Your Guide to Understanding Complex Perianal Fistula

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Learn more about what happens at a doctor’s visit to assess if you could have a fistula, including the four key questions to ask your health care provider for treatment and symptom management. 


Diagnosed with Complex Perianal Fistulas? 


Working Through Crohn’s and Complex Perianal Fistula Stigma

We spoke with patient advocates and a gastropsychologist about some common (and harmful) myths about living with fistulas — and what you can do to overcome them. 

“I have a right to be loved and supported and so does everyone else who is struggling with Crohn’s disease or fistulas.” — Tina Aswani-Omprakash, patient advocate


Your Guide to Understanding Complex Perianal Fistula was made possible with support from Takeda and BMS.

Fistula Audio Guides


Fistulas are common in people with Crohn's disease and cause painful tunnels between the intestine and other tissue, leading to pain and diarrhea. While a fistula diagnosis may be frightening, it can also provide reassurance and the opportunity to finally start understanding how to manage, treat, and live better with your symptoms.

This guide explores the challenges of living with Crohn's and fistula — from the perspective of patients and experts alike. Use it to talk with your doctors and make informed decisions for better care and support.

Complex Fistula Treatment

Here’s a closer look at the medication and surgical treatment options for fistula, plus tips for finding the right care team.



 Want to learn more about managing fistula? Our audio guides offer information and support to help you feel confident and in control of your health. Check them out below or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Treatment: Understanding Fistulas

The first step in your treatment journey: a proper diagnosis. Here, we discuss the importance of seeking care, monitoring your symptoms, getting a proper diagnosis, and exploring treatment options.


Crohn's and Fistula Stigmas: Protecting Your Mental Healths

Get advice and information on how to navigate the stigmas that may come along with a fistula diagnosis, and how to support your mental health.


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Talking about fistula symptoms to your providers and loved ones can feel awkward and even embarrassing — but these tips can help.

Fistula Symptoms – What They Are and How to Talk About Them

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Fistula Symptoms: How to Describe Them to Your Doctor

Learn more about the common symptoms of fistula, what they are, and how to explain them to your doctor. By openly discussing your symptoms with your health care provider, you can begin treatment and feel better sooner.


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Fistula Symptoms: How to Describe Them to Loved Ones

It may feel challenging or embarrassing to talk about your fistula symptoms with loved ones. This audio guide offers advice on sharing these symptoms with family and friends so you can get the support you need.



Own Your Crohn’s: Tina’s Journey with Fistulizing Crohn’s Disease

“I was totally different person before [experiencing fistulizing Crohn’s]. It taught me meaning and purpose. It gave me the desire to move the needle on how people are treated in the health care system.”


Ruchita’s Health Journey: Overcoming Fistula Challenges with Crohn’s Disease

Follow one patient’s journey as she conquers fistula challenges alongside Crohn’s disease, gaining strength and resilience.


Coping with a Fistula Diagnosis

With no quick fix for treating a fistula, it’s normal to feel stress and anxiety. The good news: There are steps you can take to support your emotional well-being as you care for your physical health.

 “It’s important that there is shared decision-making between patient and provider.” — Michele Rubin, APRN