Perianal abscess

What is a perianal abscess?

A perianal abscess is an infected, pus-filled cavity that develops within the perianal area. They often develop as a result of infection within the internal glands of the anus and can spread to surrounding tissue.

It is common for an anal fistula to develop from a perianal abscess if left untreated, however fistula can also develop spontaneously.1

Signs and symptoms

As the abscess enlarges and pressure builds due to excess pus, pain within the area also intensifies.3

Other symptoms include:1,2,3

  • Swelling, irritation and redness in the perianal area
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination



Diagnosis of a perianal abscess is generally provided during consultation with a doctor, who may perform a digital rectal exam. In cases of deep non-palpable perirectal abscess, other tests that may be undertaken include transrectal ultrasounds, CT or MRI scans.


Treatment will depend on the size of the abscess within the perianal area. The most common treatment is surgery to drain the pus from the abscess cavity by making an incision through the overlying skin. To control the spread of infection, antibiotics may be prescribed however, drainage will be required. 2 3


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. (n.d). Abscess and Fistula Expanded Information. Retrieved on 20 November 2019 from
  2. The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. (2019). Anal abscess and fistula. Retrieved on 20 November 2019 from
  3. Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand. (2013). Anal Abscess/Anal Fistula. Retrieved on 20 November 2019 from

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