Anal Abscess: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Originally posted on September 21, 2022 @ 9:49 pm

An accumulation of pus forms at the anus in the painful condition known as an anal abscess. Anal abscesses are the main cause of anal abscesses.

A perianal abscess is the most prevalent kind of abscess. This frequently manifests as a throbbing, boil-like enlargement close to the anus. It could be warm to the touch and have a crimson hue. Anal abscesses in deeper tissue are less frequent and might not be as noticeable.

The most common way to treat an anal abscess is to cut into it and drain the pus. This works for all types of anal abscesses.

A fistula is a complication that occurs in about 50% of people with an anal abscess. A fistula is a tiny tunnel that connects the abscess site to the skin in an unusual way.

An anal fistula can occasionally lead to chronic discharge. Recurrent anal abscesses may develop in different situations where the tunnel opening’s outside shuts down. Almost all anal fistulas must be surgically repaired.

Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess

Causes of Anal Abscesses

Numerous factors might lead to an anal abscess. These comprise:

  • An infected anal fissure, often known as a tear in the anal canal,
  • Infections caused by sexual contact
  • blocked auricles

Anal abscesses are at risk for the following:

  • Colitis
  • Intestinal inflammation such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes
  • Diverticulitis
  • Inflammation of the pelvis
  • The role of the receptive partner in anal intercourse
  • Prednisone and other drug usage

Using condoms during sexual activity, especially anal activity, can help prevent anal abscesses in adults. Babies and toddlers can avoid anal fistulas and perianal abscesses by having their diapers changed often and washed well after each change.

Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess

Symptoms and Signs of Anal Abscess

The following are frequently linked to superficial anal abscesses:

  • Constant, throbbing pain that gets worse when seated is the norm.
  • Puffiness, redness, and discomfort are all symptoms of skin irritation around the anus.
  • The pus-filled oozing
  • constipation or discomfort when utilizing the restroom.

There may also be a connection between deeper anal abscesses and

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise

Deep anal abscesses may have no other symptoms besides fever.

Diagnosis of Anal Abscesses

Anal abscesses are often diagnosed based only on a clinical assessment, which may include a digital rectal exam. But for some patients, further examinations to check for

  • Infections caused by sexual contact
  • intestinal inflammation.
  • Differinous illness
  • Breast cancer

An exam might occasionally be performed while the patient is sedated. A CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound may also be ordered by the doctor.

Treatment of  Anal Abscess

Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess

Early surgical drainage is crucial, ideally before the abscess breaks out. Local anesthetics can be used at a doctor’s office to drain superficial anal abscesses. Anesthesiologists may be needed to help with large or deeper anal abscesses during hospitalization.

Most patients receive prescriptions for painkillers following the operation. Antibiotics are typically unnecessary for healthy individuals. However, some people, such as those who have diabetes or lowered immunity, might need to take antibiotics.

Fistula surgery can occasionally be done concurrently with abscess surgery. But four to six weeks after an abscess is drained, fistulas frequently appear. Sometimes a fistula won’t develop for months or even years. As a result, fistula surgery is typically a distinct treatment that is done in a hospital or as an outpatient.

Painkillers can be used to manage discomfort following surgery for an abscess or a fistula. Only a small amount of time lost from work or school is what people should anticipate.

The typical recommendation is for patients to take three to four warm water (sitz) baths a day to treat the affected area. To reduce the discomfort associated with bowel movements, stool softeners may be advised. Some people may be advised to use a gauze pad or small pad to keep the drainage from ruining their clothes.

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Following-surgery complications may consist of:

Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess
  • Infection
  • Anterior fissure
  • Return of an abscess
  • Scarring

It’s uncommon that the issue would recur after an anal abscess or fistula has properly healed. But if you don’t want to do that, it’s important to follow the advice of your doctor or colon and rectal surgeon.

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