An anal abscess usually develops after a small gland just inside the anus becomes infected with bacteria. This results in the formation of pus which is known as an abscess. Exactly why some people develop this type anal abscess is not certain. Anal abscesses can also occur with other conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
An anal fistula usually develops as a result of an anal abscess which is drained or bursts. Around half of people who develop an anal abscess will go onto develop an anal fistula.
Updated January 2016
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Karen Beaton, April 2011