Anal fistula is one of the medical conditions that badly affect your lifestyle and your overall health. In case you have an anal fistula, you may find difficulty in passing stools, irritation of the skin around the anus, and a foul smell discharge from the anus, etc. Anal fistulas can’t heal on their own and if left untreated, an anal fistula can develop into cancer and becomes life-threatening. So, you have to undergo surgical treatment for curing the anal fistula.
Most of the anal fistulas are simple to treat and, if the fistula is large and involves important blood vessels, then the anal fistula surgery becomes complicated and need a surgeon who is well-experienced in performing several successful anal fistula surgeries.
Once your surgery is done and gets discharged from the hospital, you may find it difficult to recover or to heal from anal fistula surgery. The healing or recovering from the anal fistula surgery depend on your post-operative lifestyle modifications and diet changes.
How to heal or recover faster from anal fistula surgery?
Fistulectomty; a type of anal fistula surgery involves cutting along the whole length of the fistula and open it to heal on its own as a flat scar. In laser fistula anal surgery, the fistula is sealed off with the help of a high-density laser beam.
After the fistula surgery, you will be discharged from the hospital and may face a few difficulties during the process of healing or recovering. Before your discharge, the doctor and the surgeon can suggest a few lifestyle-modifications along with diet changes and the care to be taken for faster and quicker recovery from the anal fistula surgery. Each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Take care of the wound:
- Drainage of pus or blood from the opening of the fistula can be seen in the initial few days of the surgery. It’s advised to put a gauze pad over the fistula opening as it can absorb the drainage of pus or blood.
- Wear a pad or sanitary towel inside the underwear to avoid staining of clothes.
- Nurses or surgeons will dress the wound until it heals. This dressing needs to be changed regularly, and you will be shown how to do this at home.
- While washing the wound, use warm water and cotton wool rather than a towel or sponge.
- Pat the skin dry rather than rubbing around the wound.
- Should avoid using perfume products and talcum powder as this can irritate the skin around the fistula.
- Visit the hospital or clinic as regular as possible so that the doctor can evaluate how well the wound is healing and can change the dressing for you.
Use medications wisely:
- Once the anesthesia has worn off, you may feel pain. To reduce and relieve the pain, your doctor may prescribe a few painkillers which need to be taken as prescribed.
- While using over-the-counter medications, read all the instructions, and also check with your doctor.
- Ask your doctor when to restart your medicines and follow the instructions about taking any new medicines.
- Avoid taking two or more medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to do so.
- If painkillers are making your stomach sick, consult the doctor, and ask for different medicine.
- Laxatives may also be prescribed by your doctor that helps you to go to the toilet or help you empty your bowels.
- To reduce the risk of infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Do not stop taking these medications just because you feel better. Make sure to complete the full course of antibiotics.
Take enough rest:
- You need to rest for a few days after the anal fistula surgery. So, when you are tired, get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep will help you recover faster.
- While resting, make yourself more comfortable by wearing loose-fitting clothes.
- Lie on the side of the abdomen when on the sofa or bed.
- Use pillows or cushions that are designed to relieve pressure and make you more comfortable when sitting.
Change in diet:
- You can have a normal diet until you stomach upsets. If your stomach is upset then change the diet.
- Drink plenty of fluids like water and juices. [do not follow unless your doctor tells you]
- Should eat food items that are high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Discuss with your dietitian about what to eat and what not to eat for faster and quicker recovery from the anal fistula surgery.
- Support your feet with a small step stool when you sit on the toilet. This helps in easier bowel movement after the surgery.
- Take a sitz bath for 15-20 minutes whenever you feel pain in the anal area. The water should be as warm as you can comfortably sit in.
- Apply ice on the painful area for 10-20 minutes a day. Do this whenever pain arises and use a cloth between your skin and the ice.
- Lie on the stomach to reduce the swelling of the surgical site.
- Avoid swimming until the wound heals completely.
Visit the doctor if necessary:
Make sure to visit or to call your doctor if you suffer from problems like difficulty in breathing, loss of consciousness, bleeding from the anus, pain in the back of the knee, drainage of pus and blood from the incisions even after a week of the surgery, severe pain that doesn’t go away with medications, and sudden onset of high fever, etc.
Follow-up appointments and follow-up care play a key part in your treatment and safety. Complete healing of the fistula may take several months or years. It depends on the size of the anal fistula and severity of the fistula. However, you can return to daily activities and work after a week or two from the date of the surgery.