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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. They may get infected. Crohn's disease can also cause anal fissures. These 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. But sometimes surgery to repair the fistula may be needed. Conservative treatment with antibiotics and medicines to reduce pain and inflammation is usually tried before surgery. Surgery for an anal fistula sometimes does not heal well or takes a long time to heal. So it is usually done only if there is a complication such as an abscess.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Understanding Pancreatitis Prevention

Limiting yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks per day may significantly lessen the chances of developing alcoholic pancreatitis. Once you have had pancreatitis, though, you should not drink at all; any drinking carries the risk of new attacks. Controlling your weight and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle may prevent gallstones and help reduce the risk of gallstone pancreatitis.

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

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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.
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