An anal, or rectal abscess occurs when a cavity in the anus becomes filled with pus. Most anal abscesses are a result of infection from small anal glands. It causes extreme pain, fatigue, rectal discharge, and fever.
About 50% of patients with an anal abscess will develop a complication called a fistula. A fistula is a small tunnel that makes an abnormal connection between the site of the abscess and the skin.
In some cases, an anal fistula causes persistent drainage. In other cases, where the outside of the tunnel opening closes, the result may be recurrent anal abscesses. Surgery is needed to cure almost all anal fistulas.
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Before Anal Abscess Treatment
Causes of analabscess
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.
Who is at the risk of Anal Abscess?
Certain people are more likely to develop perirectal and perianal abscesses, including those with the following medical conditions:
. AIDS or HIV infection with low white blood cell counts
. Crohn's disease
. Persons on medications that suppress the body's immune system, such as steroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone), or those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
. Placement of foreign bodies into the anus
. Sexually transmitted diseases
. Anal fissures
. Use of the medication prednisone or other steroids
. Anal sex, which can increase the risk of anal abscesses in both men and women
For adults, using condoms during sexual intercourse, including anal intercourse, can help prevent anal abscesses. For infants and toddlers, frequent diaper changes and proper cleaning during diaper changes can help prevent anal fistulas and perianal abscesses.
Signs and symptoms of perirectal and perianal abscesses include the following:
. Pain in the anal area or buttocks
. Pus drainage near the anus
. A lump in the anal area
. Painful bowel movements
. Lower abdominal pain
. Swelling in the anal area or buttocks
. Night sweats
Diagnosis of Anal Abscesses
Usually, a clinical evaluation -- including a digital rectal exam -- is sufficient to diagnose an anal abscess. But some patients may require additional tests to screen for:
. Sexually transmitted infections
. Inflammatory bowel disease
. Diverticular disease
. Rectal cancer
In rare cases, an examination may be done under anesthesia. The doctor may also ask for an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI.
Complications after surgery
. Anal fissure
. An abscess returning
Ways to prevent anal abscesses
There isn’t much known about how to prevent anal abscess. But there are some steps you can take, including:
. Protection against STIs and prompt treatment is important for any infection.
. Condom use, especially during anal sex, is key in preventing STIs that may cause anal abscesses.
. Good hygiene and cleanliness in the anal area is an important safeguard for both children and adults.
Anal abscesses can cause complications, but they’re treatable. Understand the risk factors and make sure to closely monitor and manage any health conditions that may increase risk. If you notice anal problems, contact your doctor to get treatment and to prevent them from becoming worse.
During Anal Abscess Treatment
Types of rectal abscess
Depending upon their anatomic location, rectal abscesses are classified into 4 types (this classification is important for the treating doctor and maybe difficult to understand as a patient):
. Perianal: Most common type
. Ischiorectal: May spread to the opposite side to form a horseshoe abscess
. Intersphincteric: Extremely painful
. Supralevator: Least common type
Treatment of Anal Abscesses
Prompt surgical drainage is important, preferably before the abscess erupts. Superficial anal abscesses can be drained in a doctor's office using a local anesthetic. Large or deeper anal abscesses may require hospitalization and the assistance of an anesthesiologist.
After the procedure, most people are prescribed medications for pain relief. For otherwise healthy people, antibiotics are usually not needed. Antibiotics may be required, though, for some people, including those with diabetes or decreased immunity.
Sometimes, fistula surgery can be performed at the same time as abscess surgery. However, fistulas often develop four to six weeks after an abscess is drained. Sometimes a fistula may not occur until months or even years later. So fistula surgery is usually a separate procedure that can be performed on an outpatient basis or with a short hospital stay.
After abscess or fistula surgery, discomfort is usually mild and can be controlled with pain medications. People can expect to lose only a minimal amount of time from work or school.
People are usually advised to soak the affected area in a warm water (sitz) bath three or four times per day. Stool softeners may be recommended to ease the discomfort of bowel movements. Some people may be advised to wear a gauze pad or mini-pad to prevent the drainage from soiling their clothes.
After an anal abscess or fistula has properly healed, it's unlikely that the problem will come back. To prevent one from doing so, however, it's important to follow the advice of your doctor or colon and rectal surgeon.
