After hearing so many testimonies of multiple surgeries and pain, I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it could possibly help others find relief. I have been healed without surgery and this was verified by my colon rectal surgeon.
I want to start by specifying that my diagnosed fistula was the result of a hemmorhoidectomy, and not caused by Chron's or other digestive disorders. I do believe that it is important to eliminate the source of the infection to avoid re-occurrence. So my story may be only partially helpful to those with digestive disorders that are at the root cause of their problem.
I was diagnosed with a fistula during the follow up visits with the colon-rectal surgeon who performed my hemmorhoidectomy. I was obviously extremely disappointed, and I subsequently scheduled a visit with another colon-rectal surgeon who is rated in the top 1% of his field by US News and World Reports for a second opinion. He gave me the same diagnosis: fistula, and surgery was scheduled with a tentative date.
I found a few small studies that indicated Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was effective in healing similar conditions. I want to note here that the data set is extremely small, but to avoid surgery I was willing to try it:
For those considering attempting this, it is important to note that not all Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers are the same, nor are they all effective for this type of treatment. The most common chambers available are the "Soft Shell" type which cannot produce pressures above 1.5 [ATA]--DO NOT USE THE SOFT SHELL TYPE. The soft shell version has zero recorded effectiveness in treating fistula . The studies indicate pressures were used in excess of 2.0 [ATA] which require the use of the "hard shell" type which unfortunately is much more expensive.
My personal experience was Forty (2) hour sessions in a hard shell chamber at 2.0 [ATA]. I did these sessions mostly 6 days a week and couple of 5 day weeks. I really did not see improvements that were substantial until after about the 20th session. I should add here that in the beginning I did use in conjuction with HBOT an Infrared Sauna nearly 7 days a week fr 40 min-1hr a day. This raised my core body temp to ~100 deg F. to help fight infection. The swollen fistula area began to shrink in size during this time, and when it had reduced in size to not being noticeable I stopped the sauna sessions.
After all of this, my visit to the Surgeon resulted in his acknowledgement of the improvement and declared that surgery was no longer necessary. He was not willing to credit the HBOT with the healing, and said it just "healed on its own". Ironically he told me on his first diagnosis of the fistula where surgery was scheduled: "These things dont heal on their own". I can only say that before HBOT it was not healing on its own, and with HBOT it has healed completely.