Anal Abscess & Anal Fistula
An abscess is a collection of pus in any localised space in the body. An anal abscess is one that occurs in the tissues around the anus.
A number of small glands are normally present between the inner and outer layers of the anal sphincter muscle. Bacteria may lodge in these glands, setting up an infection. An abscess develops from this infective process. This may progress to various areas around the anal canal to involve the anal sphincter muscle and surrounding tissues. The abscess may enlarge and burst through the overlying skin or may require drainage by surgical treatment.
As the amount of pus in an abscess increases, the pressure within it rises. This produces constant throbbing pain which continues until the pus escapes. Other symptoms are fever and sweating.
The pus is drained from the abscess cavity by making an opening through the overlying skin. This may be done under local anaesthesia or general anaesthetic in a hospital or day surgery. A large abscess may require hospital admission, intravenous antibiotics as well as surgical drainage. Antibiotics may be used to control the spread of the infection, but antibiotics alone will not cure an abscess. Pus always needs drainage.