Anal Fistula or Abscess is a chronic abnormal communication that connects an abscess, an infected cavity in the anus, to an opening on the skin around the anus.90% of abscesses are the result of an acute infection in the internal glands of the anus. The anus is the external opening through which feces are expelled from the body. Just inside the anus are a number of small glands that make mucus. Occasionally, these glands get clogged and can become infected, leading to an abscess. About half of these abscesses may develop into a fistula.
Anal fistulae do not generally harm, but can be very painful, and can be irritating because of the drainage of pus. Additionally, recurrent abscesses may lead to significant short term morbidity from pain and, importantly, create a starting point for systemic infection.
The leading causes of an anal fistula are clogged anal glands and anal abscesses. Other, much less common, conditions that can cause an anal fistula include:
Different types of anal fistulas are classified by their relationship to parts of the anal sphincter complex. In order of most common to least common, the various types include:
Anorectal pain, swelling, perianal cellulitis (redness of the skin) and fever are the most common symptoms of an abscess. The other signs and symptoms of an anal fistula include:
You should see your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
It is usually simple to locate the external opening of an anal fistula, meanwhile locating the internal opening can be more challenging. It is important to be able to find the entire fistula for effective treatment.
People who may have experience with recurring anal abscesses may have an anal fistula . The external opening of the fistula is usually red, inflamed, oozes pus, and is sometimes mixed with blood.
The location of the external opening gives a clue to a fistula's likely path and sometimes the fistula can actually be felt. However, locating its visual path often requires various tools, and often times it may not be seen until surgery.
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