Perianal Cellulitis

Perianal Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection. The bacteria penetrate into deep layers, which leads to an infection. The main causes are usually a cut or break in the skin. Injuries and other skin conditions represent major risk factors.

The anal area is one of the most unpleasant locations of cellulitis. Moreover, it is more common in children than in adults. Perianal cellulitis involves the skin area around the anus.

In this article we will explain what the symptoms are. We will also explain the common treatment methods for this form of cellulitis.


Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom is a sharply demarcated redness around the anus. Additionally, the lesion may be itchy and tender to touch; there may be painful bowel movements due to the inflammation surrounding the anal area. Exceptionally, the fecal matter may be covered with blood. But, this can be due to a multitude of causes.
Perianal cellulitis

Furthermore, other conditions with skin manifestations like candidiasis, pinworms, eczema, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, may mimic or be associated to perianal cellulitis.

Thus, it is important to seek quick medical condition to allow for a proper diagnosis.

A physician will be able to rule out other skin conditions. He/she can diagnose a cellulitis infection. They will enquire about your medical history, and perform a perianal swab upon physical examination, to confirm the diagnosis.



The main causes of perianal cellulitis are staph and strep bacteria. But, any type of bacteria can cause perianal cellulitis. These can penetrate the skin area around the anus when there are scratches or cuts.

Children may spread an infection to their anus by scratching the anal area. This may happen if the cleaning was performed in a rough manner. In many cases, children may already have a bacterial infection.

Generally, the condition occurs before or after a strep throat infection.


Risk Factors Prevention

The main risk factor is the lack of proper hygiene. You must carry out careful handwashing with soap to prevent the spread of infections.

The common cause of this condition is due to the spreading of bacterial infections. Since this usually happens with direct contact, it is crucial to follow strict hygiene protocol.

Scratching and itching around the anus area can make it prone to infection. Thus skin conditions need proper treatment. Scratching and itching around the anal area require a visit to the doctor. Doctors are able to provide medication to help manage and treat skin conditions.



The treatment of perianal cellulitis involves a course of antibiotics. This will usually last around 10 days. It is important to finish the course even if symptoms start to improve. There will be other follow-up appointments to confirm the infection has been completely cleared.

Most people will make a full recovery. But, complications can occur in the absence of immediate medical attention. Although, it is rare, the infection can pass into the bloodstream; this may become a life-threatening situation that mandates hospital admission and emergency treatment.

You should now have a better understanding of perianal cellulitis. It is crucial to visit a doctor if you have any symptoms. Overall, the faster you get treatment, the quicker you are likely to recover.

Credit image:

Last article update: 9/11/2019

Medically reviewed by Dr. Thouria Bensaoula on Sept 11, 2019.