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2020 Jan 01

Am Fam Physician



Benign Anorectal Conditions: Evaluation and Management.


Cohee MW, Hurff A, Gazewood JD
Am Fam Physician. 2020 Jan 01; 101(1):24-33.
PMID: 31894930.


Common anorectal conditions include hemorrhoids, perianal pruritus, anal fissures, functional rectal pain, perianal abscess, condyloma, rectal prolapse, and fecal incontinence. Although these are benign conditions, symptoms can be similar to those of cancer, so malignancy should be considered in the differential diagnosis. History and examination, including anoscopy, are usually sufficient for diagnosing these conditions, although additional testing is needed in some situations. The primary treatment for hemorrhoids is fiber supplementation. Patients who do not improve and those with large high-grade hemorrhoids should be referred for surgery. Acutely thrombosed external hemorrhoids should be excised. Perianal pruritus should be treated with hygienic measures, barrier emollients, and low-dose topical corticosteroids. Capsaicin cream and tacrolimus ointment are effective for recalcitrant cases. Treatment of acute anal fissures with pain and bleeding involves adequate fluid and fiber intake. Chronic anal fissures should be treated with topical nitrates or calcium channel blockers, with surgery for patients who do not respond to medical management. Patients with functional rectal pain should be treated with warm baths, fiber supplementation, and biofeedback. Patients with superficial perianal abscesses not involving the sphincter should undergo office-based drainage; patients with more extensive abscesses or possible fistulas should be referred for surgery. Condylomata can be managed with topical medicines, excision, or destruction. Patients with rectal prolapse should be referred for surgical evaluation. Biofeedback is a first-line treatment for fecal incontinence, but antidiarrheal agents are useful if diarrhea is involved, and fiber and laxatives may be used if impaction is present. Colostomy can help improve quality of life for patients with severe fecal incontinence.