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Paul asked...

When I was about 10 years old I had an abscess on my rectum...

When I was about 10 years old I had an abscess on my rectum. I was admitted to hospital and was operated on the treat it. I'm now 37, about 18 months ago I went to my doctors because a lump had returned. He told me to pop it and get as much fluid out as possible and it should go - He added, there's nothing that can be done to stop it from returning. I'm squeezing it everyday now - it is sometimes very painful and I struggle to sit and it sometimes oozes on its own and makes me feel very unhygienic. Can anything be done?

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The answer

An anal abscess is a painful condition where a collection of pus develops near the anus. The most common type of abscess is a perianal abscess which appears as a painful boil like swelling near the anus. It may be red in color and warm to the touch. Surgical incision and drainage is the most common treatment of an anal abscess and has a good success rate.

Some people with an anal abscess can go on to develop a complication called a fistula. An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus. They’re usually the result of an infection near the anus causing a collection of pus in the nearby tissue. When the pus drains away it can leave a small channel behind. Surgery is recommended in most cases to promote wound healing and help to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

It’s important to see your GP due to the ongoing and persistent symptoms you have described. They will ask you about your symptoms and if you have any bowel conditions. They may ask to examine you to check for signs of a fistula. Your GP may refer you to a colorectal specialist for further tests to confirm a diagnosis and determine the most suitable treatment for you.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses