The most common type of abscess is a perianal abscess. This often appears as a painful boil-like swelling near the anus.
What is a perianal abscess?
An anal/perianal abscess is a cavity filled with pus found near the back passage (‘anus’). It is a common condition with over 10,000 admissions to hospital per year. If you have pain, tenderness, redness and/or a lump in the region of the anus you may be suffering from an abscess. You may also feel ill with a fever.
When the abscess has been treated, it usually heals up and causes no more trouble. Sometimes, it doesn’t fully heal indicating that an anal fistula may have formed.
Did you know?
That some abscesses can occur deep around the rectum, causing vague symptoms that may be difficult to diagnose? Often, a person with a deep abscess will experience only a fever and rectal pain related to the infection. Without a visible external manifestation of the abscess, a colorectal surgeon may need to diagnose the condition via a digital rectal exam.
What causes an abscess?
An abscess is caused by infection getting in to one of the glands that produces mucus to lubricate the anus.
How is an abscess treated?
If the infection is caught very early on, antibiotics may work. However, the majority of abscesses will require surgical drainage. This usually requires a general anaesthetic (put to sleep) and a short stay in hospital. It will usually take a few weeks for the abscess cavity (hole) that has been drained to fill up with scar tissue. Sometimes the cavity will require “packing” by a district nurse to help the healing process