rest do I need to be on full bed rest? I really need this to be my last surgery….any advice would be appreciated!

  136. I suffered years with fistualizing crohn’s disease and now have been diagnosed with peri-anal crohn’s disease…re: open draining puss vulva, labia, peri-anal – re: crohn’s disease has spread from internal to external…..waiting on surgery now (vulvectomy) to remove the disease.

  137. I have a anal fistula…i had a anal abcess last October and I got it removed. I have had a anal fistula for about 6 months now…it hurts so so bad I have to leave work early and I wake up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I am so ready for this to go away. What should I do?

  138. Hi Paige, i would just like to tell you that my husband and I have been thru a huge ordeal, dealing with his fistulas. He had a terrible attack with his while he was overseas, then had an emergency surgery there, where they had inserted cutting setons. Definitely an extremely painful procedure! I finally was able to convince him to come home where he could be seen by an excellent surgeon by the name of Dr. David Deitz at the Cleveland Clinic. He immediately removed the setons and my husband felt instant relief. He just had surgery last week to lay the fistulas open, and so far so good. Although, he is experiencing pain, but its manageable, and seems to be getting a little easier, the most pain is when he has a bowel movement. I would like to suggest getting a hose that can hook up to your sink or bathtub, which ever is closest to your toilet, and use warm water to wash yourself after every visit to the restroom. It really does help! Its like a substitute for a bidet to keep you clean without having to use toilet paper or wipes. Just a suggestion. I really hope that everyone who is suffering with this problem finds a cure to their pain, and for relief from these god awful things!! I hope this post might help someone out there, because this forum has really helped me and my husband alot!! If you are able to visit the Cleveland Clinic, I highly, highly recommend them and Dr. Deitz!! Good luck, Jamie

  139. Our 14 years research has simplified complex modern surgery of fistula to non surgical procedure. In our clinic we treat fistula only by KSHARSUTRA ( medicated herbal seton ). We have developed different probing techniques for each type of fistula. Using appropriate technique kshar- sutra is inserted correctly in the fistula track. The success of the treatment depend on two things – quality of ksharsutra & its correct insertion in the fistula track. We take care of both. This herbal thread is changed after every 7 days. Duration of treatment is 4 to 8 weeks. The duration & cost of the treatment depend on the length & stage of fistula.
    Ksharsutra treatment is now replacing fistulectomy & other complex surgeries in India. This treatment is curing patients of anorectal fistula & pilonidal cyst permanently. We also takes pride in treating complex / recurrent, complete or partial / horseshoe shape fistula successfully without any incontinence .We have maintained the data of each patient to prove this fact. Ksharsutra treatment don’t require hospitalization, daily dressing, antibiotics & bed rest. It is purely herbal treatment without side effects. World Health Organisation ( W.H.O. ) has accepted the kshar sutra treatment for anal fistula.
    Mode of action of Kshara sutra:
    Ksharsutra has both cutting & healing action. Kshara sutra works by 4 ways :
    – pressure necrosis,
    – chemical cauterization by kshar (alkali) ,
    – sloughing of the tissue of the walls of the fistulous track
    – cutting provides adequate drainage.
    It leads to an easy debridement of unhealthy tissue and pus etc. and thus providing a cleaner base for the wound healing of the fistulous track. The Kshara-sutra is changed weekly so that an average pace of cutting of about 0.5-0.8 cm/week is maintained along with healing from behind. Finally the whole track is cut through and the fistula gets healed up with minimal scarring and without any other major complication. Infection is not the only cause in fistula. The structure itself is a big cause of recurrence. As kshar-sutra totally distroys the unhealthy tissue & structure, there is no recurrence .

    • You seem to be the only one on this site who experienced some sort of a cure. I am on surgery #4 and almost on my second year with the same problem.
      This is a life changing disorder. Hope your progress continues.

  140. There is hope. I had a complicated fislula and thought there was no hope. I had an excellent doctor, Dr. LISA PERRYMA who i highly recommend. I had my surgery in August and feel normal again. I highly recommend seeking a specialist. Thanks, for all the information, which gave me valuable information.

  141. Hi yes I will let you know how I make out and I will pray for you and your recovery is this not the most awful thing you can get ? I am somewhat older but still active and would never ever think about something like this. I never ever heard the name before I got this!!! Keep your chin up!!!!!!!

  142. Hey, I am a 35 year old and quite overweight. Been dealing with fistula in ano since last 2 years. Finally had a ksharsutra (cutting setone- Ayurvedic) surgery a year back. The setone is in the last stage now and almost about to fall out. But I still keep getting some drain everyday from the track that’s supposed to be closing. Some times it’s colorless sometime yellow or brown. Doc says its body fluids and is not concerned. I am… Would anyone know anything about this? Sad to see so many people going through the pain but glad to have found a bunch who understand. Please help.

  143. Hi everyone 😃. I have had 7 surgeries this past year alone on my never ending fistula. My last procedure was the removal of a draining seton and the LIFT procedure (6/27/13). I am now having a tremendous amount of itching and drainage (pus) coming from my anus. I was wondering if anyone has had that? I am hoping that this isnt the beginning of the fistula opening up again. Any advice or comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello All,

      i am suffering from a “supralevator abscess” which means high fistula for 8 years now. i have been to the OT for 5 times and it has not cured. i have heard that LIFT technique works on high fistulas. i had a fistulotomy 3 weeks ago without any success the doctor has now suggested that i should go for LIFT. anyone have idea where should i go ? Please suggest

      • Please let everyone know what country you are in so that others in your area may be able to help you with some information. This website is used by people all over the world and is hosted from New Zealand 🙂

      • Hi, I don’t know where in the world you are? I’m in the east of England. I replied to someone else today 26 Dec about my experience of LIFT for similar fistula which may be of interest to you.

  144. Guys, Have you tried Ghee and mlk. It drains the abscess or lump quickly to the level of almost healing. I will recollect my experience. I had a huge lump on my left leg. Doctors diagnosed as haemorrhoid. I had it for more than 3 months till it became enormous and i could not sit on my motorbike or even in my office chair. I visited one more doc who diagnosed as fistula and prescribed surgery. At the same time, I found out this new method and started taking ghee with milk. I took one spoon of pure ghee and a glass of hot milk that night. Immediately, The fistula started draining through some opening near my anus which has never happened for 3 months. To my surprise the lump started decreasing in size and i stopped feeling pain in the area. I followed this ghee and hot milk every morning and night for a week. The abscess drained a lot and the size of lump became so small as small as a marble in a fish tank and also shifted position to near my anus. I told my doctor this and he told i am ready for surgery and did a surgery through ayurvedic method. Its been two months and the wound has closed but a small line like opening still exists and i still have a minute amount of pus coming out every day which doesnt bother me much but i am still scared and want to take an MRI. My case has become better over time and i would recommend this ghee and milk treatment to anyone with a huge painful lump like the one i had. I also had a good relief from the pain with that. Hope this helps somebody..

  145. Hi all
    Am in hospital for 6th time since Sept, I have 3 fistulas which are being treated with setons, but keep getting infections due to stools passing through open fistulas, I can’t cope with much more of this, the thought of this going on for months if not years fills me dread, I have never had such dark thoughts I just don’t see any light at the end of tunnel. Need help !!!!!!!!!!!

  146. A little over a year ago I experienced the worst pain I have ever had in my life- an anal abcess. OMG! It is still clear on my mind how painful it was. I’ve posted before, and I’m going to post again what I’ve done. I do have a horseshoe fistula. I have been selling medical devices for 20+ years, so I did a lot of research as to my options. I’m not a surgeon. I’m just a patient that did their best to manage the situation. I opted to not have surgery. I was told it would not get worse (the fistula). It hasn’t. So far, I am happy with my decision. I will put off any surgery for as long as I can. But, to be honest, I don’t feel like I am putting it off because it does not bother me at all.

    Here is what I have done:

    1) Obvious: sitz baths, clean with baby wipes after every toilet trip.
    2) Probiotics- I take pearls that I get from Vitamin World, it’s a purple and white box. I take this every day now.
    3). Wild Oil of Oregano- This is a natural antibiotic. I found info about this on a website, the woman who writes about this is Jenni. This is really strong stuff. I mixed it with olive oil, and no kidding, my husband squirt it up my fistula. I was lucky to get a small syringe w/ a tube and a needle that had a hole in it. I laid in bed with my legs up, and in my mind I felt like the pacmen were chomping away at the dang infection. It was a little painful, but not more than what was already going on. I got the liquid from Vitamin Shoppe. I now take this in pill form (I like the one at Vit. World) at night when I feel a cold coming on or I am feeling a little run down. It has helped my body fight the cold. Google WOO and look for Jenni’s website.
    4). I did have a colonoscopy to rule out any Chron’s, etc. which all came back negative for me.

    Good luck to everyone with this terrible thing. Unless you go through it, you don’t know how much it changes your life. Fortunately for me, it was for only about 2 months. My heart goes out to everyone with this.

  147. Thanks, my GP suggested the same, but don’t like the sound of that, and no certainty they won’t come back. Just want my life back, the doc treating me in hospital just throws antibiotics and morphine at the problem. I have even told him I feel in a really dark place and very unhappy, not sure he understands but cheers anyway

    • Jay, please try the warm milk and ghee at night at morning. Will surely help!

    • I live in the Chicago area, and both colon-rectal surgeons I went to told me that antibiotics will not work, at least in not pill form, because it gets in your blood stream and can’t get to the infected area. That’s why I applied the Oregano Oil in the fistula and also by q-tip to the abcess I had. I hope this helps. When I first had the anal abcess, I went to my GP and he gave me a strong antibiotic. I was on it for 10 days and it had no effect. If you’re getting it thru an IV, that may be a different story.

      Hope this helps.

