Close

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Anal Abscess

An infected, pus-filled cavity in the anal or rectal area

  • More common in males
  • Anal sex is a risk factor
  • Age and genetics are not significant factors

An anal abscess is a pus-filled cavity that develops when bacteria enter a mucus-secreting gland in the anus or rectum and multiply. The abscess may be deep within the rectum or close to the anus.

Inflammatory disorders of the colon, such as Crohn’s disease, can be associated with anal abscesses. Anal sex also increases the risk.

You should consult a doctor if you have swelling or redness in the anal area or have a throbbing pain that worsens with defecation. If the infection spreads from the anal area, you may also have a fever and feel generally unwell.

An anal abscess is usually diagnosed by a physical examination. Treatment involves draining the abscess through an incision under local anaesthesia. Drainage of deep or large abscesses may need a general anaesthetic. You may be given oral antibiotics and advised to soak the affected area in warm water three or four times a day. An abscess may take several weeks to heal.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.