An anorectal abscess also referred to as an anal abscess, rectal abscess, perianal abscess, or perirectal abscess depending on its location is a pus-filled cavity that forms within the furrows of the anal canal called the anal sinuses. As your body tries to control the infection, white blood cells killed in the battle and other bodily fluids start to collect in the tissue, forming a pocket of pus. Abscesses can form near or within the anus or develop much higher up in the rectum itself. While an abscess can form spontaneously for no apparent reason, it is commonly associated with gastrointestinal disease, bowel irregularities, immune suppression, and even certain medications. Anorectal abscesses are usually first recognized because of a dull, throbbing pain in the anus or rectum, often accompanied by sharp pain when defecating.
Most cases of perianal abscesses are sporadic, though there are certain situations which elevate the risk for developing the disease, such as diabetes mellitus , Crohn's disease , chronic corticosteroid treatment and others. Ischiorectal, inter- and intrasphincteric abscesses have been described. Anorectal abscesses are classified according to their anatomic location and the following are the most common types; Perianal abscess, Ischiorectal abscess, Intersphincteric abscess and Supralevator abscess. Ischiorectal abscess is formed when suppuration transverses the external anal sphincter into the ischiorectal space. Intersphincteric abscess results from suppuration contained between the internal and external anal sphincters. Supralevator abscess forms from cephalad extension of the intersphincteric abscess above the levator ani or from caudal extension of a suppurative abdominal process like appendicitis, diverticular or gynaecologic sepsis. Pain in the perianal area is the most common symptom of an anorectal abscess.
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The anus is that part of the intestinal tract that passes through the muscular canal of the pelvis and anal sphincters. It is the final orifice through which stool passes out of the body. In adults, the anus is 4 to 5 centimeters long.