Treatments for a fistula depend on the location and severity, but they can include a special diet, medication and surgery, according to About.com. With proper treatment, a fistula is curable and should not return once the area has healed.
Medical treatments for fistulas typically include antibiotics such as Flagyl, immunosuppresants such as 6-MP and TNF-inhibitors such as Remicade, notes About.com. Changes in diet may also help to treat a fistula depending on its location. For example, an enteral diet can help enterocutaneous, enterovesicular and enterovaginal fistulas. An enteral diet includes liquid nutrition that a person receives through a feeding tube or by mouth. This liquid replaces solid food, and as there is no solid food, less stool passes, helping to heal the fistula.
If a fistula does not respond to medication or diet, the patient may require surgery, explains About.com. If the fistula is in a healthy part of the intestine, a doctor can remove it without removing any part of the intestine. However, if a fistula is in a diseased area of the intestine, a surgery known as a resection may be necessary. A resection may require a temporary ileostomy, which allows stool to pass through, giving the intestine time to heal. This surgery is most common with enterovesicular and rectovaginal fistulas.