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Swimming After a Perianal Abscess

by
author image Laurel Heidtman
Laurel Heidtman began writing for her hometown paper, "The Harrison Press," in 1964. In addition to freelancing she has worked as a police officer, a registered nurse, a health educator and a technical writer. She holds an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication from Miami University of Ohio.
Swimming After a Perianal Abscess
A man reclining in a chair in the sunroom overlooking the pool. Photo Credit Kraig Scarbinsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Unlike other aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming puts little stress on your joints, making it an ideal exercise for people with arthritis. However, if you have had a perianal abscess lanced, avoid swimming until your lanced abscess has closed, which may take between five days and three weeks, depending on the severity of the wound.

Perianal Abscess

A perianal abscess stems from an infection that usually begins under the lining of the rectum between the internal and external sphincters. The bacteria responsible for the infection enter through tears in the lining, resulting in a painful buildup of pus. As the pus accumulates, the abscess grows toward and outside the anus, according to the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

A perianal abscess is usually swollen, red, painful and might include some discharge of pus. The infection can cause fever and malaise, while the pain involved with having a bowel movement can result in constipation. People of any age can develop perianal abscesses, including infants and toddlers still in diapers. Those especially at risk include people with diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as anyone with a compromised immune system. People who engage in receptive anal sex are also at risk, according to MedlinePlus.

Treatment of Perianal Abscesses

Lancing the perianal abscess must be done to allow it to drain. The surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, with local anesthetic and medication to induce sleepiness. Your doctor will not stitch the drained abscess in order to allow it to drain further, but it may be covered by gauze. Your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics and medication for pain, and stool softeners will likely be needed to reduce pain from bowel movements. Because good hygiene is especially important when dealing with any open wound, including a lanced abscess, you should use gentle cleansing wipes after each bowel movement. If the patient is an infant or a child still in diapers, change diapers as soon as they are wet or soiled.

Water and Perianal Abscesses

After a perianal abscess surgery, warm sitz baths are encouraged to help the abscess drain completely, as well as to relieve pain. Submersion in pools, hot tubs, lakes, streams or the ocean, however, is discouraged until the drained abscess has closed. The chlorine levels of many pools are not well-maintained. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a 2010 study of public pools found that one in eight were closed due to violations, but adds that even well-maintained chlorinated pools contain germs that can infect open wounds. Natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes and oceans, are an even bigger risk. When the abscess has completely healed, you can return to the water for fun and exercise.

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