Genitourinary fistula repair involves a range of possible treatment options.
The term genitourinary refers to the organs of the human genital and urinary systems. In females, the genital system includes the ovaries, uterus, and vagina. In males, the system includes the testes, penis, and prostate gland. The urinary systems in both females and males include the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladders, and urethras.
These systems perform vital, life-sustaining functions, and they are susceptible to a number of disorders.
In general, fistulas are abnormal holes or connections between organs or associated vessels. Genitourinary fistulas form in the organs and vessels of the genital and urinary systems.
Genitourinary fistulas can appear in the bladders, ureters, and urethras of both males and females. In women, holes can form between the vagina, the urinary bladder, the rectum, and the uterus.
Why do Genitourinary Fistulas Appear?
Fistulas of these kinds can appear in many areas of the body, and they also have many causes. In addition, males and females may develop fistulas for different reasons.
In women, prolonged and difficult childbirths can cause ruptures and fistulas in the uterine, vaginal, or rectal areas. In addition, a small number of women can develop uterine fistulas after problematic hysterectomy surgeries.
Following traumatic physical injuries, both sexes may experience fistula formation. Incidents like car accidents, heavy falls, and similar blunt-force traumas can cause ruptures or tears in various urogenital organs. Bone-fracture traumas can also cause fistula appearance, especially when the damage takes place in pelvic bones.
In addition to direct trauma, bacterial or viral infections can also bring about genitourinary fistulas. For example, urinary tract infections harm large numbers of people every year, and some of these infections can damage the linings and organs of this system.
Symptoms of Genitourinary Fistulas
The symptoms of genitourinary fistulas vary and often depend on where and why the fistulas appear. For example, bleeding fistulas may redden or otherwise discolor urine, while infections may cause milky or dark colored urine.
In both sexes, incontinence is a common symptom of genitourinary fistula appearance. In women who suffer from rectovaginal fistulas, fecal incontinence may accompany liquid incontinence.
To narrow down the causes of symptoms, doctors may perform a number of diagnostic tests. These can include:
If doctors confirm the existence of fistulas, they may use a range of treatment options that are designed for the needs of individual patients.
During initial visits, physicians seek to make acute patients comfortable. Once they put short-term symptom management steps in place, doctors take careful and detailed histories of their patients. These histories help doctors to narrow down the probable causes and locations of fistulas. Once initial histories are done, physicians perform more detailed tests of patients. These tests may include physical examinations, blood cultures, and x-ray scans.
After doctors diagnose fistulas, they use a range of surgical therapies to cure patients. These interventions may include:
Fistula plugs: These treatments use special plugs to seal fistula holes.
Tissue grafts: This treatment regimen uses compatible tissues to form flaps over fistula holes. Over time, the tissues heal and seal the openings.
Sphincter muscle repairs: These treatments aim to cure holes in the rectal region, and they are often valuable for sufferers of Crohn’s disease.