WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Conditions

Anal Fistula

Anal fistula (Photo from Wellcome Trust)

No, this isn’t linked to the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’ speech of 1992, but you only need to remove an ‘n’ from this phrase to be closer to the mark. An anal fistula is when a small, tunnel-like passageway forms between the anal canal and the opening to the outer skin surrounding the anus. A fistula usually develops after an anal abscess (a collection of pus) bursts, but can also form when an abscess has not been completely treated. They can also be caused by a condition which affects the intestines, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. The unpleasant symptoms of an anal fistula may include: a throbbing, constant pain, irritation of skin around the anus, fever, evidence of pus or blood when passing stools, and generally feeling unwell. Pain also tends to worsen when you sit, move around, pass stools or cough. Unlike an anal fissure, most anal fistulas require surgery as they rarely heal untreated.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

About a week ago I noticed a lump on my right anal cheek. It started growing bigger and becoming painful. It now has 'opened' and bleeds and has pus coming out of it at times. It does this a few times a day now. Is this due to a anal abscess? I dont know how I could have gotten an anal abscess or this if it is this. Could someone please tell me how I got whatever this is and if I will need surgery or if a GP can do something.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I had seton stitch for anal fistula end of jan 2016. Had it packed daily for 9 weeks and very painful when being packed Prescribed opium based tabs but had little affect. Had perennial abcess operated on twice before but returned and they is why surgeon put in seton stitch as he said it should help to prevent reoccurrence and incontenance. Back to theatre next week to have stitch tightened It may take a number of trips to complete process still pretty sore after exercise





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Dear Doctors, I was suffering from runny nose all the time and frequent sneezing was quite embarrassing. So recently I started taking vitamin c 1000mg daily. Since then I have noticed that no runny nose anymore, significantly sneezing is completely stopped. I am quite happy about what vitamin C did for me, but the unfortunate thing is that i am seeing some blood when I pass stool. As well as minimal irritation and blood lumps . My question is that does vitamin C cause rectal bleeding? If it does how can I avoid bleeding without stopping vitamin C intake. I also would like to know what causes vitamin C to make rectal bleeding? Appreciate your time and answer.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Why it happens ? And food measures to reduce pain? Should compulsorily consult with a doctor?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I had a small lump appear right next to my anus & I could feel & hear liquid moving around just under the skin, this then went painful. After a few days it must of popped & some clear/yellowish liquid came out & the pain / lump slowly vanished but still felt a little tender. After a few more days everything was fine but the lump was still there but smaller, I have now felt the liquid moving round again where the lump is under the skin & up to now there is no pain. Any ideas?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi i am a diabetic 32 y/o. I have a very painful lump in my left butt cheek very near my anus. I had it checked by a gastroenterologist and he said it was just a boil. He gave me antibiotics,its been a week and still it hurts like hell. It didnt stop the swelling, nor the pain. What ive noticed is that its been a week since i last defecated, i can feel the sensation of going but i cant go due to severe pain, and i also noticed that the lump grew everytime i try to poop, i think its a developing anal fistula and my doctor didnt believed me, i also experienced sulfuric burps cycles of constipation and watery stools lbm, do i have IBS or CD? Thanks





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, I've had a slight problem with my Anus for a few years now. I'm now 23. About 3-4 years ago, I felt a pain while having a poo above my Anus (about an inch or 2 towards my lower back, in the crack) and when I wiped I caught it and it stung like hell..... At first it felt like a spot or something. A week or so later the same thing happened, only this time after wiping I tried to have a good look and feel.(by the way, when I poo, I find myself a comfy position on the loo seat, after spreading my buttcheeks due to the amount of hair down there!) The only way I can describe what I felt, is as if I've split my butt crack and formed another Anus?! It's been there ever since, and occasionally it seeps blood during passing, as if I've pulled it apart again. In between these years, I've had lumps appear from my Anus, suggesting piles, which have come and gone around 3 times. One of those times, around a year ago, I actually saw thick dark red blood in my poo. This worried me at the time, but it was only the once I've bled from my actual Anus.... Please help, as I'm finally worried about my second Anus!!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hey doctor I suffer from an anal fitula since past 4 years which I think it's chronic at this stage, I end up with an abcess every 3 months it's periodc and I really don't get a break at all .Every time It's coming back I get antibiotics and get it surgically removed .. I already had 12 operations in the same spot !! The surgeon also tryed the seton but within a month abcess was ! ! I really need some help !! :(





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Try taking I table spoon of ghee and warm milk first thing in the morning and at night





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

HI Doc, I have this weird problem. I have this problem only when i visit my native.(where I have born and grown up for 17 years). Whenever i pass I feel a sharp pain/burn in and around my butthole. It pains/burns like hell for next 1-2 hours. The diet is normal ,similar to that i have in day to day life. But whenever i come back to my current city, the problem is cured within a day. I seriously need some help on this. thanks in advance.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Doctor Responses: IBS

    In Videos - Dr Christian answers your most frequently asked questions about Irr…

  2. Episode 5

    In Episodes - Episode 5 featured conditions as diverse as Gynaecomastia (that's m…

  3. In Detail: Anal Fistula

    In Videos - An in detail look at the operation to remove a perianal abscess.

  4. Episode 3

    In Episodes - Patients consulted and diagnosed by the doctors in Episode 3 includ…

  5. Quick Health Advice: Piles

    In Videos - Dr Jessen passes on some advice about the causes of piles and the p…

  6. Doctor Responses: Haemorrhoids

    In Videos - Dr Christian tackles the most popular viewer questions about proble…

  7. Consultation: Anal Warts

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper diagnoses a patient with anal warts

  8. Breasts

    In Episodes - In this second of four specials, the Embarrassing Illnesses doctors…

  9. Men

    In Episodes - The EI Docs go in search of the most elusive creature in the doctor…

  10. Vaginas

    In Episodes - The EI team roll into Norwich to setup a clinic in one of the count…

  11. Boys, Boys, Boys

    In Episodes - Episode 3 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies takes a closer look at bin…

  12. Teens Below the Belt

    In Episodes - Episode 4 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies tackles conditions includi…

  13. Am I Normal?

    In Episodes - Episode 2 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies looks at conditions includ…

  14. Consultation: Second Adult Circumcision

    In Videos - Dr Jessen examines a patient in need of a new circumcision

  15. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.


More Information

Content supplied by NHS Choices

An anal fistula is when a small, tunnel like structure (tract) develops between the back passage (anal canal) and the opening to the outer skin surrounding the anus. On the surface of the skin around the anus, one or more of the fistula ends may be seen as holes, which tunnel down into the back passage. Read More »

Am I Normal?

Share, explore, vote, watch… Am I Normal? is a bold new Channel 4 project that will redefine what you think of as ‘normal’.

Visit Am I Normal? >