Diet After an Anal Fistula Surgery

Painful but uncommon injuries that develop most frequently in people with chronic intestinal disorders, such as Crohn's disease, anal fistulas usually require surgery to heal. An anal fistula forms an abnormal channel between the anal canal and the skin near the anus, often following an intestinal infection or abscess in the anus. Surgery to drain the abscess, called a fistulotomy, allows the infection to heal and the abnormal channel to close. After anal fistulotomy, the right diet can help prevent complications.

Assortment of grains (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

After-Surgery Effects

Woman holding her stomach. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

You may experience mild to moderate pain for up to a week after a fistulotomy. If you experience pain, you may try to avoid passing stool, which can lead to more severe constipation. Keeping stools soft and bulky helps them move easily through the gastrointestinal tract. Pain medication used after surgery can also have constipating effects. Your doctor may also prescribe laxatives or stool softeners after surgery.

High-Fiber Diet

Assortment of fruit. (Image: Images)

Following a high-fiber diet after surgery bulks up the stools and also keeps them soft by drawing water into the stool from the intestine. High-fiber foods include fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. Eat four servings of fruits and vegetables and four servings of cereal and other whole grains to prevent constipation. Keeping the skin on fruits and vegetables provides extra fiber. Fiber in wheat and oat bran may be more effective in preventing constipation than fruits and vegetables. Try to include at least 20 g of fiber if you're female and 30 to 35 g if you're male.


Woman with glass of ice water. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

You must increase your fluid intake when you increase your fiber intake, or stools could become large and hard. Intestinal blockage, a potentially serious complication, can occur if stool can't pass. Drink at least eight to 10 8-oz. glasses of fluid during the day to keep stools soft. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, which can worsen constipation, because caffeine has a dehydrating effect.


Woman resting after surgery. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

If you become constipated after surgery, you can easily retear an anal fissure. Complete healing may take several weeks, so take care to keep stools soft. Anal fissures can also recur, so make high-fiber foods and extra fluid part of your normal diet. Increased pain and rectal bleeding may indicate a new fissure. Increase your fiber intake slowly, or you could develop uncomfortable abdominal distention and gas.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.