Perianal abscesses are often wrongly considered as hemorrhoids and consequently, the prevalence is underreported. Anorectal diseases have an incidence rate of around 16 individuals for every 100,000 annually, which is likely to progress to fistula formation. Individuals who treat and manage the condition at home are likely to come across unique challenges, which requires a change in routine. We take an informed look at perianal abscess treatment at home and the requirements that will be necessary for individuals to handle the changes. Before we look at the finer details, here’s an overview of the condition, which will help you get a better perspective, helping you to understand the reasons behind the requirements.
What is perianal abscess and is it possible to take perianal abscess treatment at home?
Perianal abscess refers to most common type of anorectal abscess, a condition wherein pus forms in the tissues that surround the anus and rectum. This is attributed to infections and blocked glands and is known to be transmitted sexually. This is also attributed to various disorders such as Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis. Perianal abscess treatment at home refers to the management of the condition after surgical procedures are performed to drain the pus. Some of the symptoms that are associated with the condition include:
· Appearance of swelling similar to a boil close to the anus
· The color of such boils are typically reddish
· The boils are warm to touch
· There is a possibility of these boils forming deeper in the tissues (however these are rare)
· Persistent throbbing pain experienced, with greater intensity when seated
· Discharge of pus from the region around the anus
· Irritation, tenderness and redness around the anus
· Pain during ablutions, and difficulty in passing stools
· Fever and chills
Individuals with deep anal abscesses are likely to exhibit lesser physically visible symptoms, and in most cases, the only symptom could be high fever for an extended period.
Anal abscesses develop due to cyst or infections in the area. One of the most common reasons for the formation of the abscess is the infection of a small gland in the anus. Factors that are considered as risky, that expose individuals to higher risk of contracting the condition include IBD, acronym for inflammatory bowel disease (for e.g. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), pelvic inflammatory disease, anal sex, diabetes, diverticulitis and colitis.
What are the various treatments available for perianal abscess other than perianal abscess treatment at home?
While perianal abscess treatment at home is a possibility, with desired outcomes, it is advisable to seek medical attention from a specialist. This involves the draining of the pus from the infected area. It cannot be achieved by the individual without the assistance of another. It is therefore best to rely on competent and trained specialists to perform the treatment. The draining of the pus typically involves the use of local anesthesia to permit the specialist to drain the pus completely. The healing of the tissue will begin only after the pus has healed completely. Following this, the specialist may advise the individual or caretaker about ideal follow up perianal abscess treatment at home. Sutures are not used to close the abscess after it has been drained fully. These procedures are typically undertaken at the office of the specialist. However, in the event of a large anal abscess, the procedure differs. This could include a higher level of surgical procedure involving the use of a catheter to drain the abscess fully.
Impact on patients with other pre-existing conditions
While follow up perianal abscess treatment at home will typically not have any impact on patients with other pre-existing conditions, care is exercised during the actual procedure. Patients with low immunity, diabetics and patients with hemophilia are generally under observation for a short period to determine outbreak of infections. In the event that no infections are observed/reported, the patient is expected to continue the follow up procedures at home. Patients with hemophilia can under the procedure due to the introduction of Factor VIII inhibitors, rendering the procedure safe. Post-surgery, patients are sometimes prescribed antibiotics to deal with infections or to help patients with compromised immune systems.
Perianal abscess can manifest into anal fistula
Abscesses can turn into anal fistula if left untreated. By opting for the right kind of surgical intervention and follow up perianal abscess treatment at home it is possible to pre-empt the development of anal fistula. To put this in perspective, statistics reveal that half of the patients with anal abscesses end up with anal fistula. This is a condition which requires surgery for treatment. Anal fistula refers to an infection in the anal gland that results in the creation of an infected tunnel from the anus to the skin. Individuals with anal fistula experience pain in the area, discharge of pus and swelling in the anus.
What kind of perianal abscess treatment at home is possible?
There are various ways in which perianal abscess treatment at home can help in managing the condition after surgical intervention. One of the commonly used methods is soaking of the affect area thrice a day in a bath of warm water. This helps to disinfect the area and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition. Other options include the use of stool softeners that reduce the hardness of stool, this ensures that the movement of stool does not cause pain or discomfort. The possibility of the pus draining and soiling clothes or undergarments are high. It is therefore necessary that individuals use a suitable gauze or pad to arrest the soiling.
Chances of a relapse
The chances of a relapse after surgical intervention and perianal abscess treatment at home are rare. After the healing process of the abscess, there is very limited possibility of the condition occurring again. But this can be ensured only with the advice of specialists, and proper care. The possibility reduces when the right precautions are taken and individuals take sufficient care under medical guidance.
Chances of a scar as a result of the procedure
Scarring is a possibility with the condition. This depends on the size of the abscess and the time it was left to fester. The possibility of scar formation reduces when treatment for the condition is commenced earlier. If the condition deteriorates to an anal fistula, the possibility of a scar is higher, as the surgical procedure for treating anal fistula involves cutting along the length of the fistula. Known as fistulotomy, the procedure leaves what is known as a flat scar. In most cases of perianal abscesses, the possibility of scarring is low, as individuals tend to become aware of the condition earlier.
Type of dressings used after the procedure
Before a patient starts follow up perianal abscess treatment at home, the patient is likely to have a dressing over the wound post-surgery. The type of dressings required and its management differ from case to case and these are clearly explained after the procedure. This is important as the follow up perianal abscess treatment at home would include the dressing if necessary. In some cases there is a possibility of a seton stitch being used to drain the abscess instead of damaging the sphincter muscle. This is more of a temporary intervention which involves the use of a non-absorbable nylon/silk that is intended to compress and drain the abscess.
Points to remember on actions that need to be takes after the procedure
Patients undergoing the procedure are expected to have a caretaker for a period of atleast one day immediately after the procedure. This is required for extending help in travelling back home after the procedure and in settling down. For the purpose of follow up perianal abscess treatment at home patients require assistance either from a family member/acquaintance or a caretaker. This is necessary to prevent infections and to ensure complete healing of the abscess, which is reviewed periodically by the specialist till it is healed fully.