Contents: Knowing the difference between an external hemorrhoid and an anal abscess can be crucial — Definition of anal abscess and hemorrhoids — Types of anal Abscess — Causes of anal abscess and how anal abscesses develop — Anal abscess symptoms — Home remedy or doctor treatment for anal abscesses? — Home treatment of Anal Abscess — A burst anal abscess and pus color — What to expect when you see the doctor about diagnosing the anal abscess — Anal Abscess Treatment — Anal Abscess and Anal Fistula — Anal Abscess Recovery.
Knowing the difference between an external hemorrhoid and an anal abscess can be crucial.
While both may appear as a lump of tissue in the area around the anus, an anal abscess can quickly devolve into a life-threatening situation within a week without proper medical treatment, while an external hemorrhoid can usually be successfully treated at home.
Definition of anal abscess and hemorrhoids
A hemorrhoid is a swollen vein in the area of the anus, while an abscess is a walled-off collection of infection-related pus within a bodily cavity.
Hemroids can be cured using natural medicinal treatmentscoupled with life style change.
Types of anal Abscess
There are two different kinds of abscess that can develop in this region of the body.
One is called a perirectal abscess, and develops in the deep tissues surrounding the anus, such as within the musculature of the buttocks and spaces around the anorectal canal.
The other known variety is a perianal abscess, which is a collection of pus that sits right underneath the skin of the anus and can easily be mistaken for an external hemorrhoid.
Both types need immediate attention from a doctor, as any delay may cause serious complications such as systemic infection.
Causes of anal abscess and how anal abscesses develop
Both sorts of anal abscess are thought to develop from the glands surrounding the anorectal canal.
These glands may get plugged up, which leads to internal infection.
When the glands naturally fill with pus as the immune system expends neutrophil cells trying to fight the infection off, the glands eventually burst inwards from the pressure and release the pus into anorectal spaces.
Over a few days, the abscess will enlarge from the addition of more pus, which causes extreme pain, fever, and difficulty with any bowel movements.
Conditions that contribute to anal abscesses are diabetes, AIDS/HIV, and Crohn’s disease. In addition, people who are currently taking immunosuppressant drugs like prednisone or methylprednisone, or who are on chemotherapy, may find anal abscesses to be more likely. Anal abscesses are also an occasional symptom or byproduct of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Anal abscess symptoms
The symptoms of an anal abscess are rather distinctive once closely paid attention to.
The first anal abscess symptom / sign is usually escalating pain in the anal area or buttocks and a lump or swelling in the anal area.
Painful bowel movements, lower abdominal pain, and fatigue are anal abscess symptoms that also then usually follow shortly.
The symptoms of anal abscess that suggest the infection is starting to go systemic include fever, fatigue, and night sweats, along with severe pain from any rolling or change of position.
Another symptom that you are suffering from an anal abscess rather than a hemorrhoid are that anal abscesses usually worsen quickly, within one or two days, while hemorrhoids take longer to develop.
In addition, if you are suffering from an anal abscess, most standard hemorrhoid treatments will be ineffective against it’s symptoms.
Home remedy or doctor treatment for anal abscesses?
While there are a few home remedies to relieve the immediate symptoms of an anal abscess, if you have any reason to suspect that an abscess is the source of your problems, you should see a doctor immediately.
Anal abscesses are not always easy to diagnose even with the facilities of a hospital, so the earlier you go in the better.
Always go to the emergency room immediately should you experience high fever, shaking chills, significant pain, extreme pain or inability with bowel movements, or persistent vomiting. These are all extreme anal abscess symptoms that can indicate the infection has entered your bloodstream, and serious damage or death may result.
If you are not experiencing symptoms that extreme, you may be able to make a more normal appointment to see your usual physician within a few days.
Home treatment of Anal Abscess
However, to relieve the immediate symptoms of anal abscess at home, taking the standard over-the-counter dose of acetaminophen and taking a warm sitz bath should reduce the pain to the point where you can successfully think.
In addition, acetaminophen will help with any low-grade fever that is starting to affect you as a result of the anal abscess.