      • Hi I am in UK and yes on IV antibiotics, admitted on Monday, 2nd time in a month, will try your idea . Many thanks
        Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  148. Hi all…can someone explain why there would be drainage after a LIFT surgery? I had this done 2 weeks ago and I’m still experiencing quite a bit of drainage. I called the doctor’s office and they said this was “normal”. Does something internal need to heal? I don’t understand where all the drainage could be coming from based on what I understand about the LIFT procedure. Thanks for any insight!

    • Hello, I had the LIFT on my ‘high’ fistula at the end of September and continued to have stuff come out of it for a while – my Consultant also advised that this was part of the normal healing process. The LIFT sews the ends of the fistula tracts (after they have been scraped and cleaned out) in order for them to heal, sometimes a clear fluid comes as part of the healing process. If the discharge gets worse/thicker/changes in colour then contact your doctor, just keep an eye on it.

      I have had problems with the incision wound where they cut down between the muscles to tie the tract off and pestered my Consultant as I didn’t think it felt right. After an EUA a few weeks ago this was confirmed – the incision has given me another – thankfully much smaller – fistula which another seton has had to go in. Seemingly the original fistula – which was worse – they did the LIFT on has healed will so this is a small setback on the road to (hopefully) recovery. Don’t panic, just let it heal, it could take a few weeks. Best of luck x

  149. @Jay and everyone else. Hang in there. My fistula is ongoing as well. It leaks. But all I can do is hang in there. Everything happens for a reason. I’m Not giving up and neither are any of you.

  150. Ive gimone to see a syrgen and he sais I have a fistula and cut ur open to drain 3 days ago and now it started to bleed last night. Is that normal.

    • Yes, I’ve had surgery many times on mine and usually it bleeds. I find this is usually after the worst of the pus has drained and it discharges mainly blood. Keep the area clean and no straining when you go to the loo.

  151. Yes its normal @Laura. The infection itself has blood and puss in it.

  152. My husband has recurring abscesses from 2 fistula surgeries within the past 3 years. He now has an abscess which is draining inside the colon. That’s the basic definition of a fistula, isn’t it? Therefore he’ll need surgery, won’t he??

  153. I have had serval operations on my reoccurring fistula. The last op. They put a drainage in the area. It’s been fine for the past 3 years. But this past week I have had really bad discomfort and slight swalling in my anus What advice can you give me for the next step thank you

  154. I had serval ops. To drain my fistula. The last op was 4years ago. They put a drain in me. That has been very successful . The past week the symptoms have returned. Their is a sml lump on the side of my anus. It’s very painfull. Pls can you tell me why this keeps returning and always in the same place. And what will be the next steps to heal it and will they have to operate on be again

  155. Awaiting an Advancement Flap procedure in April. I have just had a strange thought about it. The way I understand it is that the advancement flap is to close off the internal opening to the fistula tract.

    I had a LIFT procedure done in September and after examination on 20th it was discovered that the internal opening was closed but the tract and external opening still there.

    Seems a bit strange having surgery to shut off the bit that’s already closed …. why oh why don’t you think of these things whilst you’re in the consultation?!

    I’m in UK and receiving treatment from St Marks Hospital in London , so I’m not doubting their diagnosis but I was wondering if anyone else had suffered the same problem and could answer my question or am I being really thick?

    Thanks in advance
    S x

  156. I had surgery 5 weeks ago, surgen said it is bit complex surgery. I still have wound, it healing but slowly. I have yellow discharge in the area, is it ok if I have yellow discharge after 5 weeks.

    • Most of the discharge is healing discharge from the wound. So try not to worry about it. My nurse always tells me some gunk is good gunk!.

      If yu notice a change in the colour or smell of the discharge , then I would get it checked by your GP in case you have developed and infection.

      I tend to know if I’ve got an infection down there as the area hurts more and I start to feel really lousy.

      Try not to worry , I was having quite a lot of discharge up to 8 weeks after all my surgeries

      Good luck
      S x

  157. Hi my name is jessica im 27 yrs old and have had corhns for 7 years last year I had half of my colon removed and then got a coloscopy bag wich I had for 7 months and had it reversed (take down) may 2013 my corhns has been some what under control but now im battling fistulas I have a fistula near my anus which has been cut open 4 times through out 3 years but now for the past almost year I have been dealing with oma fistula that runs up my whole right labia and it swells up so bad to the poin I cant walk sit or close my legs it swells and swells till I cant no more then drains a little bit but never fully drains there is not a day when its not causing excruciating pain help what do you suggest or is there any one who is going thru this as well im desperate

  158. Hi my husband has been dealing with his fistula for the past year now. He is a stage 4 colon cancer patient. His fistula was caused from the constant diarrhea from his chemo treatments. He had drainage seton put in for his fistula a little over a week ago. My question is he is still in a lot of pain, having trouble urinating and there is an odor coming from his drainage, is all this normal? Is there suppose to be an odor? Not to give to much TMI but its kinda like, when you do not clean yourself enough after a poop smell. ( if you have small children you know exactly what the smell is). The Dr. did not tell us what to expect after this surgery. He sees the dr again in a week. If anyone can tell me in details about there post surgey experience it would be helpful.

  159. Hey Jessica! So sorry to hear of the labial pain. I too have/had issues with labial fistulas as well. However, mine were/are microscopic that nothing but a little air will pass. I’ve been on Remicade since the end of Nov., and believe the left side has closed up. The right side still gets swollen (not to the point of what you’re talking about), but it can be very painful. I haven’t been able to tell what it is I do that will make it shrink to practically nothing on certain days and swell on others. I hope over time the Remicade will correct this issue. My colorectal surgeon believes that it is scar tissue that has developed from a fistula tract that healed. No one wants to cut into it because the opening is microscopic, but if get a handle on what makes the swelling tick, I’ll let you know. If anyone else has this issue or advice, please let me know. Much love.


  160. Jessica, you may benefit from the placement of a seton in your fistula. I have had a j-pouch – vaginal fistula for over 3 years now. Before the seton, I would abscess, swell – PAIN!! – then drain. With the seton, which has been in for nearly 2 years now, there is no more abscessing, only drainage, which has lightened considerably. Many CRS use setons in preparation for surgery, or for long term maintenance. Mine causes no problems except that it can interfere with sexual relations. Unfortunately, I think I have developed a 2nd fistula, so may be looking at a 2nd seton, i don’t know at this point. Anyhow – please see a colo-rectal surgeon and ask about this option. Best of luck to you!

  161. Thank you for the information I will definitely check into it I have been fighting with these vaginal fistula for now over 4 years and now 4 on my labia and one next to my rectum and its do depressing to be so young and have this 😦

  162. Hi, I got results from my MRI scan, would someone be able to simplify it.

    Standard peroneal protocol has been performed.
    There is a left transsphincteric fistula with the cutaneous opening on the left at
    approximately 5
    o’clock it extends outside the sphincter complex in the ischiorectal fat over 5.2 cm and posterior to the sphincter complex crosses posteriorly to the right forming a shallow abscess in the posterior levator where there is a further tract which crosses the external sphincter on the right at approximately 7 o’clock
    and then more caudally the internal sphincter although it is difficult to see the
    exact site of origin into the rectum . There is no extension of the fistula to make
    this a supra sphincteric fistula. There are no other secondary or complex tracts.
    There is a small abscess cavity at the site of the cutaneous exit. There is no
    evidence of supra sphincteric sepsis. Incidental reactive inguinal lymphadenopathy
    is noted.
    Left-sided transsphincteric fistula associated with abscess formation at the site
    where it crosses posteriorly in the levator to the contralateral left side before
    crossing the external sphincter

    • Well, having the operation tomorrow hopefull I shall have my questions answered (24/4) Kingston Hospital.

      Will report back!

      • Well had the Operation done, area cut out and Seton Sutre inserted into the wound and not through the Anus.

        First 7-10 Days Bowel movements were so painful I had to craw out off the toilet. Painkillers were given (Tramadol), stopped taking them as to many side effects.

        Wound packed everyday with Aquacel and top dressed with elevyn cut in triangular shape.

        All going well till the 6th Week, picked up a temperature.
        Had wound swabed 3 times, all negative and NO infection.
        Nurse noted wound became mushy and took more packing the 2 Weeks before.

        I seem to be back on track now, still being packed hoping the end next Week.

        Had a follow up with consultant, he seemed happy with progress but sadly another Operation is required to remove Seton and cut remainder out.

        This is a illness for the wealthy and not the self employed! LOL

  163. im so pleased to have found this site i thought i was the only person sufferin with this problem i have sufferd with peranla abscesses n fistula abscesses for the past 15yr had the peranl removed 2 times as it came back afer my 1st op been having spells for yrs of re occuring abscesses in my groin area next to my pubic bone .i had surgery on it and while i was under anesthetic they found a abscess in m bowel.i had trouble going to the toliet(unaware there was a stitch present) and was given laxatives to help me gp. was told i had a nylon stitch in .was in for over 3yrs was a little saw at 1st but i learnt to live with it had it removed and have been fone since then over the past 4 weeks ive had signs again of the absceses been present again and have been given pain killers .today i saw my gp as ive had a constant ache inside my rectum for the past few days and im in agony of constant pain n not been able to get comfortable. was told my the secetary from the doctors surgery if when i see my doctor and i have signs she needs to be concerned about she will admitt me straight to hospital.but when my doctor took my bp and temp i showed no signs of concern only i was cryin with the pain i was suffering and she said the hospital probably wouldnt do anything as my temprature was ok. ive been give fluxacilan/co codine/laxatives/to take to ease my pain i go back wednesday next week and go from there im so scared incase i end up with a operation to remove my bowel and advice i would greatfully appreciate i symphosize with evry1 on here i feel your pain so much x

  164. Nice to find this forum, it makes me feel less alone.

    Have anyone tried Ghee and Milk treatment? I read it on the hub written by GoodGuy from Malaysia.
    At first I thought it’s impossible but since it’s easy to follow, I gave it a try. Take a tablespoon of Ghee and drink warm milk.

