Toilet hygiene is very crucial. It is important that you wipe yourself properly and also wash your hands well afterwards. This is is because you do not want to give bacteria a chance to find their way into your sensitive places. When they do get their way into the anus then there is a high possibility of you getting an infection called anal abscess.
An anal abscess is an infected cavity filled with pus found near the anus or rectum. Ninety percent of abscesses are the result of an acute infection in the internal glands of the anus. Occasionally, bacteria, fecal material or foreign matter can clog an anal gland and tunnel into the tissue around the anus or rectum, where it may then collect in a cavity called an abscess.
An anal fistula (also commonly called fistula-in-ano) is frequently the result of a previous or current anal abscess. This occurs in up to 50% of patients with abscesses. Normal anatomy includes small glands just inside the anus. The fistula is the tunnel that forms under the skin and connects the clogged infected glands to an abscess. A fistula can be present with or without an abscess and may connect just to the skin of the buttocks near the anal opening.
Since you now know that there is a risk of getting this infection it is important that you know the causes. This will guide you on what you should stop doing or what you should be doing instead so as to minimize the chances of getting the infection.
A blocked anal gland, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or an infected anal fissure can cause anal abscesses. Some other risk factors for anal abscesses include:
Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which are inflammatory bowel diseases that cause the body to attack healthy tissue
a compromised immune system due to illnesses like HIV or AIDS
anal sex, which can increase the risk of anal abscesses in both men and women
use of the medication prednisone or other steroids
current or recent chemotherapy
Toddlers or children that have a history of anal fissures (tears in the anal sphincter) are also at a higher risk for developing anal abscesses later on. Such anal fissures might occur in children who have a history of constipation.
Anal abscess treatment depends on the severity of the infection. There are situations which are an outpatient case while others can require surgical procedure. The doctor should explain to you the treatment plan after diagnosis.
Depending upon the severity of the abscess and any other medical problems, treatment may be accomplished on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The treatment plan should be explained to the patient in detail.
Minor surgery may be performed in the healthcare professional’s office or in the emergency department using local anesthesia (an injection in the infected area), and possibly IV sedation. Most patients are referred to a surgeon for treatment of perirectal abscesses because the abscess may involve additional structures or require more debridement that may not be apparent until it is surgically explored. Patients should be able to go home when they awake and will be given prescription pain medication for the first few days with some uncomplicated abscesses.
Alternatively, the surgery may be done in the operating room by a surgeon using spinal anesthesia (the patient is awake and numb from the waist down) or general anesthesia (patient is “asleep” under sedation). The hospital stay may be overnight or several days.
Admission to the hospital may be required with an IV line for fluids, antibiotics, and pain medicine.
Patients may need an update of their tetanus booster, if this has not been done in the past 5-10 years.
Blood and other tests may need to be repeated to evaluate the patient’s progress after treatment.