Skip to Content

Rectal Abscess


A rectal abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms in your rectum. The abscess is caused by a bacterial infection.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics may be given to fight a bacterial infection.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until your pain is severe to ask for more medicine.
  • Bowel movement softeners may be given to help prevent straining when you have a bowel movement.


  • Blood tests may show signs of a bacterial infection or other cause.
  • A manual rectal exam is done so your healthcare provider can feel for lumps or other problems. He will insert a gloved finger into your rectum through your anus.
  • Anoscopy is a procedure used to examine your rectum. Your healthcare provider will insert an anoscope (speculum) into your rectum. The anoscope has a light on the end. This will help your healthcare provider see your rectum and the abscess. He may also take a tissue sample to be tested.
  • CT, MRI, or ultrasound pictures may be used to check the abscess while you are being treated. The pictures may also show damage to the rectum.


  • Incision and drainage is a procedure used to help pus and fluid drain from the abscess. If the abscess is not severe, you may get local anesthesia to numb the area. You will be awake during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain. If your abscess is deeper into the lining, you may need general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain.
  • Surgery may be needed to repair damage to your rectum or a fistula (tear in the lining of your rectum).
  • Sitz baths may help reduce pain after the abscess is drained or you have surgery. A sitz bath is a portable tub that fits into the toilet basin. You will stay in the sitz bath or tub for 15 to 20 minutes.


You may develop a fistula (tear in the lining of your rectum). In women, the fistula may create a tunnel between the rectum and vagina. You may have trouble controlling bowel movements. You may develop another abscess, even after treatment. You may also develop a life-threatening infection that leads to tissue death or sepsis (blood infection).


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Rectal Abscess (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.