What Is a Fistula?


A fistula is an abnormal connection of two body cavities. This means that a tissue wall or barrier between two parts of the body has broken down because of an infection, trauma or injury.

In women’s healthcare, the most commonly-treated types of fistulas include:

Enterovaginal Fistula

This fistula unnaturally connects the vagina to another pelvic region— most often the urinary tract or rectum. It can cause itching, pain, fever, foul discharge or pus.

Enterovesical Fistula

This fistula involves the bladder and can contribute to chronic urinary tract infections, gas passing through the urethra and symptoms related to pain, discomfort and infection such as fever.

Obstetric Fistula

A vaginal fistula caused by prolonged and/or obstructed labor that causes tissue death in the soft tissue around the pelvic bone, resulting in a hole forming between the bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina.

What Are the Causes of Fistula?

Fistulas can occur due to prolonged labor, an abscess or an unhealed wound. Fistulas are a common side effect of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Obstetric fistula is due to prolonged or obstructed labor.

The Symptoms of Fistula: When to See a Doctor

The most common signs that a fistula may be present include:

  • Incontinence (fecal or urinary)
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Foul Discharge
  • Fever

What Are the Treatments for Fistula?

Surgical treatments and wound care are two common forms of fistula treatment. At Advanced Gynecology, we are board-certified surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive techniques including robotic surgery and laparoscopic techniques. These involve very small incisions, and the entry point for these will depend on the location of the fistula. Usually, the surgical entry point will be the abdomen or the vagina.

How Advanced Gynecology Can Help

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with fistula, or if you’re experiencing some of its telltale signs, Advanced Gynecology is here for you.

Our board-certified team of women’s health experts are ready to help you with a range of care options and medical procedures. We will counsel you about the best options for you and your health.

For more information, schedule an appointment today or call 706-389-9228 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.

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