Perineal Abscess

An abscess is a sac filled infection. The perineum is the area between the anus and the scrotum in the male and between the anus and the vulva (the labial opening to the vagina) in the female. The size of the abscess varies. If it remains open and begins draining, it can form a fistula. A fistula is a tract that drains the abscess to the surface. The peak incidence of this problem is in the third to fourth decades of life. Men are affected more frequently than women.

CAUSES

There are numerous causes for this type of infection.

In women

In men

In men and women

SYMPTOMS

Pain, swelling, and redness in the area of the abscess are the most frequent symptoms. The redness may go beyond the abscess and appear as a red streak on the skin. There is often a visible lump or a lump that can be felt when touching the area. Bleeding, pus-like discharge, fevers, and general weakness may also be present.

DIAGNOSIS

An examination by your caregiver will establish this ailment. A digital rectal exam, and in women, a careful vaginal exam, is sometimes necessary. Sometimes looking into your rectum with a special instrument is needed.

TREATMENT

Incision and drainage is one common treatment of an abscess. This can sometimes be done in an office, emergency department, or surgical center with a local anesthetic. For larger or deeper abscesses, an operation is required to drain the abscess. Antibiotics are sometimes used if there is cellulitis (infection of the surrounding tissue). Antibiotics are medications that kill bacteria germs. Antibiotics may also be used if there are immune problems or heart valve problems.

Packing of the wound is sometimes done to produce good drainage. Frequent sitz baths may be recommended to help the wound heal in from the base and sides so that the risk of continued infection and recurrence is reduced.

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