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Anal Abscess

What is an anal abscess?

Sometimes also referred to as a 'perianal abscess', an anal abscess can develop where infection causes pus to collect, which in turn creates a small pus-filled cavity near the anus.

What are the symptoms of an anal abscess?

Although an anal abscess can cause several symptoms, the most common symptom is a lump forming near the anus, generally accompanied with acute pain in the area. There may also be pus discharge from the area and in some cases pain when having a bowel movement. It is not unusual for an anal abscess to cause constipation and even a fever or a general sense of being unwell.

What causes an anal abscess?

Generally, it is a bacterial infection which causes a buildup of pus in glands in the anal canal - the last section of the bowel.  Some inflammatory bowel disorders can result in anal abscesses forming more often.

How is an anal abscess diagnosed?

An anal abscess is diagnosed via rectal examination. Other tests may be recommended at the same time to detect other conditions that may be related, such as sexually transmitted diseases, inflammatory bowel conditions, diverticular disease or colon cancer.

Surgery is generally the most appropriate treatment for an anal abscess. This involves surgical drainage, which drains the pus away. This procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic. Any pain related to the abscess goes away at this point, as it is the pressure of the pus in the abscess that causes the pain. In some cases, an anal fistula may also have formed, in which case further treatment may be required.