An anorectal abscess is a collection of pus in the area of the anus and rectum.
Common causes of anorectal abscess include:
The following factors increase your risk of an anorectal abscess:
The condition may occur in infants and toddlers who are still in diapers and who have a history of anal fissures.
Common symptoms are swelling around the anus and a constant, throbbing pain. Pain with bowel movements may be severe.
Other symptoms may include:
In infants, the abscess often appears as a swollen, red, tender lump at the edge of the anus. The infant may be fussy and irritable from discomfort. There are usually no other symptoms.
The problem rarely goes away on its own. Antibiotics alone usually cannot treat an abscess.
Treatment involves surgery to open and drain the abscess.
Drained abscesses are usually left open and no stitches are needed.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.
You may need stool softeners. Practice good hygiene. Eat a soft or liquid diet until the abscess has healed.
With prompt treatment, people with this condition usually do well. Infants and toddlers usually recover quickly.
Complications can occur when treatment is delayed.
Call your health care provider if:
Prevention or prompt treatment of sexually transmitted diseases may prevent an anorectal abscess from forming. Use condoms during intercourse, including anal sex, to prevent such infections.
In infants and toddlers, frequent diaper changes and proper cleaning during diaper changes can help prevent both anal fissures and abscesses.
Anal abscess; Rectal abscess; Perirectal abscess; Perianal abscess; anal gland abscess; Abscess - anorectal
Marcello PW. Diseases of the anorectum. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 125.
Nelson H. Anus. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 53.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2015, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.