7 years ago my husband had surgery for an anal abcess. It continues to come back every few months. In the meantime, the area swells up until it finally "explodes" quite a bit of blood. This happens about 4 times and then he runs a low grade fever and has to have the abcess drained. Not only is this hard on our pocket book, but he misses a lot of work. He also has chills, constipation, diarreah, nausea. After the abcess has been drained, he will be okay for about 2 weeks before the swelling, pain, and all the other symptoms start again. I'm tired of harping at the doctors to "fix" the problem. We are in a very small community so our choice of doctors and/or tests are limited. Could you please tell me what type of doctor to look for and what types of tests to request? We can travel to a doctor if we could find one that is even remotely interested in helping. I don't know if our doctors don't care, don't know or just want the $$ but after 7 years, you'd think someone would be able to figure it out. Can you please help us? Thanks
The combination of GI symptoms (diarrhea, constipation), fever, and a recurrent abscess, is highly suspicious for Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestinal tract. Your husband might greatly benefit from a work-up by an experienced gastroenterologist who specializes in Crohn's.
Thank you for your replies. We are currently looking into out-of-town University Medical Centers. Could his acid reflux be related to all of these other symptoms? What sorts of questions should we be prepared to ask? and what sorts of tests should we insist on?
Here is a link to some information about Crohn's disease from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. It has a short section on the diagnosis of Crohn's that mentions some of the tests that might be done if Crohn's is suspected. I don't think it discusses acid reflux, but that is something that many patients with Crohn's do report, so it is worth mentioning to the doctor along with the other symptoms.
I would think the most important thing to ask might be whether the doctor thinks that the abscess is just an isolated problem that could be treated and resolved, or if it is part of a more systemic process such as Crohn's or another illness. Best of luck.
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