A burst anal abscess and pus color
While you are at home, the anal abscess may burst outwards on its own, at which point you should notice a significant release of pus either into bath water, toilet water, or your clothing.
Pus usually has a quite distinctive odor, and ranges in color from white, to yellow, and may even have a slightly greenish tinge.
If there is blood in the pus, it can take on a characteristic reddish or rust color as well.
Pus is composed of decomposing immune cells that died while attempting to fight off an infection, and is usually quite bacteria rich because of it, so if the abscess does burst outward, clean the area, change clothing, and wash your hands well and in hot water to prevent the spread of the infection.
If the anal abscess does burst at home, it will probably relieve quite a bit of the pain and fever, as the pus is usually a haven for the bacteria causing the infection in the first place.
While the relief can be extreme, even if the abscess bursts on its own it is still important to see a doctor because the area can become reinfected or the abscess can reform on its own.
What to expect when you see the doctor about diagnosing the anal abscess
As anal abscesses can be difficult to diagnose at the best of times, when you see your doctor it is important to answer all questions fully and to freely volunteer information.
Your medical privacy is assured, and your doctor ought to be more than willing to hear you out fully and patiently. If he is not, find another doctor, as any anal abscess is a serious matter.
Your doctor will probably want to do a physical exam, wherein you will be draped and your dignity should be fully respected.
In addition your doctor may need to run blood or urine tests, and may also wish to examine you by x-ray, CT scan, MRI or ultrasound imaging.
He or she may also need to consult with specialists to confirm the diagnosis of an anal abscess or to come up with the best treatment plan.
At all times any doctor you speak with should be willing to fully answer any and all questions you may have and to take any reasonable measure to make you as comfortable as possible.
Anal Abscess Treatment
The treatment for abscesses of any kind, including anal abscess, usually involves a surgical procedure to drain the abscess cavity, followed by a round of antibiotics to eliminate any lingering infection, and pain management medication to make you as comfortable as possible.
Antibiotics have a difficult time working on an anal abscess, or any abscess, prior to drainage because the collection of pus lowers the pH so far that no antibiotic can work, which is why a two pronged approach is used in treatment.
You may also need to get an update on your tetanus booster to fully protect against a secondary complication.
The incision that is made to drain the abscess will not be stitched shut, but rather left open so that the abscess can continue to drain over a few days.
If an abscess is stitched shut, it stands a good chance of reforming in the closed cavity, so instead the cavity is packed with sterile bandages and carefully monitored for recurring infection instead.
After surgery, your doctor will want to perform another round of blood and urine tests to ensure your full recovery.
Anal Abscess and Anal Fistula
Even if an anal abscess is successfully treated, its formation can lead to an anal fistula, which is a connection or opening between two bodily cavities or between a bodily cavity and the exterior of the body that was never meant to exist in the first place.
The larger the abscess gets, the more likely that a fistula will develop post-treatment.
Anal fistula act as pus drain. So even though the anal abscess may have been inside, it may cause an anal fistula which leaks puss – you may think to be a pussy sore.
Anal fistulas can heal and break open repeatedly, if the anal abscess is still active that is causing it.
Anal Abscess Recovery
To ensure a full and speedy recovery, you will need to get the support of family and friends, and to obey all post-surgical instructions precisely.
In addition to antibiotics and pain management, your doctor may also give you special dietary instructions to help recovery from an anal fissure, such as more fruit and vegetables and nil or greatly reduced fatty foods / sugary foods / eggs / meat / dairy.
Your doctor may prescribe stool softeners, and tell you to take frequent warm sitz-baths, to help the anal abscess to heal and provide some relief.
Natural anal abscess recovery helpers include Vitamin A and Zinc to help the immune system. Vitamin A and B complex to help offset the negative effects of the antibiotics. If fever a symptom, then consume more liquid, plus Vitamins A, C, E.
While an anal abscess is a serious concern, and can be quite frightening with the rapidity and severity of its symptoms, with proper treatment most people fully recover in a short period of time.
With good, responsible medical attention and the support and comfort of loved ones, an anal abscess should be an easily resolved problem that takes almost no time at all to recover from.
Research and main write by Loni L. Ice, quality control, editing and additional writing by D. S. Urquhart.