Crohn's Disease Forum » Surgery » Fistulas, Fissures and Abscesses » How long to heal a fistula?

07-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
How long to heal a fistula?

I was just diagnosed with Crohn's after suffering with diarrhea for 30 years. Other than that, I've really had no other symptoms, tons of energy, etc. However, last week I had severe abdominal pain and went to the ER with a small bowel obstruction. Further tests found the fistula. Admitted to the hospital and stayed for 5 days. Given steroids for three days and then started on Remicade.

I am wondering how long it might take to heal the fistula. I won't really know if it is working since I don't know what a "flare" feels like other than the pain of an obstruction, which is better. I started soft foods last night and gentle solid foods today. It goes well and I feel perfectly fine.

It is very strange for me to have such messed up intestines when I feel so good. Hard to believe.
07-13-2011, 10:01 PM   #2
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Starlight's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Louisiana

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Fistulas have been the one thing that remicade will not help me out with. I've been on remicade since 2006, developed a fistula and fissure while on it, had surgery for it last year and even that didn't work.

Not trying to discourage you. I have read a ton of people on here that remicade healed their fistulas, and pretty quickly from what it sounds like.=)
07-15-2011, 09:26 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2010
I had a fistula when I was diagnosed about a year ago, and I was started on Remicade and 6MP immediately. My fistula got better pretty fast, which is almost certainly from the Remicade. I would say within a few weeks it was significantly better, and after a few months (I can't remember exactly, maybe like 4 months?) I had zero problems from my fistula, and I still don't. Good luck!
07-15-2011, 05:50 PM   #4
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DustyKat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: New South Wales, Australia
It depends where your fistula is I think.

My son had intra abdominal fistulas from his terminal ileum. He saw a number of colo rectal surgeons and GI's during his hospital stay and I specifically asked about biologics to treat them. He also had an abscess so he couldn't use them anyway but they all said that the biologics won't work on fistula's that are in the ileum.

However they do have a very high success rate with perianal disease and fistulas that result from disease there.

Dusty. xxx
Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
07-16-2011, 04:45 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Good point, DustyKat! I should've been more specific. My fistula was perianal.
07-17-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Harrison Township, Michigan
I had two perianal fistulas when I was diagnosed. My Dr packed them with an iodine soaked material and put me on Flagyl and pred. As I recall, it took a long time to heal from the inside out but eventually they did. One did reoccur after a couple years, it was repacked and this time cipro was administered... it worked! Again, it took several months. This was over 20 years ago, hope they've made strides in treatment now!

Diagnosed Crohns/Colitis: September 1990
Resections: 1995 & 2005
No Gallbladder!!
Hernia repairs: 7 at last count since 2004

Currently on: Remicade (750 mg every 8 wks) 6-MP, Colazal, Vitamin D, Folic Acid, and B-12 injections

Previous Meds: Prednisone, Flagyl, Colostid, Lyrica, Cipro, Rowasa

Team Challenge Alum and proud member of the Michigan CCFA
07-18-2011, 10:54 AM   #7
Lisa's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New York

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My fistulas healed up within a month or so I think? Thank goodness no reoccurance of them! And these were perianal and recto-vaginal ones.....

30 plus years and counting with UC/Crohn's!
on remicade since 11/05

While my experiences may not be what everyone has had- I feel it is worthwhile to share any and all experiences that may be beneficial to others.
07-18-2011, 11:11 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Wow, what a success story. Thanks for responding to my post.

Crohn's Disease Forum » Surgery » Fistulas, Fissures and Abscesses » How long to heal a fistula?
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