Anal Abscesses

A perirectal abscess is a collection of pus in the deep tissues surrounding the anus. By contrast, a perianal abscess is a shallower collection of pus under the skin surrounding the anus; however, both are sometimes described as an anal abscess. 

Both types of abscesses need immediate medical attention; however, a perirectal abscess usually is the more severe infection. A delay in treatment may cause serious worsening of the condition and unnecessary complications. 

Caring doctor holding patient's hand

How Does An Anal Abscess Develop?

Perirectal and perianal abscesses are thought to develop from the glands surrounding the anus; on occasion, perianal abscesses may develop from infected skin adjacent to the anus. Glands may plug up, usually leading to bacterial infection.

When the glands fill with pus, they may burst inward, releasing their infected contents into the spaces around the rectum and anus. This pus causes an abscess, or pus collection, in the spaces surrounding the rectum or anus. The anal abscess may enlarge, causing pain, fever, and difficulty with bowel movements.

What Causes Anal Abscess?

An anal abscess can be caused by a variety of reasons, which include: a blocked anal gland, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or an infected anal fissure. Some other risk factors include: Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, which are inflammatory bowel diseases that cause the body to attack healthy tissue.

How Do You Treat An Anal Abscess?

While a less serious anal abscess may heal on its own through a sit bath or natural home remedies, it is recommended to see a specialist due to risk of infection from puss-like symptoms that are usually a sign of infection. Abscesses are usually a sign of bacterial infection that have formed in one place and if it is not treated, it will likely spread to other parts of the body, and in this case, the groin and rectal area.