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Anal / Rectal Abscess

Overview

An anal or rectal abscess is an infected cavity filled with pus found near the anus or rectum. Abscesses cause pain, swelling and sometimes a fever.

About 50% of abscesses become a fistula (a small tunnel from the rectum to the skin near the anus).

Diagnosis

Swelling around the anus and a constant, throbbing pain are the most common symptoms. Pain with bowel movements may be severe.

Other symptoms may include:

Treatment

Treatment of anal abscess usually requires surgical drainage, which can often be done in the office. Sometimes drainage in the operating room using a general anesthetic is required for deeper abscesses. Antibiotics are sometimes used in the treatment of anal abscesses.

About 50% of persons having an anal abscess will develop an anal fistula.ASCRS: Anal Abcess/Fistula

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