    On the first day trial, i see the pus is no longer yellowish as usual and the bump is reducing. So I continue. And suprisingly on the second day, I don’t see pus coming out at all. There is a white lump underneath the closed skin. I did try to squeeze it gently but nothing coming out. So I just leave it and continue the Ghee and Milk treatment.

    Aside from that, I also apply Propolis liquid and drink Propolis Honey 3 times daily. Before applying I wipe it with Betadine first. Though I am not sure if Betadine is the right antiseptic but so far no harm. If anyone could suggest better antiseptic to wipe?

    So far I am happy with the improvement. And i will update you if any major improvement.

    Oh, I am not a surgery believer. If I can live with it, I prefer to stay like this. It doesn’t disturb my life much. Only after BM I will have to give extra effort to clean it. But that’s about it. I still can work and exercise regularly.

    I read that i shall not exercise much but I try jogging and I am ok. There’s a spot of leaking after jogging but nothing else.

    It has been occupying my mind, which can make me feeling low. So I try to keep myself busy.

  165. I just had a surgery done which I did not agree to to grow skin over the area where the drainage is coming from. I have a fistula over one year that they have been trying to they are doing experimental stuff to me. Right before surgery they informed me of a new way to try and close it. I can’t even tell you what they did. To me. I’m tired of this fistula I have no life. This was caused from abdominal surgery in 2013..Please let me knw what new stuff is out clueless I don’t want involve lawyers I just need to presented with what’s out there my surgeon is given me the run a round as to what he did to me.i just need to be informed. .thanks.

    • Sounds like you have had an advancement flap . This is where they take a healthy bit of skin and graft it over the hole to close it up. Don’t worry , you’re not being experimented on. I’m having it done this week . I have had my fistula 2 years now and this will be my 5th surgery .

      Try not to let your fistula take over your life , easier said than done I know but you need to keep doing as much as you physically can as often as you can. Or find an alternative. I am a keen gardener and love digging , but this can be quite painful with my fistula. So I get my digging done for me by a friend and I do all the less painful stuff.

      Hope your surgery works and if it doesn’t , don’t give up hope ….you’re in charge , not the fistula x

  166. Anyone have anal sex with a fistula? I know it’s probably not a great idea, but people must do it.

  167. I have found that I have fistula now. In week ahead I have marriage. Will it spread to my wife

  168. hi there, can anyone possibly tell me is it common for a fistula with a seton in it… done nearly 5 weeks ago, what I need to know as no one seems to be able to tell me, is it normal for the fistula to drain though the vagina or should I be seeing my doctor….. help please as not sure what I was to expect as surgeon didn’t tell me anything really

  169. I am a 24 year old female and I ‘ve been suffering from this condition over 6 months it started with an abscess which in itself took atleast 4 weeks of antibiotics to get it to drain. The draining of the abcess left me with this perianal fistula. I had exploratory surgery on 17th March 2014 where they told me they would act accordingly dependant on their findings. At this point there was two options – if the fistula was not very high or pertruding too much muscle they would cut it open to make it heal. The second option (which is what happened) was if the fistula was too high or pertruding too much muscle, they inserted a Seton stitch. The surgery went well, though waking after the surgery was the worst pain ever but the doctors quickly acted and got it under control for me. I was out of hospital the same day and although feeling uncomfortable I felt positive. The first time having a bowel movement after the surgery was 3 days later and interesting as I think the fear of doing any damage to what had been done didn’t seem appealing. But after a while I learnt to cope and manage it. I was out of work (office job, sitting) for only 1 week and although still painful I managed to go back thankfully work was very supportive and helped me where they could. The pain subsided after about two and a half weeks, during this time the fistula was draining quite a lot and I went through all sorts of types of gauze to find the best one. In the end I found the best (and cheapest) option was toilet paper, it absorbed the discharge and kept my other bottom cheek dry so avoided a rash. It is now the 28th May I’ve had one checkup to say that everything looks as it should. They offered me another surgery which meant they inject collagen into the track to make it heal by itself. I’m currently awaiting the appointment for this. For now the pain is only once in a while but cope-able and the amount of discharge varies daily. So no real problems up till now… I woke this morning and went to the loo (number 1) and when I wiped there was bright red. blood (no yellowish discharge), only a small amount, but confused as to where it came from, I wiped again this time there was a lot more and then realising it was from the opening, I grabbed a mirror to have a look. It was the fistula and it was bleeding heavily, so much the blood was running down my cheek. I was very frightened, I called my husband to have a look and eventually the bleeding subsided. I have an emergency appointment booked in an hours time with my GP so will hopefully find out what’s going on. Sorry this was long but I wanted to share my experience and ask if anyone else has experienced the ‘blood issue’? I will post when I’ve been to the doctors and I know what’s going on. Thanks for your time in reading my post.

  170. Follow-up post from 28th May… Turns out the bleeding is common ads the thread may have cut through a blood vessel causing the amount of fresh blood I saw. They just told me to keep an eye on it as if you lose too much blood that’s when it becomes an issue. But the bleeding stopped and there’s nothing apart from the usual discharge since.

  171. hey docs i am diagnosed with a fistula the sinogram test report is-
    there is a long approx 7cm long tracr seen extending from the skin surface directed anteriorly and cranially. At the level of the pubic ramii a communication with the rectum is demonstrated.
    But since the last 7 days the abscesses/pus is only about a drop per day coming out. Should i go for surgery or wait it to heal itself please reply me asap.

  172. Well had the Operation done, area cut out and Seton Sutre inserted into the wound and not through the Anus.

    First 7-10 Days Bowel movements were so painful I had to craw out off the toilet. Painkillers were given (Tramadol), stopped taking them as to many side effects.

    Wound packed everyday with Aquacel and top dressed with elevyn cut in triangular shape.

    All going well till the 6th Week, picked up a temperature.
    Had wound swabed 3 times, all negative and NO infection.
    Nurse noted wound became mushy and took more packing the 2 Weeks before.

    I seem to be back on track now, still being packed hoping the end next Week.

    Had a follow up with consultant, he seemed happy with progress but sadly another Operation is required to remove Seton and cut remainder out.

    This is a illness for the wealthy and not the self employed! LOL

    • Well finally got back to work after 9 Week lay off, (self employed, not good)

      I’m still draining, I dont understand where it is coming from?

      Anyone able to enlighten me?

      Not looking dorward to the next op!

  173. hi!…..I could definitely feel my fistula and of course the pain of abcess. I would get into doctor as soon as possible for antibiotic treatment, when abcess was so huge….I was always treated the same re: ER, have abcess drained & packed. Have packing changed daily by health nurse. I understand this was to prevent the fistula from healing together too fast, and stop the fistula from abcessing again. Took wks. before packing was not necessary. It took years with stoma before my diseased colon, rectum, anus was removed. During this period I suffered with fistualizing crohn’s. Unfortunately even with the removal of disease bowel I still suffered with fistualizing crohn’s—-then recently had more surgery due to crohn’s on the skin re: surface of vulva, labia, tailbone area…skin grafting, plastic surgery. was in hospital for 8 wks. and with 3 months recovery it is so amazing I can walk! My disease finally be gone! yaya!

  174. Well finally got back to work after 9 Week lay off, (self employed, not good)

    I’m still draining, I dont understand where it is coming from?

    Anyone able to enlighten me?

    Not looking forward to the next op!

    • Well, my good luck continues.

      Was riding my Motorcycle, pulled up at red lights and some dufus failed to spot the red light and more importantly me.

      Resulting in sending me up in the air and straight on my backside. Lot off soft tissue damage to neck and back.

      Since accident a lot more blood after BM and more discharge.

      Seeing the surgeon on the 7th Aug.

  175. I have a 26 year old j pouch and I developed a fistula 18 months ago
    Seven docs and one test after another the fistula was not detected but it is draining feces through my vagina so it is there. I finally went to my former surgeon and without my knowledge he placed a seton drain. Pain is horrible. It has been 3 weeks and in 9 days I go to another surgeon for a martius flap repair. I hope it works and I will never agree to another seton an ostomy would be better than this. I feel for everyone. This is the worst pain ever and I had colitis for 15 years

  176. Well, my good luck continues.

    Was riding my Motorcycle, pulled up at red lights and some dufus failed to spot the red light and more importantly me.

    Resulting in sending me up in the air and straight on my backside. Lot off soft tissue damage to neck and back.

    Since accident a lot more blood after BM and more discharge.

    Seeing the surgeon on the 7th Aug.

