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Anal Fistulas

An anal fistula is an abnormal tunnel that runs from inside the anus to somewhere in the skin around it. It is usually caused by abscesses in the anal glands or an infection that did not heal correctly. 

A perianal fistula can be short and superficial, not involving the anal sphincter. It can also be long and deep, involving just the internal anal sphincter, or it can involve both anal sphincters.

Most fistulas are low arising from low within the anal canal. Rarely fistulas are high, arising from above the anal canal. 

Caring doctor holding patient's hand

Anal Fistulas Classification

Anal fistulas can be classified as simple or complex:

Simple fistulas - Are those with a single tract that involves less than 30-50% of the external anal sphincter.

Complex fistulas - Are those with multiple tracts, those that involve more than 30-50% of the external sphincter, those that involve the anterior half of the, any fistula as a result of radiation or Crohn’s disease, and those arising in someone with already compromised sphincter function.

What Causes Anal Fistulas?

Anal fistulas occur when an anal abscess bursts into the tissues surrounding the anus. Though the condition is more common in younger people, anal fistulas can occur at any age. Their exact cause is not known. Smoking and Crohn’s disease have both been shown to increase the risk of developing a fistula.


Anal Fistulas Symptoms

  • Skin Irritation Around The Anus
  • A Constant, Throbbing Pain That May Be Worse When You Sit Down, Move Around, Cough Or After A Bowel Movement
  • Smelly Discharge From Near The Anus
  • Passing Pus Or Blood During A Bowel Movement
  • Swelling & Redness Around The Anus
  • Difficulty Controlling Bowel Movements In Some Cases

Did You Know?

At NAHC Calgary, we treat all types of anal fistulas through naturopathic methods.
Benefits of our naturopathic treatments are:

  • 100% Non-Surgical
  • Safe & Effective
  • Relieves The Pain
  • No Scarring

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