Anorectal abscess

Anorectal abscess. It is defined as a collection of pus in the area of ​​the anus and rectum .


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  • 1 Causes, incidence, and risk factors
  • 2 Symptoms
  • 3 Signs and tests
  • 4 Treatment
  • 5 Expectations (prognosis)
  • 6 Complications
  • 7 Situations Requiring Medical Assistance
  • 8 Prevention
  • 9 Alternative names
  • 10 Source

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Common causes of anorectal abscess include:

  • Blocked gland in the area.
  • Infection of an anal fissure.
  • Sexually transmitted infection.

Deep rectal abscesses can be caused by intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease . The following factors increase the risk of an anorectal abscess:

  • Anal sex .
  • Chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer.
  • Diabetes .
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).
  • Use of medications such as prednisone .
  • Weakened immune system (such as from HIV / AIDS ).

This condition can occur in infants and young children who are still wearing diapers and who have a history of anal fissures.


Swelling around the anus and constant throbbing pain are the most common symptoms. Pain with bowel movements can be severe. Other symptoms can include:

  • Constipation
  • Pus discharge from the rectum
  • Fatigue and malaise
  • Fever, cold sweats, and chills
  • Red, tender, swollen lump or nodule at the edge of the anus
  • Pain associated with bowel movements
  • Hardened and painful tissue

In babies, the abscess often appears as a tender, red, swollen lump on the edge of the anus. The baby may appear fussy and irritable from the discomfort, but there are usually no other symptoms.

Signs and tests

A rectal exam can confirm the presence of an anorectal abscess, and a proctosigmoidoscopy can be performed to rule out other conditions. In rare cases, a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound may be needed to determine where the collection of pus is located.


The problem rarely goes away on its own. Treatment involves surgery to open and empty the abscess.

  • The surgery is done using local anesthesia, along with conscious sedation or spinal anesthesia. The surgery is an outpatient procedure and you will go home the same day.
  • After surgery, you will need warm sitz baths (sitting in a hot tub). This can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, as well as make the abscess easier to clean.

Empty abscesses are usually left open and without sutures. The doctor may prescribe pain relievers and antibiotics. You may need stool softeners. Practice good hygiene and eat a soft or liquid diet until the abscess has healed.

Expectations (prognosis)

People with this condition generally recover with prompt treatment. Babies and young children generally recover very quickly. Complications tend to occur when treatment is delayed.


  • Anal fistula
  • Generalized infection (sepsis)
  • Ongoing pain
  • Reappearance of problems (recurrence)
  • Scars

Situations that require medical assistance

Check with your doctor if:

  • You notice a rectal discharge, pain, or other symptoms of an anorectal abscess.
  • You develop a fever, chills, or other new symptoms after being treated for this condition.


Prompt treatment or prevention of sexually transmitted diseases can prevent this cause of anorectal abscesses. Use condoms during sexual intercourse, including anal sex, to prevent such infections. Frequent diaper changes and proper cleanliness when changing them will help prevent both anal fissures and perianal abscesses in infants and young children.

Alternative names

Anal abscess; Rectal abscess; Perirectal abscess; Perianal abscess; Anal gland abscess; Abscess of the anus and rectum


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