Perirectal abscess

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is perirectal abscess?

A perirectal abscess is a pocket of pus – an infection that appears as a tender red lump, in the tissues around the rectum. The rectum is the last part of the bowel (intestine) that ends at the anus. This lump can grow large and become painful. This type of abscess happens most often in babies and children under a year of age. It may drain fluid (pus) on its own and then heal and disappear. An abscess that does not drain by itself may need to be drained in the office by the Pediatric Surgeon.

Without treatment you could get a tear or hole in your rectum or anus where BM 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 perirectal abscess?

Perirectal abscess can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of perirectal 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?

You should see the doctor if you have the followings:

  • High fever or shaking chills
  • Significant rectal/anal pain
  • Inability to have a bowel movement, or a painful bowel movement
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Any other unusual signs or symptoms that may indicate an emergency condition


What causes perirectal 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 perirectal abscess?

There are many risk factors for perirectal 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 perirectal 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 perirectal abscess treated?

Your treatment may change if your perirectal abscess does not heal. This is often decided after you have tests. You may have some of the following treatments alone or together.

  • Diet: 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. Also, do not use enemas or have anal sex.
  • Medicines: You may need antibiotic or anti-fungal medicine to help you fight infection caused bacteria. You may also be given stool softeners to keep you from getting constipated. Constipated means it is hard to 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.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

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

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

It is important to keep your bowel movements soft and regular. Eat foods high in fiber and drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses a day). If you are constipated, take a fiber supplement such as Metamucil®, Konsyl-D®, Citrucel®, Effersyllium®, or Hydrocil®. Prune juice or small doses of milk of magnesia may also be used.

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 25, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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