Abscess or infection is a common phenomenon that generally occurs in the hair roots of the skin or at the mouths of the glands. When the infected spot erupts and becomes an abscess, it ruptures and discharges its contents, which are basically pus and then the abscess is healed. When the abscess occurs in the mouth of the rectum, it is called the anal abscess.
What is Anal Abscess?
When an abscess is adjacent to the anus or rectum and is recognised as a collection of pus, it is known as the anal abscess.
Anal abscess is an extremely painful and embarrassing condition that makes the patients hesitant to talk about it to the doctors and as a result, the condition worsens. However, they are just a result or consequence of the infection in small anal glands and can be treated easily. The abscess in the anal region needs to be treated at its earliest as delay may lead to painful fistulas and if it isn’t broken open, it might require surgery.
What are the Symptoms of Anal Abscess?
The anal abscess can easily be identified with its symptoms and they are:
- Severe, constant and throbbing pain
- Discharge of pus from anus is a symptom of Anal Abscess
- Redness in the rectum can also be a symptom of Anal Abscess
- Hardness of anal tissue
- Fatigue, fever, chills, night sweats and malaise
- Irritation of the skin
- Rectal bleeding.
What are the Causes of Anal Abscess and What are its Risk Factors?
This anal abscess is a disease that has its roots related to many other diseases. An infected anal fissure and a blocked anal gland are the common causes of Anal Abscess. However, apart from these general causes of Anal Abscess, there are other causes too and they are:
- A sexually transmitted infection or other sexual activities like anal sex can cause anal abscess
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are inflammatory bowel diseases
- Medication such as chemotherapy drugs or prednisone or corticosteroid medicines
- HIV or AIDS or other diseases associated with the immune system
- Tearing of the lining between peri-anal skin and anal canal can cause anal abscess
- Ruptured anal haematoma can also be a cause for Anal Abscess
- Dorsal fissure
- Stricture of sigmoid colon
- Acute appendicitis
- Pelvic infection.
E. coli bacteria have been a common cause for anal abscess for many years. However, in the recent time, it has also been seen that the Staphylococcus bacteria are also potential of causing can cause anal abscess. Hence, to diagnose the proper reason or cause of can cause anal abscess, microscopic examinations are always done, so that the right antibiotic treatment course can be determined for the specific cases.
Those, who have had cancer of the rectum, or suffering from the immune system disorders and are suffering from diseases such as syphilis and Chlamydia, are at higher risk along with these above factors. Even children, who are not cleaned properly after diaper changes, can develop can cause anal abscess. The risk factors also include:
- Diabetic patients
- People within the age group of 20 to 60, with an average age of 40 years
- The male to female risk factor ratio is 2:1.
Researches and studies have notified that 31% of the patients suffering from this disease have developed a fistula, as a consequence of drainage of perianal abscess. In case fistula occurs, it would require a surgery. Otherwise, with a prompt and on time treatment, can cause anal abscess gets cured and the patients can do well within a few days of the treatment.
Diagnosis of Anal Abscess:
The symptoms of anal abscess can well define and diagnose whether it is an anal abscess or not. Usually the digital screening or examination of the rectum or anus is done to diagnose it. However, in some cases, there are additional tests that are run to know the cause and also its condition and they are CT scan, ultrasound and MRI scan. This is mostly done to determine the proper treatment plan. Another test called Proctosigmoidoscopy is also done to check, if there has been any further complication caused by this disease.
Complications Resulting from Anal Abscess:
Fistula in the anus that is an abnormal collection between the anus and other structures are quite common complications that usually occur in almost 50% of patients suffering anal abscess. The other complications of anal abscess include:
- Sepsis or infection spreading into the blood
- Continuous pain and recurrence of the pus release
How is Anal Abscess Treated?
Surgical drainage is the most prominent treatment procedure for Anal Abscess. This is done through an incision near the anus. To assist the healing of the incision of the drainage process, antibiotics are given. In case the anal abscess has led to fistula, it would require a surgery. In 50% of cases, the fistulas have chance of recurring and hence, additional home remedies and care must be taken to prevent the recurrence.
Home Remedies and Preventive Measures for Anal Abscess:
Complete cure and treatment of anal abscess is not possible with the home remedies. However with these measures, it is quite effective to prevent the recurrence of anal abscess. The home remedies that can help prevent the recurrence of Anal Abscess are:
- Sitz Bath to Treat Anal Abscess: Sitz bath or warm bath in which the buttocks are immersed in warm water that is brought up to the temperature of 40 degree centigrade. Adding essential oils to this water will relieve the pain associated with anal abscess. Adding Epsom salt, betadine and other antiseptic lotion to this water can also be a useful home remedy for anal abscess.
- Diet: If you are suffering from Anal Abscess, then it is important to avoid getting constipation. Diet should be supported with slippery elm tea, high fibrous food which helps in forming mucus that will assist in smooth bowel movement.
- Spicy food with preservatives must be avoided by patients suffering from anal abscess.
- Saturated coconut clarified butter, garlic and turmeric are extremely good home remedy as anti-inflammatory and can heal the pain that is caused by Anal Abscess.
- Excessive cleaning should be avoided as it can cause itching and inflammation.
- Using a homemade semi-solid paste with mustard oil, Manuka honey and turmeric and applying it on the abscess is useful home remedy for anal abscess.
- Children suffering from anal abscess should stay away from dairy products as they can cause constipation.
- For children, the diapers should be changed frequently and cleaned thoroughly.
- It is important to use condoms and avoiding anal sex as a precautionary measure to avoid getting anal abscess.