  177. I had an abscess near my anus years ago that was lanced and drained but never really closed. I would get some itching and bleeding but it never really bothered me until a month ago. I noticed that it was bleeding a lot more and there was a little pain so i started using Hydrogen Peroxide….very bad idea…Within three days I had a full blown infection that was leaking very foul smelling pus….Went to a doctor at an urgent care center…He pricked it with a scapel, gave me some percocets and antibiotics then informed me that I needed to see a colorectal surgeon immediately. Went to see the surgeon three days later. During that time the drainage slows down and the pain goes away….I think I am free and clear… Not so fast…See the surgeon he puts a pin through the hole (abscess) to see where the other opening is and tells me “You have a fistula my dear”. He then proceeds to tell me that if I don’t have surgery the abscess will more than likely come back. Well since I did not want that to happen I opted to have the surgery. I had the first of two operations last Friday (8/8)…He explained to me what the surgery entailed and he was very forthcoming in telling me that he would not know which method would be applied until he got into the fistula. Apparently I have a more complex fistula and it required a seton to be inserted. Friday evening I was fine…A little pain but I had my percocets and I was still feeling the affects of the anesthesia. I had zero appetite. So I slept off and on the remainder of the day Friday. Saturday I got up, very sore, could hardly walk no real pain the anal area until I tried to sit down. Took a sitz bath, popped two percocets with my coffee and continued to just rest. I ate a small container of yogurt the whole day Saturday, still no appetite. Started taking stool softners after reading the discharge instructions. The one thing I am starting to notice is that the pain is steadily getting worse. I am taking 3-4 percocets every 4 hours instead of the prescribed 1-2. I thought it was because I went outside to go to the supermarket because I needed some stool softner and other things. Sunday had my first bowel movement, very soft, no pain. Took a sitz bath right after but the pain is still getting worse, it’s too the point where I am not comfortable unless I lay down flat on my stomach. I have to go to work as I just started this job 6 months ago and have very limited sick//vacation time. Monday, went to work. Alot of pain but it is manageable or so I thought. Legs are really stiff. Start noticing a pinkish discharge coming from the incision, since it was expected I did not panic. Called the nurse…Percocets are not working at all. She said it has been only a few days since my surgery and I should wait a few more days…I am taking 4 percocets every 4 hours and barely eating. Couldn’t make it through the day so I left at 1:30 pm. I have to drive nearly an hour to and from work. By the time I got home I was in so much pain all I could do was take a bath with epsom salts and go to bed. The pain for some reason is getting worse, not better. Yesterday, had second bowel movement. Bowels are a little firmer and this time there was bright red blood coming from my anus. The septon and subsequent drainage wound is on the lower left side of my left cheek so it did not come from there. Not worrying, was also told that would happen. Coudn’t take a sitz bath as I am at work so all I could do i wipe the area clean with baby wipes and apply some more bacitrain ointment. when I get home the pain is unbearable…Constant throbbing…So I try to take another bath…Ran out of epsom salt so it’s just plain old bath water. when I got into the bath it stung like hell. I stayed in the tub for 20 minutes to let the pus/blood drain out (there were pink flecks in the bath when I was done). Got out had a light dinner and went to bed. This morning I woke up to intense pain. The first thing I did was take a bath. I find that it loosens the rectal muscles…Now there is a sharp throbbing pain. Took a percocet and 2 aleve before leaving the house….Had to take another percocet about an hour ago because it just hurts to stand up….I just want to know how much longer will this go on….I am having the second operation in 6-8 weeks (that is not a maybe, that is a definite and it’s not to remove the septon) and I hope that between now and then I get a little reprieve because this is just madness….


  178. oh dear. what did surgeon say?

  179. Going to see the surgeon this afternoon…The pain is too much to wait until my followup in 2 more weeks.

  180. I have been dealing with corhns for 8 years n fistulas for 5 yrs but now my fistulas are poping up like crazy I now have a fistula near my anus which has been cut open 3 times it drains constantly & I have 4 on my left labia these as we have been cut open and from time to time drain and they constantly cause me pain my newest fistula is on my inner thigh going into my bikini line I cant wear underwear no more and sometimes can barley walk the doctors have been wanting to put a seton in but I refuse so im asking for advice should I agree to getting the seton put in even though you still have pain with it

    • hello from a lady with 36 yrs. Crohn’s and suffered with fistualizing Crohn’s for many of those years. My understanding of fistula: a joining of organs re: diseased bowel-bladder…diseased bowel- vagina. Then their are the fistuals that make their way from diseased bowel to peri anal and abcess. I’ve had surgery for bowel-bladder fistula and my treatment for peri-anal or moreso in my case labia abcess is to have the abcess drained in surgery and packed to keep fistula open and draining…packing is removed and packed again for weeks after. My specialist decided I should have remicade infusions after 2 yrs. with no improvement to fistula a colostomy was recommended re: colon, rectum & anus diseased. I was told if the diseased gut was put to rest for 2 yrs. this surgery could be resected. My diseased gut did not heal & fitulas became worse. So, then surgery to remove colon, rectum & anus . Recovered from this surgery to find I still had fistulas. Could not understand….all disease in gut is gone but still have fistulas……where are they coming from?? Suffered forever until I finally was referred to cancer ward for women where a team of surgeons who treat cancer of the vulva with vulvectomy, ===== remove cancer tumor. Surgeon, plastic surgeon and skin grafting. 2 months in hospital in OR 5 x and 4 months recovery. My labia was removed and through skin grafting & plastic surgery to replace it cut from inseam of both my legs. Wound healed from area around my tailbone . My diseased bowel was removed but I still had Crohn’s on the surface (labia and area around my tailbone} My whole point is do not continue to live with diseased gut, …..fistulas get worse- and Crohn’s can spread from the gut to your skin.

  181. Paige, I saw the surgeon this afternoon…He looked at the incision (wound) and he said it looks fine. He told me the pain is to be expected..He gave me more pain medication (Percocets)…Little did I know if I just took Aleve or Tylenol I would not have been in this pain for so long…Before I went to see the surgeon I asked the receptionist at work for some Aleve…She gave me two and I took them…guess what???? Since I took them no pain whatsoever….I called my sister who took me for the surgery and she told me that Yep….they told her I should take Aleve to reduce the swelling because Percocet is not an anti-inflamatory…I wish I had asked her sooner…I have been through hell this week..I am going to see if the Aleve stops my pain over this weekend and if so..I will be a very happy person….

  182. On 22nd i had a anal fistulatomy . Now am discharged. How long it wil take to heal the wound. (The primary closure done under sab. ) what precuations i should take ?

  183. Hi Sreeram, You had it on the 22nd? I had mines on the 8th and it took a little over 2 weeks for the initial pain to stop. I am not sure about your fistulotomy but it was determined after the initial exam while I was under sedation that this would be a two-step process. The first part for me was to open up the fistula and place a drainage seton, the initial surgery also included the cutting and a piece of my sphincter muscle. Mines was same day so I went home a few hours after surgery. This Friday I go back to the surgeon to check the wound/seton and then discuss the time frame for the second procedure. I have no idea what it entails. I am not sure if you are having any discharge. I am still having a slight discharge after nearly three weeks but it does not smell at all.

    The one thing I have learned from the people here that have had this procedure that it is different for everybody. Everyone has a different story. It’s not as cut and dry as most procedures.

    The best precaution you should take is to keep it clean. The baths are the most important part of the healing process. Watchyour diet if your doctor has told you to do so and do not force a bowel movement. No physical activity until the doctor says you can. I am really hoping my doctor tells me I can go back to the gym soon. I miss working out.

    The best advice anyone can give you is have patience. This is a long road to recovery.

    Welcome aboard


  184. So I went to see the surgeon on Friday and he said it was healing nicely. He took the time to explain to me what was done which was greatly appreciated. I was fortunate they did not cut the spinchter muscle the drainage seton was wrapped around it to keep it whole. The drainage itself has slowed significantly and the wound is closing nicely. I can wear a panty liner instead of a sanitary napkin and there is no smell. Thank God for that. I go back in three weeks to see if the seton is ready to be removed. He said 50% of them can be done in his office under local anesthesia….Since I have a problem with local anesthesia in general I am going to opt to go back to the surgical suite and have it removed under general anesthesia. I hope that this is the end of my troubles…

  185. Hey Cagebird and Daphine – What exact type fistula is yours? sorry if that is a dumb question. I have 3, and the are recto-vaginal fistulas. I had 3 setons put in early July….a month of hell but am feeling better now. Surgeon says healing well…..but he could not remove setons yet. I go back in 3 months. Hopefully, he can remove them then. One of the fistulas i have had for 3 years. The other 2 are new. Do your surgeons think yours will close on their own? I really don’t want to deal with these the rest of my life. My crohns is primary in my rectum so makes things hard to heal overall. Very happy feeling better, but I am worried long term plan. appreciate your point of view! Also, my last one, my surgeon removed in his office, no pain killer, no anesthesia – did not hurt. So hope you don’t have to be put to sleep to your remove yours, cagebird. My surgeon also changed my seton from plastic to silk in his office. I think it’s the initial inser that requires being put to sleep. Anyway, hope you both are doing well. Look forward to your thoughts.

  186. Hi Paige – I am both Cagedbird and Daphine. I only had a perianal fistula. It started at the inside of my left buttock in the 9 o’clock region and it extended through the muscle into the rectum. I don’t have Chron’s which makes it all the more confusing as to how I got a fistula in the first place. I know I had an abscess that had to be drained years ago but it never fully closed. They just lanced it put in a shunt for it to drain and took it out two weeks later. No follow up. I had that done about 7 years ago and like I said it never closed fully. Well if you read above you know what happened.

    I was in terrible pain for about three weeks today marks 1 month since I had the surgeon and the drainage seton put in place. Mines is definitely plastic. I saw the doctor last Friday and am due to go back on the 19th. It’s still slightly draining and I wear panty liners. This past week it got a little heavier than what I had been seeing for the past week but I think that was due to my period and the fact that I use tampons which might have put some undue pressure on that area.

    I am hoping it closes on it own it seems to be doing so already. I check it almost everyday now and the hole is definitely a lot smaller and I do feel the development of some scar tissue near the incision.

    My surgeon told me that he removes 50% of the setons in his office under local anesthesia and 50% in the hospital because sometimes the tissue has grown over the seton and it would require him to cut into the incision again. If that is my option I am going under….LOL.

    I am feeling a lot better these days but I still worrying about if this is the end. I was so active before this all started and I haven’t been to the gym in the month since the surgery. I am afraid of pulling on it accidentally or getting into the whirlpool/pool after working out.

    If you are in for the long term listen to the wisdom of the others (not me I am a newbie) here who have been dealing with this a lot longer than I have. The sitz baths are definitely important especially after a bowl movement, carry baby wipes when you are out and might have a bowl movement, if you are in pain take your meds don’t let the pain become unbearable, most importantly keep that seton lubricated with Bacitracin or whatever your doctor recommended. I had mines go dry on me during the second week at work and forgot to bring it and was in pain all day. Be careful of you diet. If your doctor restricted you from eating certain things do not eat them. I was restricted from eating nuts, seeds, popcorn, greasy and spicy foods as those irritate your digestive tract and can cause painful bowel movements. DRINK PLENTY of WATER.

    I am hoping next week this thing comes out so it can close up. I sure as heck don’t want to have another one or cause this one to get reinfected.

    Paige, welcome!!!

