Could that Irritation Be an Anal Fistula?

Are you experiencing throbbing pain around your anus that increases when you sit or have a bowel movement? There are several potential causes for this discomfort, with an anal fistula as one of the possibilities. One of the most important steps you can take is to have us identify the problem so that we can provide you with much-needed relief.

At our practice, colorectal specialist Dr. Gabriel Akopian understands the many problems that can cause pain and discomfort around your anus, including anal fistulas. As his patients in Pasadena, California, can attest, prompt intervention is the key to quickly resolving this unpleasant and uncomfortable issue.

To help you figure out whether your anal irritation might stem from a fistula, here’s what you need to know.

What is an anal fistula?

An anal fistula is a sort of tunnel that forms between your anus and your skin when you have an infection that your body is trying to drain. Typically a fistula develops as a result of an infection in the glands in your anus that produce mucus to facilitate bowel movements. This infection can lead to an abscess — approximately 50% of the time — and a fistula develops as your body attempts to drain the infection. A fistula can also develop because of a clogged gland.

The signs of an anal fistula

The telltale sign that you might have an anal fistula is throbbing pain that often gets worse when you sit or try to pass stool. You may also notice other symptoms, such as:

If the infection progresses, you may also experience fever, body aches, and chills as your body attempts to fight off the infection.

Who gets fistulas?

Anal fistulas can develop in people of any age, including children, and both men and women are susceptible. In most cases, a fistula forms after an infection develops in one of your anal glands, as we described above. In less common cases, they can be caused by:

No matter how your fistula developed, it’s important that you make an appointment to come see us so that we can quickly resolve the issue. Anal fistulas do not go away on their own and can lead to recurring problems if not properly addressed.

Treating anal fistulas

Once we confirm the presence of an anal fistula, we can quickly treat the problem on an outpatient basis. Our primary goal is to drain the infection and plug the fistula, which Dr. Akopian can often accomplish using advanced laser technology. With our laser system, we can fight the infection, as well as coagulate and collapse your fistula to prevent further problems.

We may also use another technique called a fistulotomy, in which we make a small incision in your fistula to remove the infection. 

If you’re experiencing anal irritation, don’t wait to give us a call at 626-788-4095. All it takes is one visit to resolve the issue.

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