A perirectal abscess is an infection that causes a pocket of pus near the anus. The area may itch and be quite painful. Most abscesses are caused by a blocked anal gland that gets infected. It also can be caused by a tear, or fissure, in the anus. Diseases that affect the colon, such as Crohn's disease, also may cause the condition.
Your doctor may have drained the abscess to help treat the infection. The doctor also may have prescribed antibiotics. Care at home can help you heal.
You may have had a sedative to help you relax. You may be unsteady after having sedation. It can take a few hours for the effects of the medicine to wear off. Common side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, and feeling sleepy or tired.
The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- If the doctor gave you a sedative:
- For 24 hours, don't do anything that requires attention to detail. This includes going to work, making important decisions, or signing any legal documents. It takes time for the medicine's effects to completely wear off.
- For your safety, do not drive or operate any machinery that could be dangerous. Wait until the medicine wears off and you can think clearly and react easily.
- Sit in a few inches of warm water (sitz bath) 3 times a day and after bowel movements. The warm water helps with pain and itching.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- Follow your doctor's instructions if you were sent home with a drain or packing in the abscess.
- Be safe with medicines. Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- Use stool softeners as directed.
- Avoid scented and colored toilet paper, which may irritate the anal area.
- Clean the area gently with wet cotton balls, a warm washcloth, baby wipes, or wipes such as Preparation H or Tucks.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have symptoms of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You do not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
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