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What are anal fistulas?

Anal fistulas are abnormal, small channels or connections between the rectum and skin in the anorectal region. Anal fistulas often develop from an acute infection of an anal gland, located inside the anal opening. The infection causes an abscess to form, which then develops into a fistula or channel leading to the outside skin. Anal fistulas may also be caused by surgery, Crohn's disease, or radiation therapy.

A fistula is an infection inside the anus that burrows its way out to the skin and stays infected. Fistulas begin as an abcess.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.