What is rectal discharge?

Rectal discharge is the release of any discharge from the anus that is not stool or blood. Rectal discharge can occur for many reasons, including anal fissure, anal fistula (an abnormal connection between two organs) or abscess, other infections including sexually transmitted diseases, or chronic inflammatory diseases.

An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anal canal. An anal abscess is an infected, pus-filled cavity. An anal fistula, which is an abnormal connection between the anus and surrounding tissues, can develop from an anal abscess if the infection spreads.

Rectal discharge may also be related to some inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the lower intestinal tract that may involve the rectal area.

In some cases, rectal discharge may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have rectal discharge along with other serious symptoms, including high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), rectal bleeding, severe pain, or drainage of pus from the rectum.


What other symptoms might occur with rectal discharge?

Rectal discharge may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur along with rectal discharge

Rectal discharge may accompany other symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal system including:


What causes rectal discharge?

Rectal discharge can occur for many reasons including anal fissure, anal abscess or fistula, other infections, or chronic diseases.

Common causes of rectal discharge

Common causes of rectal discharge include:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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