From Fissure to Fistula

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From Fissure to Fistula

Postby WhatTheFistula » 12 Apr 2023, 18:15

From the outset, let's all say hooray for this wonderful forum. I have been reading the posts for weeks now, it feels like there's an army of proctological warriors!

11 September 2013, I was in Las Vegas with my wife. We were visiting from the UK, driving from state to state, having a great time. Then, one night, I was in agony in my arse. There was the prospect of visiting an American Emergency Department (using travel insurance) or trying to deal with it myself. My wife ventured out to the pharmacy, came back with a number of haemorrhoid type products. I bathed loads, ate better for a couple of days and thought nothing more about it.

Fast forward to 2022, I was under a lot of stress at work, wasn't sleeping terribly well due to having a 1 year old and then one day, after an Indian takeaway, all hell broke loose. The Vegas agony was back, but really intense. I would run round the house in agony, I would have to go to bed and sleep the pain away. And then, I got Covid, so was stuck, at home, with intermittent stabbing pain.

I used lavender in the bath, I exercised (before the Covid at least), used more over the counter haemorrhoid type products and things improved slightly. Eventually, it got to the stage where my wife phoned the doctors and I was sent to see an out of hours GP. That GP was clear it was a fissure and prescribed me rectogesic (glyceryl trinitrate). I used rectogesic and fybogel. Within a week the pain was gone and I thought I was golden.

What the GP didn't tell me was that I needed to continue using the rectogesic until the course was finished...cheers mate.

So I stopped...

There was a little itching when flying later in 2022 but nothing major.

Then 2023, something was wrong. I think it was a Chinese takeaway this time (lesson learnt). A hard BM, agony, then days with some constipation. The pain was the worst of all the episodes I had experienced. There was crying, running around the house, trying to sleep off pain. I kept working and trying to manage it.

I used some of the old rectogesic but no impact this time.

I did the right things, started with fybogel again, used yarrow ointment, sitz baths, etc... no impact. Eventually, one night, again, in serious pain, I spoke to NHS 111 (it's basically a state run health helpline in the UK). The clinician I spoke to was not great. However, he did give me a prescription for rectogesic again.

I aggressively changed my diet, applied the rectogesic religiously, upped my exercise, attempted (and failed) to reduce stress at work. The pain started to go, I felt I was on the mend. But, I thought I had better continue with the rectogesic this time. I started to feel changes in the tissue around my anus, they felt tight, angry.

This time, I made a non urgent appointment with the GP. As it was non urgent, I had to wait a week. During that week, things got worse. It was a different pain and sensation, now, it felt like there was something literally sitting between my bum cheeks. My (long suffering) wife, had a look, took some pictures (I will save you the image!) and there appeared to be a boil between my buttocks.

The day before my appointment, the boil burst, pus, blood leaked from me. The next day I saw the GP after a telephone consultation. He examined me, digitally and visually. He was convinced that I had a strangulated haemorrhoid. I was less convinced, pilonidal sinus seemed more likely to me. But in any event, the GP was great, we spoke about NHS (state health care options) and private options.

Relatively unusually for the UK, I have health insurance. I decided to go down the private route and use my insurance. The next weekend, I flew to continental Europe for a friend's stag (bachelor) party. I felt rough, had explosive BMs but I managed to survive the flights, the drinking and the continued discharge... more pus... more pain.

When I got back, I saw a very experienced CRS who is qualified/certified in the UK and the USA. He took one look at me, heard what I had to say and uttered the words... anal fistula. And now I wait for the surgery.

The pain is pretty manageable, the spasms are driving me mad, it's just past midnight here. I am up, typing this, watching bad TV and trying to distract myself. Every few nights I suffer like this, after a BM. It's rough, I am really looking forward to the surgery! Ridiculous as that sounds....

Some things which have helped me:

(i) Manuka honey, I have used it both topically and orally. Orally, it seems to have helped manage the fistula.
(ii) Baths, baths, baths - you know the score.
(iii) Morning smoothie, often adding coconut oil, ghee, or turmeric.

Reading this forum will also help you stay positive. Post now! Post often. I wish I had found this earlier. I wish I had seen a doctor in person earlier. Don't delay, don't let the fissure become a fistula. I'll be back post surgery (and probably before) to let you know how it goes.

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Re: From Fissure to Fistula

Postby MartinB » 13 Apr 2023, 20:26

Wishing you all the best and hoping that your recovery is full and swift.
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