  187. Can a 1 ended Fistula heal on its own? I don’t have chrons but I had an anal abscess. It poped from the inside of my anus it didn’t have any external connections so i think the fistula have only 1 end connected to the inside. im wondering if these types of fistulas heal on their own under antibiotics cause I don’t know how they would put a seton on fistula with only one opening

  188. Hello All,
    I would like to make a suggestion. My husband has been dealing with fistulas for the last year, and we have been going thru alot. I wont get into specifics, since I have already shared our experience. However, he has found that using the bidet helps tremenously. Now I realize not many people have bidets in their homes, but we have found a comperable solution to the bidet. When we travel we take a hose with an adapter that screws onto most faucets. I purchased this hose at Target and it is used to wash your dog. Basically it is a 4′ hose with a plastic head that snaps onto a metal adapter that screws into the faucet. This allows my husband run the hose from the sink to the toilet in order to wash himself with water after every use of the restroom. He has found much relief by using water rather than toilet paper or baby wipes. It also allows him to adjust to a comfortable water temp. He has found by using this method, he has not needed to use sitz baths. I’m not sure if anyone will find this suggestion helpful, but I just thought I’d put it out there in case. I truly hope that everyone who is reading this finds relief and a cure to this horrible condition! My best wishes and prayers go out to you all! Get Well Soon!

  189. This Friday will make 7 weeks since I had my fistulotomy. I am supposed to see the surgeon on Friday the funny thing is the seton fell out this morning when I was taking my shower. I was not pulling it or rubbing it hard I was just washing up and next thing I know it was there in the washcloth. Today is the first day that I had zero drainage and I am wondering if that was because of the seton. I hope that when I see the surgeon on Friday he tells me that it was okay for it to come out on its own and that he does not have to do a second procedure.

  190. SO I saw the surgeon again today. Not a happy day…I mentioned that the seton came out on its own on Tuesday. That was not supposed to happen. The surgeon said that he will monitor it because the seton was a place marker for wear the final part of the fistula tract was located. He said it was healing and it looked okay and for me to come back in a month’s time. I am just afraid that if this thing acts up again I am going to have to start at square one again. Now it’s not a matter of if I need a second procedure, I think it is a painful reality that eventually I will; its how long before I have to and where will they start.

    I was elated today…I haven’t had any bleeding/discharge since the Seton came out on its on but now my happy thoughts have deflated because I might have to start all over again…Super Bummed right now.

  191. I first had an abscess in 2010 which eventually (about 5 months) healed after packing etc. In May, it re-occurred, and to cut a long story short, I had a fistula / seton operation 6 weeks ago. For a few weeks, it hurt like mad, whatever we are told. I thought it was getting better, but then, as far as I can tell, the original abscess healed over at the top rather than from the inside, leaving a mess of puss and gas, and a swelling, which the consultant had to punch through, leaving me in even more pain – I hope in the short term.

    Anyway, I have been given some comfort from all of your comments –
    [a] that I am not alone and [b] it’s really a question of just being patient

  192. Hi
    I have had seton stitches in place for over a year, the pain is something I have never felt before in my life, , docs starting to think its all in my head,doctor keeps telling me I should not be in such pain, the discharge of blood and pus forces me to change dressing hourly, has anyone out there feeling the same level of pain as me

    • Hi Jay , I had a lot of pain from my seton along with lots of discharge and really annoying bleeding , so its not in your head.

      I do think changing the dressing every hour may not assist much , as cleaning involves poking about in the area which can cause more pain.

      I left mine alone and just wore a sanitary towel in my undies which did the job. I also found salt baths…and yes , good old table salt does the job , helpful. OK it was a bit sore when you first sit in it but the end result was quite soothing.

      I still don’t think that the professionals fully appreciate how painful and debilitating a fistula is , but it is . I’m pleased to say I’m all mended now . I have been left with a bottom hole that doesn’t shut properly but whilst its annoying its far better than feeling permanently ill , monthly infections and that shooting pain that somehow shoots up both bum cheeks!

      So , in a nutshell. Less poking and more soaking.
      Good luck , and I hope that helps

      Sarah x

  193. It has been 96 days since I had my Fistulotomy. I went to the doctor 2 weeks ago and he said it is healing as it should. I asked him about the seton falling out prematurely and he told me it probably had cut through the muscle and that is what caused it fall out and he said that I should not worry, it all looks fine. I still take sitz baths and I have no discharge whatsoever, the only thing I am experiencing now is itching near the incision but the surgeon and the nurse said that is normal. the doctor said there is about 2cm that needs to close so he gave me some cortisone cream to put on the incision and told me if all goes well the 20th will be my last monthly appointment.

    I asked him about the chances of it coming back and he told me slim to none. I am not sure if I should believe that because he told me that the surgery wouldn’t hurt and everyone knows the immense pain I was in and after reading all the stores here I am very reluctant to declare myself fistula-free after one operation..

    Well only time will tell.


  194. Tomorrow is my 43rd birthday and my first anal surgery. Cant wait 😦

  195. I had fistula plug insertion operation around two weeks and now feeling plug one side and minor bleeding please advice

  196. Good info…I’m still terrified of having it done…I have 2 large dogs so no exercise is not a option regards philip

  197. So my last appointment with the surgeon was December 8th and he gave me a clean bill. Although the seton came out prematurely it had no impact. Apparently it cut through the muscle. He checked to see if there was anymore fistula present and there wasn’t any. The first month I was a little worried because every now and again I would have pain when I walked too much and there was some itching near the incision site. 2 months after surgery I was experiencing some pain when I was driving. I drive nearly 40 miles to and from work each day and some days I get caught in heavy traffic and have to sit in my cars for upwards of two hours for a normally 45 minute commute. It was during those times that I experienced pain and discomfort. 4 months post surgery and I have had no pain, no itching and I can work out (run, jog, walk) with no issues. I am just hoping that this was a one time thing and it does not recur.

  198. Hi my name is amanda so i was told that it started out at stage 2b cancer went through radation and chemo it shrunk it but now it’s sitting on my bladder so now it’s turned into stage 4 cancer and there is nothing left to do i have 4 kids and alot of family that i want to be around for is there anything i can do that is natural.

    • Hi Amanda!! Of course there is something you can do!! Go vegan and try and eat as much fruits, berries and veggies raw as you can. Get a blender/vita-mix and make fruit smoothies. Google vegan, raw and cancer! Much love, and you can successfully beat cancer, I know others that did!! All the best!

  199. hi I recently had a setone stitch put in 5weeks a go after having a perianal abscess drained. I have recently descovered that there feels as though there is another abscess forming under my old one!!:( I have called my hospital and the consultant said that unless it is infected that they will look at it on the 17th June when my next operation is! But going by the last one how quickly that grew I have concerns that they are just fobbing me off! They won’t even tell me what type of fistula I have(high or low risk) also if it’s not fully drained by my next op am I right in saying that I would like the setone left in till it’s completely drained to avoid further complications! I am trying so hard to do every thing right.. 2showers a day high fibre diet to keep my bowels regular. I’ve even given up horse ridding and any form of strenuous excersise! I’m a smoker(5-10 a day) and also proberly don’t drink enough water.. Could these be contributing factors to why I may have got it in the first place? Or why there maybe another one forming underneath? Also I’ve been back work the last 2weeks and running around a little and lifting heavy things which prob hasn’t helped!! Just need some good advise as I don’t want this to affect the rest of my life as I have plans to go traveling at the end of the year with my partner. Please help!:)

  200. i have a hole above my anus it feels like it goes deep into something its brutal pain every step I take I also got a yeast infectiOn cause of the hole iam on antibiotics and a cream not working what do I do

  201. Just had surgery in the ER less than a week ago for this hellish thing. i thought it was hemorhoids! PLEASE, everyone! Do not presume you have hemorhoids, even when all the symptoms point to hemorrhoids. That was my mistake! I also have had IBS since the age of 9 (decades) and am, ‘used to’ stomach pain that feels like you are being cut from within, and cramping, so I had no idea what the hell this was. In the ER, I felt sure they would say ‘hemorrhoid’. Instead, I got that terrible, dramatic pause and serious voice as the PA said ‘yeah, that’s an abscess, about 1 inch long, pretty close to the anus, in a bad spot.. may have to operate.. admit you within 24 hours” is there anyone you can call..” blah blah blah. You are freakin’ out. I pray no one experiences this ever. You go to ER, fully expecting a nice pinprick or maybe a ‘oh, it’s a pimple’ and you get told this. NIGHTMARE. I was laying on my back into the white sheeted bed, scared as #$$^.

    THE PAIN with the abscess draining that he did was so tremendously painful, it was like he was digging and drilling that anasthetic shot into the tissue of my as,s and the pain was so bad, I gripped the nurse’s hand tighter than I ever gripped anyone’s, even after the shot was done. I said out loud ‘god this hurts so bad.. aaaah! shit’, and my body tried to wriggle away from him with the terrible pain he was inflicting with this shot. (it was inside one of the cheeks, not on the outside).

    For those that say you can tell the doctor to stop when there’s pain, really? They didn’t listen to me! The first to look at it stuck something right near or into the opening of the rectum that was painful pressure, and he merely said ‘sorry for the pressure’. Remember, you are already in days of pain and can’t sit and can’t sleep by the time you get to the doctor! I looked on the floor after the operation, and two pieces of gauze were covered with my blood. god Almighty.

    The dramatic voice that doctors and staff give you cause you even more stress! They really need to stop with that drama, even when giving serious news.

    Also, I am a med student in nursing courses, going on to become a physician assistant, and I asked the doctor , upon being asked ‘do you want this done in the office, or under anasthetic which is where we admit you overnight into the hospital, and I said ‘in the office’. BUT, I asked first, as far as deciding do I want local or general anasthetic, it depends how painful it is going to be! He refused to tell me, probably to protect his own ass (pun not intended).

