Skip to content
Font Size

Anal Fistulas and Crohn's Disease - Topic Overview

Crohn's disease may cause sores, or ulcers, that tunnel through the intestine and into the surrounding tissue, often around the anus and rectum. These abnormal tunnels, called fistulas, are a common complication of Crohn's disease and may become infected. Crohn's disease can also cause anal fissures, which are narrow tears that extend from the muscles that control the anus (anal sphincters) up into the anal canal.

An anal fistula can often be treated with medicines, though sometimes surgery to repair the fistula may be needed. Conservative treatment, including antibiotics and medicines to reduce pain and inflammation, is usually tried before surgery. Surgery for an anal fistula, which is usually done only in cases of complications such as an abscess, sometimes results in persistent nonhealing.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Tapeworms in Humans

Tapeworms are flat segmented worms that live in the intestines of some animals. Animals can become infected with these parasites when grazing in pastures or drinking contaminated water. Eating undercooked meat from infected animals is the main cause of tapeworm infection in people. Although tapeworms in humans usually cause few symptoms and are easily treated, they can sometimes cause serious, life-threatening problems. That's why it's important to recognize the symptoms and know how to protect...

Read the Tapeworms in Humans article > >

Anyone with an unusual anal fistula that does not respond to conservative treatment should be examined for Crohn's disease, since a fistula is often the first sign of Crohn's disease. An examination may include anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, procedures that allow a doctor to view the lower rectum and lower large intestine through a viewing scope. Complete evaluation may require sedation because examination of the area can cause discomfort.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 08, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Anal Fistulas and Crohn's Disease Topics

    Today on WebMD

    man holding his stomach
    Get the facts on common problems.
    blueberries in a palm
    Best and worst foods.
     
    woman shopping
    Learn what foods to avoid.
    fresh and dried plums
    Will it help constipation?
     
    top foods for probiotics
    Slideshow
    couple eating at cafe
    Article
     
    sick child
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing bubble gum
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Woman with crohns in pain
    Slideshow
    Woman with stomach pain
    Slideshow
     
    diet for diverticulitis
    Video
    what causes diarrhea
    Video