Heard, concerned about or been diagnosed with a perirectal abscess? This article is here to help explain what this problem is, the common causes, symptoms and treatments that are used to help.
Perirectal Abscess Causes
In terms of the term perirectal: “Peri” is a common medical prefix that means “surrounding” or “around”. As this infection occurs around the rectum, it is termed a perirectal abscess. The rectum is approximately 8 inches long, and it stores solid wastes (feces). The rectum is the part of the colon that is the closest to the anus.
Problems in the rectum such as perirectal abscess are more likely to occur in those who have underlying medical conditions. Such predisposing conditions include diabetes and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The other possible factors that can lead to this problem include some of these:
- Poor hygiene
- Suppressed immune system (and thus a general increased risk of any infections)
- Bacterial infection
- Trauma, skin tears and abrasions. Rectal intercourse can cause trauma.
- Constipation, diarrhea, again can interrupt the rectal lining.
- Foreign object
- Post colon surgery
- Diet pills or teas, similar to diarrhea, can lead to constant defecating and lining damage.
Great video on the problem:
Perirectal Abscess Symptoms and Signs
The signs and symptoms of perirectal abscess vary from one person to the other. Some may present with common symptoms and some may have no obvious signs. In the latter the abscesses are only seen in the diagnostic tests. If signs and symptoms are present they may include the following:
- Pain when defecating
- Fever and/or chills (these are general signs of infections)
- Constipation – fear of defecating due to pain felt, and the feces will build up in the rectum
- Reddish, swollen skin in the area.
- Tenderness around the rectum
- Pus coming out with feces
- Lumps are felt in the rectal area from digital rectal examination by the physician
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then seek medical attention. Like all infections, the sooner diagnosed and treated the better!
Perirectal Abscess Treatment
The treatments for perirectal abscess are based on each individual’s needs. The treatment needed will depend on many factors including the severity of the abscess and your own medical history. Home care advice for perirectal abscesses include:
- Proper diet – prepare healthy foods based on the food pyramid. Increase fiber in the diet by choosing wheat, oats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Increase water intake – this not only prevents dehydration, but also prevents stool hardening.
- Engage in physical exercise – exercise strengthens the muscles and stimulates peristalsis (the natural muscle movements in the digestive tract).
- Practice proper hygiene by bathing daily and regularly changing of clothes and underwear. Do not borrow other people’s personal items such as towels and underwear.
- Get adequate rest – pain felt in the rectum can be exhausting and stressful, make sure you get a full night’s rest.
- Avoid rectal intercourse and strenuous sports such as horseback riding to prevent further trauma in the rectum.
The above home remedies can be combined with treatment from the medical team such as:
- Incision and drainage – this procedure is usually done in the Operating Room and is under general anesthesia. An incision of the pus inside the rectum is performed, and the pus is drained by means of a draining tube or suction.
- Antibiotic treatment – prescribed after the surgery, and while in antibiotic treatment, home care for perirectal abscess is recommended for faster recovery.
- Psyllium or flaxseed – the doctor may prescribe psyllium or flaxseed. When mixed with water, they swell and create a gelatin-like substance that when ingested, will help coat and lubricate the rectum and soften stool.
Follow the medications on schedule and do not skip a medication dose. Do not prescribe yourself medications, as this is very dangerous to your health. Only take those drugs prescribed by your doctor. A follow-up appointment with the physician is strongly recommended so he/she can assess your progress and if there is any additional treatment needed, and if there are any modification in your medication and its dosage.
Hopefully you have found this guide to the perirectal abscess useful. As you have seen, there are many causes and symptoms. There are also many steps you can take to prevent the problem or reduce further risks, if you have had the infection before.