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Six week old baby has a rectovaginal fistula - anyone know about this?

(15 Posts)
KiwiKat Tue 21-Dec-10 23:09:04

My six week old daughter was diagnosed last night with a rectovaginal fistula, which explains why she's in agony when she poos. They've put her on a course of antibiotics, given us Calpol and told us that "these things tend to correct themselves" and to come back in a week to see how she's getting on. Correct themselves? Really? There is POO coming out of her VAGINA!

We weren't happy to just wait and see what happens, when she's in such pain and there's such a risk of further infection, so this morning got a referral to a specialist, but the earliest we can see a specialist is 6th January. The doctor wanted me to pick up the letter of referral next week - why should it take a WEEK to write a letter?! - but I persuaded her to have it ready by tomorrow.

I'm trying not to panic, so would really appreciate some advice - have anyone else's children experienced this, what was the treatment, and how are the kids doing now?

tomhardyismydh Tue 21-Dec-10 23:18:41

it is basicaly a hole, tear or leak from rectum to vagina and can cause infection as bacteria will pass from rectum to vagina, but like you said will normaly correct its self.

i would not panic over this at all. just a bit sad and uncomfertable

KiwiKat Wed 22-Dec-10 10:58:11

thanks tomhardy. still looking for more answers, though.

the specialist's secretary just rang to say 6th jan was def the earliest he could see her, and that he didn't think it was a fistula, as they're rare in children so young. but she couldn't suggest why else my dd would have poo coming from her vagina.

we're booked on Tuesday for a follow up visit at the hospital, but that's just in the children's ward, not with a specialist.

no one seems to care that she's in pain and in continued risk of reinfection.

just had a big cry, which i don't do very often - i feel so helpless. what else can i do?

PUMBA Wed 22-Dec-10 17:51:13

Hi where abouts in the uk are you ?? if you are near a children's hospital you could just take her to a and e, as they will have pead surgeons on site, while not technically an emergency anything in a young baby needs to be taken seriously !

If you are not near a pead unit then i think you may have to wait till Jan .

tomhardyismydh Wed 22-Dec-10 20:50:12

sorry to hear that kiwikat, I was just going to suggest to take her down to the childrens a&e department, just say she is very unsettled in pain etc and you are worried, they will see her and probably get her apt with consultant sooner.

tomhardyismydh Wed 22-Dec-10 20:52:15

i have known it in a slightly older baby than your dd, but that was caused by a tear after prolonged constipation and infection. It did heal its self after anti biotics.

RachelHRD Wed 22-Dec-10 22:50:29

Hi there
My now 10 month old daughter was diagnosed with imperforate anus and rectovaginal fistula when she was 10 days old. This means that she had no opening through her anus and her bowel had made the fistula opening within her labia. Does she have a functioning anus in addition to the fistula? Probably sounds like a silly question but the hospital where I gave birth didn't pick up that she had imperforate anus and it was only that I was concerned that her faeces seemed to be coming from her vagina which pushed the hospital to readmit us and refer us to St George's hospital in Tooting.
They really shouldn't leave it is she is in pain - I would either go to your Dr or to A&E and ask for a referral sooner. From what I know about fistulas I would be surprised if it would rectify itself and it could be that she was born with it - when did you first notice the problem? Either way she should be seen by a specialist sooner as I would imagine they would want to scan her to check the bowel formation.
Easier said than done but try not to worry and please feel free to message me if you need any further advice.
Rach x

pooka Wed 22-Dec-10 22:55:40

Oh poor you KK

It's terrifying and so wretchedly upsetting when there's any medical issue with one's tiny baby.

I agree with the previous posters who have suggested getting her seen maybe at A&E. Alternatively, is there any way you could get a private initial appointment, then returning back to NHS for follow ups? It sticks in my craw, but it might be a way of reassuring yourself?