  202. Surgery and drainage one perianal absesses and one ischiorectal absesses since one month before. But till i found type of white coloured PUS coming from the place of surgery with a very little quantity each day.

    please let me known this is the symptoms of fistula or not.

  203. I just got home from 5 days in hospital. I was admitted through ER with diverticulitis and an abscess. The abscess “self” drained. Mine sat just above my bladder. I had to have a Foley inserted about 12 hours after admission due to lack of voiding. About an hour after the foley was inserted I started leaking blood, pus… Vaginally. I was told I was very lucky I “leaked” outwardly instead of internal. Anyway, I have a fistula between my vagina & colon. Very nervous about what’s next. See surgeon in two weeks. He said, “we’ll discuss options”. The surgery does not sound fun.

  204. hi, sorry, but, i just wanna ask if the person has anal abscess and fistula for a year is it okay to have sex? thank you

  205. I had a surgery to drain an abscess and remove a fistula a few months ago. After about a month I was basically out of pain. After a month and a half I had very little drainage and figured I was coming out of the woods and would get my seton removed within the 4 months the doc told me I would,but the last 2 weeks I have had pain in the fistula area and clearish bloody draining that really doesn’t smell pleasant. I went to my general practitioner and they told me it did not look infected. They gave me more pain pills and I have an appointment with my surgeon in a little less than a month. So I guess my question is whether this is normal or not. It really hurts like a sharp pain. I really want this nightmare to end someday. The depression gets worse by the day and now I really feel something is going wrong. I was pain free and had very little draining just 2 weeks ago.

  206. Hi. Thank you for all the helpful information.
    Can a chronic fistula close off and heal on its own? (Background: About 15 years ago I fell down the stairs smack on my butt, and as a result acquired an abscess that over the years has caused great pain and discharge intermittently; eventually I developed a fistula.) It seems like the area has closed off on its own the past year or so, although still a painful bump. My WBC has been slightly elevated the past few years, so I’m not sure if there is still an active infection within the fistula. Again, can a fistula close off on its own and still harbor a chronic infection that could be related to a rise in WBC (14000).

    • My fistula though still there but gradually gotten better over the course of past 2 years after my 3 surgeries 1 year before that (2 of them mis-diagnosis/prognosis, 3rd surgery was admitted into the hospital because the 2nd mis-surgery led me to a systematic infection) … after MRI (which the first 2 docs should’ve done) they found out my fistula was crooked, I kept draining and opening never closed and at one point I had another abscess in the middle of long crooked track and another opening bursted out in result. But that totally made things much better. I believe the 2nd hole allowed the long-stayed infection to drain more efficiently and the infection subsidized and because the infection subsidized, the pain went away and the 2nd hole became a tiny, ear piercing size hole and I almost don’t drain as much as before (10% of what I used to drain), I’m glad the opening is not closing and my body is keeping it there. The amazing part is I believe the 1st opening (from the initial surgery has closed or no longer drains from there). So I what I’m trying to say is after the team of doctors resolves your critical infection, maybe trust your body a little and give some time to allow it to heal too, sometimes the doctors just react base on your complaint and they’ll try things from the manual without really knowing the repercussions and although it’s unbelievable at this day and age but my 2nd doctor (best website, best copywriting done about his practice) didn’t even know the most basic of medical assessment and just told me “trust me I know what I’m doing” and he not only cut the wrong part of my body but cut my opening that led me to a bigger systematic infection and I was admitted in hospital for 7 days. I think bare minimum is MRI, must take a good luck before the docs still need to gamble. First surgery was the same, based on guesstimation and cut the wrong area which led to never healing fistual for over a year of pain etc…. and even when they say chances are 70% etc…, I really think the odds are all 50/50. I’m glad I didn’t take the last surgery they proposed me now life ain’t too too bad, I just watch what I eat a bit more and reduces the chances to have an overload of the common bacteria that goes into my digestive system. Good luck guys, life perspective living w/ fistula will change with time, I used to get freaked out, felt abnormal (monster) etc… but now it doesn’t really bother me and I just put a gauze there with minimal drainage daily and keep the area very clean.

  207. My daughter had her entire rectum removed in 2013 and was given a perm ileostomy due to rectal and vaginal fistula complications. Eight weeks ago she tells me green stuff is coming out down there. When I looked Her nicely healed bum had three small holes in it. Although the surgeon took out the originating source of the fistulas he could not take out where they attached to the skin. Can a fistula that was cut in half grow back internally and attach to another organ? Her surgeon says they cannot but he also says not to treat the green infection coming from the holes. He said the MRSA she tested positive for was from her skin. He said sometimes butt cracks sweat and she was mistaking sweat for drainage. This makes zero sense to me. Could someone point me in the right direction?

  208. Hi I’m from Singapore, I just want to share my story.
    10 years ago when I was 25, I had my horseshoe fistula surgery.
    My surgeon was a senior consultant and H.O.D of the Colorectal department at the Singapore General Hospital and he was very experienced, I researched alot on it eventually this Colorectal surgeon kept being praised and I told myself I’m not gonna let someone cut unless that surgeon came highly recommended. So I’ll check this guy out.
    After the first horseshoe surgery and a month of sitz bath and cleaning everyday at a outpatient cleaning for 6weeks(mandatory)
    I wasn’t in any pain at all and was sailing through.
    But during the 1st follow-up he told me straight, well all the pus was drained out 2 big pail of pus in fact(those bigger metal pail in surgery rooms, dunno what they are called :p)
    Yup the pus was so compacted that my buttocks felt like rocks(the pain I have never experienced anything more excruciating since)all the pus drained out he said but i couldn’t get to the root & i cut as deep as i could just short of cutting the muscles & so it’ll probably come back, if you are lucky it’s 50/50 chance.
    But most likely in a year’s time I’ll have to cut again but the root is very deep and the 2nd time if I really have cut deeper to get rid of the root, incontinence is just one of the few complications that will be permanent at that point I will stop and let it heal again and let you make the decision if you want to go ahead knowing the complications or deal with it and the may be new developments that we can try.
    At that point,
    I was scare angry and most of all so disappointed at first.
    I said to him if you were the best guy everyone said you were what do you mean you can’t find the root and remove it.
    I mean you must have open up thousands of butts to get this good why couldn’t you find mine (the thought of reliving the pain already traumatised me)
    but he just said something very matter of factly,
    Jefferson I thank you for looking for me because of my reputation but I must let you know what you might face and the reason why I can’t get to the root of your fistula is because everyone’s body is different.
    What He said next was like a bomb,
    everytime I cut a patient open.
    Apart from all the scans and tests we do to roughly know where we are going for… Here’s the bomb… It’s trial and error not just in my specialty but in Every other departments specialty, neurosurgeons, psychiatrist etc we specialist are also humans not God no matter how good we may be.
    Every case though similar in essence, the problem has in itself it’s own uniqueness.
    But he said this b4 during my last followup when you do come back or if the Discharge comes like I say it will,
    come see me the immediately and I will get it out this time.
    True enough a year later in 2006.
    i notice soreness on the right side of my butt cheeks by the old incision and days later discharges came out i went back to him.
    Book a surgery date for the very next week.

    And after the surgery the next morning he came to see how I was doing and he said I got the root but I was less than a cm from doing permanent damage however I can safely say as long as you follow the after care guide during the follow ups. There will be no ‘more’ ‘assholes’ appearing for you.
    We both laughed

    It’s been 10 years and ive not had that problem again. Touch wood…

    I realise then that a specialist are like artist,
    not all can create art like michaeangelo or rembrant or monet like some artist just do it and think they are good.
    Like alot of doctors out there just follow the textbooks and don’t think out of the box and are just making a living.
    Forgetting the oath as doctor they took.
    Even thinking themselves better than us.
    My advice if you inevitably face this issue try your very best within your means to look for the best surgeon don’t just walk into the first colorectal clinic and get persuaded go for surgery. Do your research it could save you many more problems from botched jobs.
    Stay healthy people!

    From Singapore

  209. I had an operation a year ago but still my wound hasn’t healed.There’s this solid substance inside the wound,I feel it when I insert my finger during sit baths but it hasn’t caused me any pain.Does somebody know what’s going on with me?

    BTW I lost a new boyfriend as soon as he heard about the drain…

    • 1st off, your boyfriend is an a**hole if that’s the reason why he left you. You don’t need people like that in your life. A person that truly cares about you will look beyond your illness. None of that will matter to them. 2nd, don’t know if you were saying “Horrible Stench”? It’s an infection. Of course it’s not going to smell pleasant. I’ve had multiple surgeries for mine. I can honestly say I’ve never had an issue where they smelled, but I never had waste come out of them either. Sorry you’re going through this. It’s not a pleasant process. I would look into starting Remicade. It closed 90% of my fistulae. Good luck.

  211. Hi
    I’ve had this for three years, had 12 ops
    And still discharge pus, blood, have to wear dressings 24/7, the smell is the infection draining , slit baths help a lot with this , as does changing dressing every hour.
    Not easy when your trying to work, Google VAAFT it’s a new treatment I am waiting surgery for. Will feed back how it goes, your boyfriend is a d***head your better off without him
    Good luck

  212. Please try alternate treatments as well like Ayurveda , they have very good results as compared to conventional surgeries.
    I have undergone surgery since last 10 days , now will wait10 days more and go in for this Ayurvedic treatment.
    Read on the internet , might prove usefull.

  213. Hi my partner has had a complex fistula for over 2 years, he also has a hole in his rectrom measuring 1.2cm. He has had 2 steton’s in for over a year now , which has made no difference, has since been passed through 3 hospitals, at present his last surgery was, cutting away one of the tract’s and creating one tract , they said they put in anothet seton, which is a black stitch, not seen with the naked eye, to create one track, which is now an open cavity and packed. Could please explain to me what are the results of this procedure. He is at present in great discomfort. Sorry i did not explain , he first had an abscess in ano, which only had one washout, was put on iv vanc instead, has never healed since May 2014. Thanks

  214. First, thanks for the website and those who post. Believe this has done some good for me but has potential for so much more. It’s a support forum, and one way to support is sharing your experiences – what has worked and what has not, timelines etc.

