A fistula is an abnormal connection between two separate parts of the body. The several types of urinary fistulas include:
- Vesicovaginal Fistula: fistula between the urinary tract and the vagina
- Vesicouterine Fistula: fistula between the bladder and the uterus
- Urethrovaginal Fistula: fistula between the urethra and the vagina
- Ureterovaginal Fistula: fistula between the ureter and the vagina
- Colovesical Fistula: fistula between the colon (bowel) and the bladder
- Rectovaginal Fistula: fistula between the rectum and the vagina
Fistulas are most often caused by injury to the organs in question, either during surgery or from trauma; they may also result from infection, cancer, or radiation.
Symptoms from fistulas vary dramatically. They vary depending on where the abnormal connection or opening occurs but can include:
- Constant urine leakage from the vagina
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Blood or gas with urination
- Abdominal pain
While some small, early fistulas can be treated with a catheter, most fistulas will require surgery to fix the undesired opening or connection between two organs.