Definition

An anal abscess is an infection around the anus that began in a mucous-secreting gland in the anal canal. An anal fistula typically is the result of a previous abscess. It is a tunnel connecting the anal gland, from which the abscess arose, to the skin where the abscess was drained.

Causes

An abscess results when a small gland just inside the anus becomes infected from bacteria or stool trapped in the gland. Certain conditions—constipation, diarrhea, colitis, or other intestinal inflammation—can sometimes make these infections more likely.

Symptoms

Abscesses are generally accompanied by intense anal pain and swelling. Fever is possible.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Drainage of the abscess, either on its own or with an incision, relieves the pain and pressure.

The sooner the patient is seen after the onset of symptoms, the sooner the patient will begin to feel relief of pain. Additionally, the longer the abscess is left untreated, the more likely it is to form into a fistula and the greater the risk for additional complications.

If you suspect you have an anal abscess, we recommend you call the office and tell the receptionist that you are in acute pain—we make every effort to promptly see you within 24 hours so that you can be relieved of this problem as quickly as possible.

Visit the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website for more information