    Most of what is posted is questions or those who initially post with no follow up. Let us know whats up, share the info. – let’s make the best of this freaking nightmare.

    As for me. High complex fistula. After 90 days with seton, another fistula opened up. Seton there x 1 month. First fistula with seton appears to have stopped draining. Hoping for lift procedure around 90 days from now.

  215. Hi,

    Do you know of any fistula cases where silver wire (high purity “dead soft”) has been used as the seton? Also I’d like to know roughly what depth from the perianal surface a fistula channel should be less than (not too into the muscle) for the tie-off and slow cut-through process.


  216. Hi,

    Do you know of any cases where silver wire (high purity) has been used as the seton? Also, I would like to know roughly at what depth a fistula channel would be considered too into muscle tissue for the slow tie-off cut-through process. In my case, the fistula does not appear complicated and is seems to be a straight shot from less than in inch from the anal opening and traveling less than half an inch deep to inside the anal wall.


  217. My husband has had 7 surgerys for a horse shoe fistula and it will not go away they just keep passing him to different doctors and specialists!!! WHY IS IT NOT GOING AWAY????????

    • Hi my husband’s had 16 operations in 2 1/2 years. I am trying to get him to St Marks in London, they specialize in this condition. I really think most surgeon’s especially were i come from which is Ireland have very little interest in this condition, i have already tried and was refused, they stated that the treatment could be done hers, however i have seen no evidence of this.

  218. I use Oil or Oregano in liquid form, but not at full strength. Oil of Oregano is a natural antibiotic. Do some online research on it.I had my husband use a small string with a tube and inject it, i laid with my legs up for 10 minutes because w/ the horseshoe it didn’t stay in on its own. I recently discovered the Mi Helath Nes with a practitioner that helps the body heal on its own. I was diagnosed with a fistula in 2013, used the Oil of Oregano, have not had surgery. I use baby wipes daily to keep the area clean.

  219. I have has a high anal fistula for three years, just had op call VAAFT video assisted anal fistula treatment, if you google it, this will give more info. I am still discharging blood and pus, from the 9mm hole, I really hoped that this would work for me but its not looking like it, but it claims to have an 82% success rate so worth speaking with your doctor about it.
    Good luck

    • Hi Jay … hope everything is well..just wanted to know whether your VAAFT surgery was successful. I recently have undergone a plug surgery & it has failed . Now I am waiting for another procedure & have been reading about VAAFT & wanted to know how you have gone on with it.

  220. I have few questions. How long have you guys had the fistula before you new what it was, i went into surgery to have hemorrhoid removed but come to find out it was fistula so they stopped the surgery and told me it wasn’t what they thought. Ive been going threw this for years i can’t find a dr to do the surgery and now im pregnant so i have to wait. And its seems to be getting worst. Help i need advice.

  221. Hi to all! I have suffered from a fistula for 10 years. I was very sick and nothing was working. I went vegan on advice from a specialist and mainly raw. I do a lot of berries, lemons, limes, young coconut, bananas, ginger root etc in smoothies. What one wants to do is clean the lymphatic system and get it draining. Since going vegan several years ago, I lost weight, look younger and healthier, and the fistula is dying. Watch your food labels, eat clean and mainly raw, and you too can heal your fistula.

  222. Hey all! I just had advance flap surgery for a rectovaginal fistula in which I had a seton placed (exit wasn’t in vagina, but outside to the right) this past Tuesday (11/15). I was in the hospital and released on Saturday. I’ve been on a strict clear liquid diet only until I see the surgeon this coming Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll be able to advance my diet then. It’s been a struggle to eat under 1k calories a day eating only broths and jello. I will say this. I’ve read so many comments in forums from people talking about the excruciating pain they were in for weeks/months after this surgery. This literally terrified me and kept me up for nights thinking to myself omg should I even have this surgery? This was my 18th surgery and I will say that 5 days post-op, the pain level I’m experiencing is moderate to mild. I’ve been reducing my pain meds because it’s tolerable. Im able to use the toilet with no pain. I’m thankful for my colorectal surgeon. This man has literally given me a better quality of life. Ive been posting everyday of my recovery on my instagram (sunnymichel), snapchat (Sunny-Michel), and twitter (sunchbunny) accounts. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

  223. Hi. I have a question. I have 2 setons in place permanently (both surgeons & I agree that is best. As when the setons was taken out the fistulas came straight back). I am looking for some kind of wound dressing that can be put on (re useable would be good) for swimming at the local pool. Any ideas on anything please.
    Thank you.

  224. Hi. I have had my seton in place for3 weeks but very little information was given to me. All i want to know is how long before i can go swimming. Any advice would be great. Thank you.

  225. Can anyone please inform me on swimming with a seton in. Have had it in place for3 weeks but just not sure on the whole swimming thing.

  226. Even after the procedure in removal of abseccs is done ,does the fecal matter reapper in that track?.. If so till what duration does it continue to reapper?

  227. Wow
    It wonderful to know about this information.
    That’s right
    Thanks. ………….rajcosmatic orai jaloun up india

  228. The seton wires did not work, neither did the fibrin glue or plugs or open flap advancement. Complicated fistulas = Annoying and embarrassing

  229. Follow up from september post above. One fistula healed with loose seton. Had plug surgery on 2feb for 2nd fistula. Trying to stay off feet and rest. I’m curious to hear from those who have had the plug surgery. If it was successful, how did the success manifest itself and what sort of timeline? If it failed, what failed and how? What sort of timeline and what was done after? Removal?…..thanks and good luck to all.

  230. No luck here. Guess God has another plan for me.

    I’ll share my experience so as to aid others in the search for information within the fistula plug surgery information void:

    So, my signs and timeline for a failed plug procedure were a smelly discharge and dislodging of part of the plug from the external opening just less then 2 weeks from the surgery date.

    Drainage consistency and smell returned to normal about 4 weeks post op and I opted for another draining seton placement. Hope that helps and God bless.

  231. Two years ago I had an abscess that ruperered causing a vaginal fistula that I deal with every day, I was hoping it would grow back but two years later it hasn’t happened yet…there is a horrible Oder but I am 65 and don’t have an active sex life…thank goodness but I have to wear pads every day, it is very unpleasant and I have the fear that others might smell the odor, I hope that I don’t get any infections from this, I worry every day, I think I was mid diagnosed with diviticulitous when in fact I had an abscess and was never giving a CT scan to determine the pain I was having..results was it rupered on it’s own busting through my vaginal canal, which happened in a Burger King restroom, and I was scared to death and never dealt with anything like this, I went to two specialists that didn’t give me a CT scan so I ended up in the Emergency room and they didn’t believe me either until they gave me a scan and to their surprise found the rupered absess and my bungalow fistula, I wasn’t crazy after all…so that is my story and I am sticking to it

  232. Hi All,

    Good to connect with u.
    I had perienal abscess and incision has been made with a big hole and the pus was removed. I have noticed pus coming and it is declared as high fistula after ultra sound scan.
    This all took 3 years. Now I have done fistulectomy surgery a week back. I am using pad for absorbing pus, sitz bath 3 times a day. Even after a week of surgery pus is coming.
    PAIN PAIN PAIN when I pass motion.
    Plz advise me friends…..

  233. Hi everyone, my partner has had a complex fistula for 3 years, it started with abscess in ano. My advice is to go on uTube and look at a lecture by professor Steve Halligan, on MRI and complex fistula. I find that most surgeons will refuse to do MRI’s , i think for money reasons, because that is the only way you will see if there are any hidden tracks off the fistulas. The EUA, Is were they stick a needle in one end and see were the needle comes out. That has a high failure rate. The ultrasound does not show muscle. However surgeons still stick to this procedure, research is the best way, at least you can ask questions, from my own experience, only a few have any interest in this condition. The consultant radiologist and surgeon should be working together to get the best results. His last procedure was EUA, told him he could not find a fistula, which made us wonder, especially when there was still puss coming out, so we got a private MRI and found he had a fistula at 6 o clock, which the surgeon missed.

  234. I had fistula operation 8 months ago..Now again I am getting pain …What to do

  235. My 10yr old son has had a seton in gor his gistula. He’s been on several antibiotics. His spot now is extremely inflamed and looks like there’s pus pockets throughout….what now? He’s been diagnosed with Crohns….

    • Antibiotics! I suffered for weeks assuming it was the normal healing process as I repeatedly was told to be patient! One week on, the antibiotics have kicked in. I have not taken any pain killers. I am now in week 12 after surgery. I have a cutting seton in place. Hope this answer helps. Best of luck for your sons recovery.

  236. Pre op my fistula only leaked a bloody fluid. Post op I am now passing faeses and gas through it. The pain has been horrendous, 6 weeks on I’m still struggling to sit down . I leak a off white foul smelling liquid from my bottom too. I’m wearing sanitary pads but the liquid I’m leaking tends to to sit on the pad it’s too thick to be absorbed. I’m constantly worried people will smell me. I keep cleaning with baby wipes. The whole experience has left me feeling depressed and exhausted. The only true relief is a hot bath. Every bowel movement leaves me in pain and exhausted. I have lost my dignity and my personality has changed too. I don’t want to socialise. I have had no choice but to return to work for financial reasons. Some days I feel so low I have wanted

  237. My warmest support to all friends (and co-sufferers) with perianal fistulas here..Has anyone done the VAAFT Surgery? Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • Yes I had VAFT laser treatment last October 16, had another op Nov 17, and have had to have the seton stitches put back in so back square one, my GP thinks it’s because hospital left it nearly a year, I whole time since VAFT I’ve still discharging pus and blood, and the pain never seems to end , it’s hell I know mate but hang in there, use dressings from the doc as they soak up the pus even if very thick like mine, carry a men’s perfume with, it helps with your peace of mind
      Good luck my friend

  238. My wife has two fistulas and is probably going in for another surgery next week because the pain has not gone away.

    I am wondering how many doctors feel comfortable to have told you to have an ostomy to allow your body a chance to heal?

