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You had an anal fistulotomy. This surgery opens and drains an anal fistula and helps it heal.
You may be worried about having a bowel movement after your surgery. You will likely have some pain and bleeding with bowel movements for the first 1 to 2 weeks. You can make your bowel movements less painful by getting enough fibre and fluids, and using stool softeners or laxatives. Sitting in warm water (sitz bath) after bowel movements will also help.
You may notice a small amount of pus or blood draining from the opening of your fistula. This is normal in the days after your surgery. You can put a gauze pad over the opening of the fistula to absorb the drainage, if needed.
Most people can go back to work and their normal routine 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. It will probably take several weeks to several months for your fistula to completely heal. This depends on the size of your fistula and how much surgery you had.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Adaptation Date: 2/28/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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