Many colon and rectal issues are difficult to discuss, and many people do not feel comfortable talking about these problems even with a medical professional. Anal abscesses and fistulas are incredibly common, though many people feel embarrassed to admit that they contend with these problems.
Are you unsure if you have an anal abscess? Are you trying to avoid fistulas? Keep reading to see how you can manage these issues.
What Is an Anal Abscess?
An anal abscess is a pus-filled cavity that becomes inflamed and painful, perhaps resulting in an anal fistula after several weeks. Abscesses can make your daily routine more difficult, especially when they make it painful to use the bathroom or sit down.
Anybody can contract an anal abscess, even toddlers and small children. Parents need to look for symptoms, including changes in bowel movements, to recognize abscesses in their children.
What Causes Anal Abscesses?
Typically, an anal abscess is the result of an infection of the internal glands around the anus. The infection could be caused by fecal matter and other types of bacteria, especially after it enters a cut or tear in the skin. Blocked anal glands can also cause an abscess. Sexually transmitted infections can also lead to an anal abscess.
Issues like intestinal inflammation, Crohn's Disease, and colitis could put you at higher risk for an anal abscess. Additionally, you are at higher risk for abscesses if you have had them in the past.
What Are the Symptoms of an Anal Abscess?
The most common symptoms associated with anal abscesses include red skin, intense pain, swelling, and even fever. In some cases, patients also experience rectal bleeding and difficulty urinating.
You can also use your hand to feel around your bottom. You might feel a physical lump right at the opening. In the cases of deep abscesses, you may not feel anything. The symptoms may be more internal.
Some patients experience changes in their bowel movements. Some experience diarrhea, while others live with constipation. Abdominal pain is also common in conjunction with these symptoms.
What Treatment Is Available for an Anal Abscess?
You should seek treatment for an anal abscess as soon as you notice any symptoms, especially if you have a history of them. Patients with diabetes and immunity issues should consult with a doctor right away. Anal abscesses do not typically go away without treatment.
The treatment for an anal abscess may include draining it through a small incision. The doctor wants to drain the pus before a possible eruption. After your treatment, the doctor may prescribe pain medication to allow you to return to your daily routine.
If the abscess culminates in an anal fistula, the doctor may perform surgery. Surgery is also beneficial if the abscess has led to other complications that result in additional abscesses. Depending on your condition after surgery, you may be in some pain, and you may need to take some time off work to recover.
Following treatment for anal abscesses, your doctor may have recommendations to prevent the issue from occurring again in the future. Treatment typically includes stool softeners and sitz baths.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Anal Abscesses?
Diagnosis begins with an examination of your physical and medical history, followed by a physical examination of the area. The doctor may perform additional procedures if he or she suspects other issues, like cancer, diverticulitis, or a sexually transmitted infection.
Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates understand your pain. We have experience and knowledge in this area, and we can help you identify anal fistulas and abscesses. Call us today to set up an appointment with a professional.