Welcome! What is a fistula?

Welcome to my fistula blog!

For the past two and a half years I have been on a horrific medical roller coaster known as the land of the perianal fistula. I have decided to start a blog to help others in my situation cope with this debilitating, painful, and embarrassing health issue. I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience on this subject because I have lived with a perianal fistula for over two years, and have survived 8 surgeries. I am happy to report that my most recent surgery was a success, but I also want to share my journey with you because it took a LOT to reach this point.

Let’s start with the obvious question. What is a fistula? The medical dictionary describes it thusly:

fistula /fis·tu·la/ (fis´tu-lah) pl. fistulas, fis´tulae   [L.] an abnormal passage between two internal organs or from an internal organ to the body surface.


Image Credit: Southwest Surgical Associates

Basically, a fistula is a tunnel left behind after an abscess or infection occurs in a gland. This can occur anywhere in the body really, however we are concentrating on anal fistulas, mainly because there just isn’t much out there on the subject for the average patient. It took me so much research and trial and error to learn what I’ve learned. People simply do not want to talk about their anuses, especially when something is wrong down there.

There are many different ways a perianal or anal fistula can occur, and different types. Mine, for example, was basically an abscess that resulted in a tunnel from my rectum that exited very close to my vagina. As you can imagine, when it exits anywhere down there, you basically are dealing with fecal matter leaking into your lady parts (or male parts, which is equally unpleasant I’m sure). This can cause all sorts of hygiene issues, infections, and general discomfort, but I don’t want to get into that yet.


My hope with this blog is to bring light to this issue, to provide people with valuable information, tips, and advice that I have gathered over the years, and to let you know that you are not alone. 75% of the population suffers from abscesses, 50% of abscesses become fistulas. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is important to discuss this stuff. It’s important to not be ashamed. This is not your fault, and it is not something to be embarrassed about or afraid to ask questions about.

I want to make myself available to anyone who needs it, so if you have private questions for me, I will provide an e-mail address in my next post. I hope that this blog reaches even just one person who is in the position I was 2.5 years ago.

Here we go!

Leah R. Chatterjee

12 thoughts on “Welcome! What is a fistula?

  1. I had no idea! Very interesting and I love that you are putting it out there to help others. You are such an amazing person.

    • Appreciate you reading! Do consider checking out the support groups. Both groups are full of people who understand, have great tips, and provide great emotional support ❤

  2. Search in Internet about Ksharasutra treatment for Fistula.
    Hello guys, I had diagnosed with perianal fistula in July 2016 and its been a tough ride dealing with it. I started researching a lot on the treatments and came to conclusion that I don’t want to go with surgery as it would be very painful and reoccurrence rate is very high. Lucky that I am Indian living in Singapore which makes me research about treatments in Indian very old method of Ayurveda. I have got my answer Ksharasutra (Ayurvedic Seton) treatment. I went through this treatment. There is no Surgery involved, No hospitalization.
    I have done with my treatment as of Feb 1st 2017. The treatment may take 30 to 45 days. For me it took 25 days of treatment. Weekly once i have visited my doctor. After this recovery may take 2 to 3 weeks. While treatment there is no inconsistency. you can travel and do your daily routine. No Hospitalization required during the treatment. As of today(13th Feb) My fistula track is closed, No pus and my wound is healed 90% and no inconsistency at all even during the defecation.
    I have done my treatment in SUSHRUTA NURSING HOME(India, Andhra Pradesh). See the link for address and more details. Doctor is very professional and have lot of experience with Fistula, Piles and other ano related diseases.
    There are many studies done on this treatment which is very effective and no re-occurrence. you may search yourself in google and find out about this.
    I know the pain of going through this. That’s the reason I wanted to help others out there who is suffering like me. If you are interested to talk to me, email me at indranathforu@gmail.com.
    Hope this will be helpful to others.

    • So glad you found a treatment that worked for you! Thank you for sharing your story, and for the info in case anyone is interested in exploring alternative options. Best wishes to you on your journey! ❤

  3. Im new! just found this page had no idea others suffer too…thought i was alone! Such a horrible ordeal, and no one would understand if i was to tell them so i just bite my lip!

    • So glad you found my blog. We have a support group on Facebook – Fistula Support Group (Colorectal) with the same logo as my blog for the group pic, if you’d like to connect with others. Hope you are well! Sorry for the extremely delayed response; my notifications were not working apparently!

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