KiwiKat Wed 22-Dec-10 23:58:56

thanks everyone for your input. rachel, how is your wee one doing now? such a hard thing for you all to go through. apologies for lack of caps, but i am typing this one-handed.

baby's left labia was red and swollen on sunday, so i took her to a&e, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed antibiotics. on monday the swelling had gone down, and when i let her have some time without her nappy, i noticed that poo was coming from both her anus and her vagina. i phoned a friend who's a nurse, who said it sounded like a fistula, so took her straight back to a&e. they had a look and confirmed that they could see a hole in the vaginal wall, and advised me to stay on the antibiotics then go back to the children's ward on tuesday to be checked.

i've been chasing specialists all day with no luck, and other than continuing the antibiotics and keeping the area as clean as possible, there really doesn't seem to be anything more i can do.

thanks again for your support and advice.

Teela Thu 23-Dec-10 00:05:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RachelHRD Thu 23-Dec-10 10:23:35

Sorry to hear you've had no luck with the specialists. You could try asking to speak to the Registrar of the consultant you are due to see in January they should be able to give you advice over the phone. Or try as others have suggested A&E of a childrens hospital if you have one nearby. If you are near Southampton they have colorectal specialists.
Thanks for asking after my daughter. She is doing well thx she had a colostomy at five weeks and has since had anorectaplasty to correct her 'plumbing' issues. Next step is a colostomy reversal so she can start using her new bottom.
Hope you get somewhere with the specialist - just hound the secretary until she lets you talk to someone!
Rach x

sugarbea Fri 24-Dec-10 17:15:13

My DD was born with a ano vestibular fistula. She was born with an imperforate anus and the majority of babies born with this have some sort of fistula. This avioded her having to have a colostomy as she could

After her first opperation to close the fistula and create the new anus she was later found to have a recto - vaginal fistula due to surgery trauma. She was pooing from her vagina to and they had to operate to close it which lead to a re do of the whole op.

I'm not sure if her condition affected how they treated the second fistula but i was lead to understand by the consultant that if the poo was coming through it needed closing because of the risk of infection.

Sorry if that sounded a bit scary, it's not life threatening but i'd make sure that your hospital is used to dealing with specialist cases..poor you and poor dd

All the best to your dd xx


My dd we've just moved from st georges to great ormond street. Are you under mr holmes?

sugarbea Fri 24-Dec-10 17:17:51

apologies for bad typing...wrapping at the same time

RachelHRD Fri 24-Dec-10 18:08:47

Hi there

Kiwikat I hope your daughter is doing OK and you have managed to speak to someone and get her referral brought forward.

Sugarbea - yes we are under Mr Holmes. I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience at SG. We have been happy with the treatment DD has received there especially as she was very poorly initially as the fistula wasn't coping with her poo - hence she had the colostomy. She also has a misplaced urethra so is under another consultant at SG for that and was also born with heart issues which have thankfully now rectified themselves.

Hope your DD is doing well - I will come over and join the Stoma thread at some point!!

Rach xx

Lexiesmum2018 Wed 16-Oct-19 02:30:09

My daughter lexie was born with gastrochisis, hurshprungs disease and Recto-vaginal Fistula. So basically she was born with her bowel on the outside of the body then we found out she had hurshprungs which ment that part of the bowel was dead and couldn't function so she has a colostomy bag and she had 7 surgeries to correct these issues. Fi ally we found out about the Recto-vaginal Fistula. This made her a 1 in 4 billion baby to have all of these problems at once as normally you get one or the other. We have been told that Recto-vaginal Fistula is dangerous as it can effect being able to have kids, the bowel not working properly after the correct and normal they correct it by giving the person a colostomy bag. My daughter has 3 more surgeries to go all 11 hours each to attempt to correct this with skin graphs but even then it is extremely unknown if it will work or not. I've decided to tell you this story about my daughter because this is her story about Recto-vaginal Fistula and every person is different and its alot harder when it's to do with a baby as it's most commen In older women. Every baby is different but this is her story and I hope it helps you in some way but just remember just because this is my daughter experience with it doesnt mean it will be yours xxx

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