    When I first met my wife when she had an ostomy (which has since been reversed) and I expect that it may be the only opportunity to allow her body to heal again.

    To those who have had the ostomy before, is it worth the trade off? – having an ostomy and the maintenance and different kinds of difficult issues to deal with vs not having abscesses, running to bathroom, etc.

  239. Hello anyone had filac surgery?? please reply…..

  240. It surprises me that noone tends to respond to obvious questions such related to new, sphincter saving techniques. No one has performed either Filac or Vaaft. Kindly post your reply in the site, you may save other people or help them with this very difficult problem. The perianal surgery discipline is undergoing a revolution through these two types of surgeries, so info among patients is of key importance. I understand the sadness that we all go through, but problems can only be solved through ACTION!!. So please communicate and be hopeful!! Dimitri.

  241. Hi, I had necrotizing facitis . I had only a small percentage of survival , kidneys shut down , 2 months of dialysis. I was on a morophine dialauded pump. Most is unclear but I was on 5 myacin antibiotics. Several surgeries of removing it, I know have had a Seton drain for four years. I’m waiting on flap surgery, my diabetes is poor and it prevents surgery. I’m looking for help or support on this poor quality of life.

  242. I hate this seton – I knew nothing about it until after the op – it’s uncomfortable and it’s awkward washing so frequently- toilet wipes aren’t enough to keep it clean. I wish I knew what I was getting into. Was it essential? I’ve had two abscesses and may be due a further seton. I’m not happy. It’s two weeks plus after the operation and pain is just beginning to be bearable- painkillers cause constipation whilst lactulose the runs- I still haven’t got the balance right despite coming off the painkillers.

    • Hi Lucy, you should always make sure you speak to your Dr and ensure that you understand exactly what they are going to do. I had to have a few setons during my battle with a complex high fistula. I can sympathise, they are painful – cheese cutter springs to mind!! – especially soon after surgery/infection but it should get easier as swelling goes down. You can get small vials of saline which are easy to carry in your bag to douche with. I have also found those new ‘Water Wipes’ found in baby section of supermarket to be extremely soothing as no chemicals as with other botty wipes. I also do not get on with Lactulose for the same reason so stopped taking it. I preferred liquid parrafin (Milpar was amazing but I think they’ve stopped making it!!) you need to talk to your Consultant to find an alternative that suits you. Obviously keep well hydrated – lots of water and avoid codine/tramadol pain killers! I hope things settle down for you, a pain yes but better to keep draining it and not get awful infection and sepsis like I did! Good luck.

      • Thank you for your reply. I shall avoid the codeine based painkillers and stop lactulose. I simply don’t know how people can return to work after only a week or two post op I’m in week three and still struggling to sit on a doughnut cushion or stand comfortably. Maybe it’s just in an awkward place. Thanks for preparing me for the long haul of possible future operations – this is very helpful. Did you heal completely in the end? You didn’t say.

      • Hi Lucy, unfortunately you may be in for a longer haul than you would like. I had the setons in for over a year, the parts of the fistula they could they ‘laid open’ which was very painful and unpleasant as wounds need to be repacked by a nurse daily, I then had the LIFT procedure. Mine was a complex fistula, hence the variety or treatments to tackle it, the dreadful infections and sepsis prolonged everything and indeed I couldn’t sit down at all for over 2 years. Hopefully yours isn’t as complex as mine was and will heal up after setons allowing it to drain. My recovery has been slow but the fistula itself seems to have been contained but it has taken many years I’m afraid I have been left with long term problems but I am learning to manage these. Not easy but onwards and upwards. You just need to find what works for you, sadly this is an extremely painful area, but things should improve for you. Keep ensuring your Consultant is working with you to reduce pain and monitor recovery. If not, ask for a second opinion.

      • Seems very painful. I am not sure what should I do. I just had a surgery and I don’t know how long I can’t sit. What exactly is the seton procedure.

      • Thanks for your reply. I’m sorry you’ve suffered so. Lucyx

  243. I had surgery on my anal fistula on Tuesday, it’s now Friday and I had a couple questions. First, the drainage is substantial which I believe is normal, is there usually a strong odor that goes along with it? I also noticed that around the wound the skin looks black in color where they made an incision. Is this normal?

    • Yes the pus smell is usual but get it checked by your gp or by the surgeon’s team if it’s black- it could be dried blood but best to check immediately with these things. I’ve had a second seton for a fistula as the first got infected – it just felt wrong. The gp and a and e said all was fine but it was not. You need to bathe twice daily in saltwater and use Andrex toilet wipes after each motion- the site has to be kept really clean. Act immediately and follow your instinct that all is not well. I find GP’s really casual when more should be done.

    • Hi Tony yes that sounds like mine was post surgery, I’m assuming you have had a seton drain put in? The mank coming out is the pus draining and it does have a nasty sickly odour but the good news is the drain is working and the yuk is coming out. The key is to keep area as clean as possible. The black around the wound you describe sounds like bruising, which again I had. As with all post ops, keep an eye on it. If your still concerned, talk to your doctor. Hope you feel better soon.

  244. Hello guys im 43 male from sydney i had anal fistula for two years finally 3 month ago i decided to do the operation mine was too close to the muscle so they did the seton it was painful for 3 weeks then 5 days ago went for another procedure to tighten the seton im in horrible pain my dr said it’s normal my question will the pain settle? And is my seton cutting seton ? Thanks

    • Hi you need to check with your dr if it’s a cutting seton or not. Your pain could be due to swelling in the area post op pulling on the seton and area being very sensitive. It could also be the seton is a bit tight, one of mine was like a cheese cutter wire, so unless your dr can change it you may have to see how it goes and try to manage with pain killers. Not an easy area to manage pain I know, hope things improve for you.

  245. hii i need to know that can fistula heal without surgery cus am afraid of surgery

    • Hi unfortunately it will not heal without intervention. In fact if you just leave it it will only get worse and make more tracts as the infection spreads. Be brave and get it sorted before it gets any worse. Good luck.

    • Mine did. In 2013 I was diagnosed with one. Worst pain of my life. I diluted oil of oregano (that I purchased at vitamin world ) with olive oil, and this is no joke, had my husband inject it in th fistula. Oil of Oragano is a natural antibiotic, I wanted to try anything to avoid surgery. After about 2 weeks, I felt really good. I had gone to 2 different surgeons, they both told me that until they operated they couldn’t give me an answer on what type of surgery/recovery, etc. I sell medical devices and am in surgery regularly, so I am educated somewhat. Since 2013 I’ve had 2 colonoscopies, and my GI Doc has not had any concerns. I am a healthy individual, when I got the fistula I think it was because of stressstress. I’ve cut down on gluten, and use baby wipes after every bm to keep it clean down there. I have had no flare-ups, issues since 2013. Hope this helps!

      • I just recently had a season put in and I’m in terrible pain because it moved and the area where they sealed the seat on has moved under the skin. Can you please email me what you purchased and exactly what you did so that I can try it. The doctor wants me to have surgery but I am scared. My email address is Also I have difficulty having a bowel movement I’m concerned about annual cancer but my doctor will not do a colonoscopy because I had one in 2012, does anyone know if having a annual Fischer or fistula can cause annual cancer.

  246. Anyone live in Georgia and can recommend a good surgeon?

  247. Hi. I’m hoping someone can offer me advice!
    I had a seton fitted to drain a high fistula today. How am I best to keep the area clean? Is regular showering sufficient or should I be bathing in something? Salt? Or anything else to keep it clean and disinfected?
    Also, I’m worried about passing stools. Surely it’s impossible to keep the seton clean in this instance?? How easy is it to wipe yourself? Is it possible to move or dislodge the seton?
    Feel I should have asked the surgeon to be more specific with aftercare advice but was a bit groggy! Thanks in advance for any advice given.

    • Kaka, I’ve had my seton in for a year and a half now. My doctor told me that as long as the seton is in place, it will drain. He also told me to pull it and wiggle it a little every day(even making it hurt a little) to help pull it through and then the scar tissue will help fill it in. Mine is getting close…I think/hope. I usually shower once a day (sitting in a bath was uncomfortable)to clean the area as well as I can and pull on it. I had a minor infection once and it cleared up with antibiotics. Passing stools, it turned out was not a big deal, just take a probiotic every day or have cultured yogurt to help keep the gut healthy. I try to hold the string up out of the way while I go #2 and then wipe as well as I can and use a wet wipe every time I change gauze pads, which is about every 2-4 hrs. Drainage is inconsistent sometimes so you have to go by feel. Ask your doctor if you should be pulling on the string.

      • Thank you for your help. I have changed my diet. Organic, or non GMO. Proboitc twice a day. CBD in the evening. Psyllium in morning before breakfast and before dinner. Triphala two Capsules before bed. I have had no blood for three weeks, and no pus for one week. I clean and dry after every bowel movement. Pain is gone. I am pray to God, as I do every day. That this is going away. I will call my doctor in about two to three weeks if it stays this way about the next operation.

  248. I have 2 setons in place. Connected through the same tunnel. How do I know when the setons will be ready to come out ? What can I do to get the fistula to dry up ? I have been tested for crohns disease, other then the fistula, I have no other signs. But I have had 3 operations over a 3 year period. The surgeon wants me to start infusions to clear the fistula. I do not want to put that stuff in my body. I started a new diet, and am now taking preboitics and preboitics. How do I know when the setons will be ready to come out ? What can I do to get the fistula to dry up ?

  249. I have a question. I have a seton for a fistula and I have UC. I was just put on Remicade and the fistula hole is now very small and drainage is very light. Does the Dr. just pull out the seton when the hole is almost closed or do you have to surgery? I have had 3 surgeries and the thought of another one is just unbearable.

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