Rectovaginal Fistual Surgery, currently recovering, what to expect??

Hello everyone! I recently had surgery (8 weeks ago) to repair a rectovaginal fistula that I have had for 10 years. (It was within the last two years when I was hospitalized twice for severe pelvic inflammatory infections that they figured out I actually had the fistula.) I have had discharge from the vaginal canal every day since surgery but it was not that significant. Over the last week it seems to be several times a day everyday and it is making me nervous that the fistula repair is not working. I have a good surgeon but you know how they can be with communication sometimes. This may be totally normal and part of the healing process. Does anyone have any experience with this surgery and could should some light on what "healing" is going to entail? I am in no pain, just this discharge (leaking sensation) from the vaginal canal. I have a ileostomy while the fistula heals and I had a flap advancement done to repair the fistula. My fistula was very small and not infected. Having said that, even though it was small, it was active and was life altering for me so I was thrilled with the option to get rid of it. Thank you for any advice you can give me!

My background; Diagnosed with UC in September 1998, (21 years old)  J-pouch surgery June 3, 1999 (22 years old)  The only issue I have had is this small rectovaginal fistula (surgery at 40 years old) The pouch has been great and is still in great shape. Minimal scare tissue from the actual surgery. Repeated PID infections (although undetected until the last two years) for the last 10 years has caused significant damage to my fallopian tubes. As a result I have been unable to have children. Fallopian Tubes removed 8 weeks ago during the fistula repair surgery in attempt to stop the PID infections. 

Original Post

I can only tell you my experience. I had a flap advancement repair and a diverting ileostomy about a year ago to allow a recto vaginal fistula. I was told that it could take awhile for the fistula to heal. While I had the diverting ileostomy there was discharge but I was assuming it was from estrogen inserts that I was using twice a week.

Last December the surgeon took a look under anesthetic and he determined the fistula had healed.

Eight weeks ago I had the ostomy closed and the j pouch reattached. It seemed to be just fine until six weeks after surgery. It clearly did not close and I have a considerable amount of stool in the vagina.

I don't know if I should even be sharing this with you as it your fistula may well heal. (I'm assuming you still have the diverting ileostomy?)

This was my 2nd unsuccessful flap advancement and more surgery would likely cause more harm in terms of scar tissue, adhesions, etc. so my situation now is to try a few months trial of Humira to see if it will heal and, if not, it will be a permanent ostomy. Neither the surgeon nor the gastroenterologist think the Humira will work as my diagnosis has remained UC vs Crohn's but I guess I'll give it a try. 

Again, I'm sorry to be telling you this and your situation could be entirely different from mine. I'm sending lots of love to you LoriB.

JHENDRIX thank you so much! It is good to hear from anyone that has had this surgery and I certainly appreciate you sharing your story. I am very sorry that you are having to go the Humira route. My gynocologist had mentioned sealing the hole from the vaginal side so if this does not work I am definitely going to discuss that option with him as well. I can empathize with that defeated feeling. I will keep you posted. I see the surgeon this week and he will start doing some tests. At this point I cannot forsee him saying that it is healed which means two more months with the ileostomy. I suppose it is just going to take time and a lot of faith in the Lord above. I will keep you in my prayers.

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