Most of the pain that was caused by your abscess will probably go away right after surgery. But you may have some mild pain in your anal area from the incision for several days after the surgery. Most people can go back to work or their normal routine 1 or 2 days after surgery. It will probably take about 2 to 3 weeks for your abscess to completely heal.
Most people get better without any problems. But sometimes a tunnel can form between the old abscess and the outside of the body. This is called a fistula. Your doctor will check for this about 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. If you develop a fistula, the doctor will do surgery to repair the fistula.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for yourself at home?
. Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
. Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
. Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
. Most people are able to return to work 1 or 2 days after surgery.
. You may shower. Let water run over the abscess area. This will help the abscess heal. Pat your anal area dry with a towel when you are done.
. You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
. Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
. Eat a low-fibre diet for a couple days or as your doctor suggests. It is best to eat many small meals throughout the day. Add high-fibre foods a little at a time.
. You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.
. Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
. If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
. Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
. If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
. If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
. If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
. Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
. Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
. Incision care
. Wash your anal area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.
. After a bowel movement, use a baby wipe or take a shower or sitz bath to gently clean the anal area.
. If your doctor put gauze in your abscess during surgery, follow his or her instructions about when to remove it.
. Other instructions
. Place a maxi pad or gauze in your underwear to absorb drainage from your abscess while it heals.
. Sit in 8 to 10 centimetres of warm water (sitz bath) for 15 to 20 minutes 3 times a day. Do this as long as you have pain in your anal area.
Apply ice several times a day for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
. Support your feet with a small step stool when you sit on the toilet. This helps flex your hips and places your pelvis in a squatting position. This can make bowel movements easier after surgery.
. Try lying on your stomach with a pillow under your hips to decrease swelling.
A blocked anal gland, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or an infected anal fissure can cause anal abscesses. Some other risk factors include: Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, which are inflammatory bowel diseases that cause the body to attack healthy tissue. diabetes.
2Can rectal abscess heal on its own?
Fortunately, superficial fissures usually heal quickly with medical treatment, and most symptoms disappear within a few days to a couple of weeks. Anal abscess - An anal abscess sometimes drains on its own, although it is always safer for a doctor to evaluate the problem.
3How long does it take for a rectal abscess to heal?
about 2 to 3 weeks
But you may have some mild pain in your anal area from the incision for several days after the surgery. Most people can go back to work or their normal routine 1 or 2 days after surgery. It will probably take about 2 to 3 weeks for your abscess to completely heal. Most people get better without any problems.
4Can perianal abscess be treated without surgery?
Many naturally start to drain and heal, but some may need treatment with frequent baths and antibiotics. Others may need to be treated with a small operation. Some perianal abscesses may not heal completely, with or without surgery. This can cause a tiny opening to develop where the abscess had been draining.
5Can an abscess go away without draining?
Some small skin abscesses may drain naturally and get better without the need for treatment. ... If a skin abscess isn't drained, it may continue to grow and fill with pus until it bursts, which can be very painful and can cause the infection to spread or recur.
6Is a perianal abscess serious?
Most anal abscesses are a result of infection from small anal glands. The most common type of abscess is a perianal abscess. This often appears as a painful boil-like swelling near the anus. ... About 50% of patients with an anal abscess will develop a complication called a fistula.
7What are the first signs of an abscess?
Signs of a skin abscess can include:
a smooth swelling under your skin that can feel hard or firm.
pain and tenderness in the affected area.
warmth and redness in the affected area.
a visible build-up of white or yellow pus under the skin in the affected area.
a high temperature (fever)
8How do you get rid of an abscess at home?
Abscess Treatment: Self-Care at Home
If the abscess is small (less than 1 cm or less than a half-inch across), applying warm compresses to the area for about 30 minutes 4 times daily may help.
Do not attempt to drain the abscess by squeezing or pressing on it.
9Can you die from an abscess?
It's not so much that you'll die of pain, of course, but dentists and research confirm that an untreated abscess can infect other parts of the body, either through the bones or the bloodstream. Most people won't die from a toothache, but it's a condition that if left untreated can lead to the worst: a fatal result.
10Is a perianal abscess an emergency?
Anal Abscess Facts
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.