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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is this an abscess?

    I had my large bowel removed in February and my rectum removed in August because of colitis. I have got over operation well, apart from blood and puss coming away, like a period. I have had four lots of antibiotics and still no change. Can you tell me whats going on please?
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    Dr van Langenberg is a consultant gastroenterologist in private practice in Melbourne's Eastern suburbs and has public hospital appointments as Director of IBD, Eastern Health … View Profile

    Unfortunately sometimes people who have their large bowel/rectum removed  have persistent infection and inflammation which remains troublesome for some weeks-months after the operation. This can be due to a collection of pus (or abscess) located within the scar tissue left behind after the operation, or sometimes a fistula (a tunnel between the bowel or pelvic area out to the skin around the anal region) may form after the operation and  get blocked up leading to an abscess.

    Given multiple courses of antibiotics have made little difference, I recommend that you have imaging, ideally an MRI scan of the pelvis to look for small collections of pus or a fistula. This would be best done under the direction of the surgeon who performed your operation as he/she may also wish to examine the area under anaesthetic.

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