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Symptom Checker

Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Rectal Pain or Itching

Contact your doctor today. Your symptoms may be coming from an abscess next to your rectum. Drainage of an abscess is necessary to prevent it from enlarging or causing more serious illness.

Three diagnoses are most consistent with your symptoms; these are an anal abscess, an anal fistula, and acute prostatitis.

Anal abscess

An anal abscess is also known as a "perianal abscess" or a "perirectal abscess." Injury or inflammation in the lining of the rectum may permit bacteria to contaminate one of the mucus glands that surround the rectum. The mucus glands are normal structures that help to lubricate your rectum. When they become infected, the infection may quickly intensify to create a pocket of pus.

An anal abscess may cause pain with bowel movements or continuous pain. It commonly causes irritation of the nearby skin so it can create a red, tender or itchy patch of skin within an inch or two of the anus. Frequently, white or yellow pus can be seen through the center of this skin patch as the abscess prepares to drain pus.

It is possible for an abscess in this area to make you dangerously ill. An anal abscess requires drainage by your doctor.

Anal fistula

As described above, an anal abscess may drain pus through a break in the skin. An abscess can also drain pus through a break in the rectum lining. A draining pathway to the skin or rectum wall can persist for a long time without healing. A draining pathway that has not healed is called an anal fistula. An anal fistula usually causes a moist discharge from the rectum or skin. A fistula may look like an open sore or a pus-filled bump near the anus. An anal fistula requires professional treatment as directed by your doctor.

Acute prostatitis

You did not report symptoms in the urinary tract or genital region that would suggest prostatitis, but acute prostatitis is still a possible explanation for your pain and other symptoms. Acute prostatitis is an infection of the prostate that develops suddenly and intensifies quickly after contamination by bacteria from the gut or from sexual contact. Acute prostatitis sometimes causes a severe enough illness that it may require a hospital stay and intravenous antibiotics for treatment.

Click here for more information on anal disorders.


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