4th December, 20202 min read

Perianal abscess

Medical reviewer:
Dr Ann Nainan
Dr Ann Nainan
Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Last reviewed: 01/12/2020
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

A perianal abscess is a painful pus-filled lump in or near the back passage (anus). It’s often caused by a blockage and infection of a gland in the area.

Symptoms of a perianal abscess

If you have a perianal abscess, you may notice a pain in your bottom. This pain may come and go.

You may also notice you have a fever and feel generally unwell. And sometimes a fluid may leak from your back passage if the abscess bursts on its own.

See a doctor if you have, or think you may have, a perianal abscess.

How is a perianal abscess diagnosed?

A doctor will usually need to examine you to diagnose a perianal abscess. They can do this by looking at your back passage and doing a digital rectal exam – putting a gloved finger into your anus and feeling for lumps or other changes.

You may also need imaging tests, like an MRI or a CT scan, if they think you have an abscess deeper in your anus.

Treatment for a perianal abscess

A perianal abscess is unlikely to get better on its own and will usually need medical treatment. But there are a few things you can try to help manage your symptoms while waiting to see a doctor. These include:

  • not squeezing or draining pus from the abscess yourself
  • keeping the area clean
  • sitting in a shallow warm bath
  • taking simple painkillers to help with any pain and reduce inflammation –peak to a pharmacist for advice

A doctor can treat a perianal abscess by arranging a small procedure to drain pus from the abscess and prescribing antibiotics to treat any infection.


  1. Perianal and perirectal abscess [Internet]. Uptodate.com. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available here.
  2. UpToDate [Internet]. Uptodate.com. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available here.
Was this article helpful?

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.