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4th December, 20202 min read

Perianal abscess

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

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In this article

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.

References

  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.
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