Definition

What is perianal abscess?

A perianal abscess is (simply) a collection of pus, outside the anus.  Infection of an anal fissure, sexually transmitted infections, and blocked perianal glands are all thought to be inciting factors.  The abscess usually begins when bacteria enters through a tear in the lining of the rectum or anus. Most often, this occurs between the internal and external sphincters (intersphincteric abscess), where the perianal glands are located.  As the abscess increases in size, most will follow the plane of least resistance and spread towards the surface, creating a perianal abscess.

Without treatment you could get a tear or hole in your rectum or anus where Bowel Movement could get caught. Also, without treatment the infection may also spread to other parts of your body and make you very sick. If you are not treated, the abscess can keep coming back if the cause of it is not fixed.

How common is perianal abscess?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of perianal abscess?

A perirectal abscess is a lump that can be felt in the tissues near or around the rectum. The lump is tender and firm, and usually moves when pushed on. You may also have rectal pain and a fever. If you can see the abscess on the skin, it is usually red, swollen, and tender when touched.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes perianal abscess?

A perirectal abscess is caused by bacteria. Bacteria may enter the skin through a tear in the skin. You can get tears in the skin if you are constipated. Being constipated means it is hard for you to have a bowel movement. Pushing too hard can cause the tissue in the rectum to tear. Injury to the rectum, such as using enemas or having anal sex can also cause the tissue to tear. You may be more likely to get this problem if you have diabetes or are on steroid medicine.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for perianal abscess?

There are many risk factors for perianal abscess, such as:

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is perianal abscess diagnosed?

You may need one or more of the following tests to help care givers plan your treatment.

  • Anoscopy: This test lets caregivers look inside your anus and rectum. Petroleum jelly is put onto a short, plastic or metal tube. The tube is then gently pushed into your anus and up the rectum. Your caregiver can take samples of BOWEL MOVEMENT to be sent to a lab for tests. This helps him find the cause of your problem.
  • Colonoscopy: This is a test used to look at the part of your intestine called the colon. A tube with a light on the end is gently put into your anus. It is then pushed into the colon. Your caregiver can then look inside the colon to find the cause of your problem.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This is a test to look at the parts of your intestine called the sigmoid and the rectum. Both are the lower parts of your bowel near the anus. A tube with a light on the end is gently pushed into your anus. It is then pushed into the bowel. Your caregiver can then look inside the sigmoid and rectum to find the cause of your problem.

 

How is perianal abscess treated?

Your treatment may change if your perirectal abscess does not heal. This is often decided after you have tests. As for virtually any abscess, the primary treatment is prompt incision and drainage of the abscess.  Secondary treatment would include the use of antibiotics (however, their use as primary therapy alone is unwarranted).  Their adjunct use is especially important for those with increased risk factors, as mentioned above.  You may have some of the following treatments alone or together.

  • Medicines: You may need antibiotic or anti-fungal medicine to help you fight infection caused by bacteria. You may also be given stool softeners to keep you from getting constipated. Constipated means it is hard have a bowel movement. Stool softeners make your bowel movement softer so you do not need to strain when having a bowel movement.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery to have the abscess opened and drained of the pus. Depending on its location, the procedure may take place in an outpatient setting.  Deeper abscesses may require surgery with appropriate anesthesia

The expectations following treatment is very good, particularly with prompt treatment.  Complications include systemic infection, anal fistula formation, recurrence, and scarring.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage perianal abscess?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with perianal abscess:

  • Eat foods high in fibers to keep from becoming constipated. This will make it easier to have a bowel movement and help to keep from getting more tears in your rectum.
  • Do not use enemas or have anal sex.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 4, 2017 | Last Modified: August 4, 2017

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