A painful accumulation of pus known as an abscess is often brought on by a bacterial infection. Anywhere on the body may experience an abscess.
The two forms of abscess discussed in this article are:
- Skin abscesses form underneath the skin.
- Internal abscesses are abscesses that form inside the body, in organs, or between organs.
Symptoms of an abscess,
A skin abscess often manifests as a swelling, pus-filled bump under the skin’s surface. Infection-related symptoms including a high fever and chills might also be present.
An internal abscess is more difficult to see, however symptoms include:
- Localized discomfort at the affected places.
- Elevated temperature
- Feeling generally sick
When to see your doctor
If you believe you may have an abscess, see your doctor. If they suspect an internal abscess, they might inspect an abscess on your skin or send you to the hospital.
Depending on where it is, a variety of tests may be used to identify an abscess
Causes of abscesses
A bacterial infection is what causes the majority of abscesses.
Your immune system sends infection-fighting white blood cells to the damaged region when germs enter your body.
Some adjacent tissue dies when the white blood cells fight the germs, leaving a hole that later fills with pus to create an abscess. White blood cells, bacteria, and dead tissue are all present in the pus.
Internal abscesses often result from an underlying illness, such an infection somewhere else in your body. For instance, if your appendix ruptures due to appendicitis, germs may spread throughout your belly and result in the development of an abscess.
Preventing an abscess on the skin
The majority of skin abscesses are brought on by bacteria entering a small wound, the hair follicle, or a clogged sweat or oil gland.
Keeping your skin clean, healthy, and mainly bacterial-free will help lower the likelihood that skin abscesses will form.
The chance of germs spreading may be decreased by:
- Hands are routinely cleansed.
- Advising your family members to frequently wash their hands
- Utilizing separate towels and avoiding bathing together
- Avoid utilizing any shared facilities, such as gym equipment, saunas, or swimming pools, until your skin abscess has completely healed and is no longer infected.
- Squeezing the pus from the abscess oneself may readily transfer the germs to other parts of your skin, so refrain from doing so. To prevent the transmission of germs, throw away any tissues you use to wipe any pus from your abscess. After you’ve disposed of the tissues, wash your hands.
- To prevent skin nicks, use caution while shaving your face, legs, underarms, or bikini region. Do not exchange toothbrushes or razors.
Your risk of skin abscesses may also be decreased by:
- Keeping a nutritious, balanced diet
- If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight
- Giving up smoking
Internal abscesses are difficult to avoid since they often arise as a consequence of other illnesses.
Other kinds of abscesses
There are other more abscess kinds that are not fully addressed here, including:
- An anorectal abscess- is a collection of pus in the lower abdomen (the rectum and anus).
- An accumulation of pus within one of the Bartholin’s glands, which are located on each side of the vaginal entrance, is known as a Bartholin’s cyst.
- An uncommon but possibly fatal buildup of pus within the skull is known as a brain abscess.
- A dental abscess is a collection of pus beneath a tooth or in the bone and gum tissue that support it.
- A buildup of pus between one of the tonsils and the throat wall is known as quinsy (peritonsillar abscess).
- An accumulation of pus in the skin of the cleft of the buttocks is known as a pilonidal abscess (where the buttocks separate)
- An accumulation of pus surrounding the spinal cord, called a spinal cord abscess.
Depending on where the abscess forms in your body, different symptoms may appear.
there are several treatment options available, depending on the form and size of the abscess, e.
The primary forms of therapy are:
- A drainage method
Small skin abscesses may heal on their own and don’t need medical attention. In order to lessen any swelling and hasten healing, using heat in the form of a warm compress, such a warm flannel, may be helpful.
To prevent the illness from spreading, the flannel should be carefully cleansed after use and kept away from others.
Your doctor could recommend a course of antibiotics to help treat the infection and stop it from spreading for bigger or persistent skin abscesses.
In order to avoid re-infection, you may sometimes need to thoroughly wash your body to remove all the germs (decolonisation). You may accomplish this by washing the majority of your body with antiseptic soap and using an antibiotic lotion to the inside of your nose.
Antibiotics may not be sufficient to treat a skin abscess on their own, and the pus may need to be removed in order to eradicate the infection. A skin abscess that is left untreated may continue to enlarge and fill with pus until it bursts, which may be uncomfortable and lead to the infection spreading or returning.
Incision and drainage
If your skin abscess has to be drained, you’ll likely have a little surgery while being sedated. This procedure often uses a local anesthetic, during which you stay awake while the region surrounding the abscess is numbed.
In order to enable the pus to drain out during the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision into the abscess. They could also collect a pus sample for analysis.
The surgeon will use sterile saline to clear the abscess’ hole after all of the pus has been extracted (a salt solution).
To allow for easy drainage of any more pus that develops, the abscess will remain open but be covered with a wound covering. An antiseptic dressing (gauze wick) may be inserted within the incision to keep it open if the abscess is deep.
Possible aftereffects include a little scar.
An internal abscess often requires to have its pus removed, either surgically or percutaneously (percutaneous abscess drainage).
The procedure will be determined by the size and location of the abscess on your body.
In order to assist treat the illness and stop it from spreading, antibiotics are often administered simultaneously. These may be administered as pills or intravenously (intravenously).
Your surgeon may be able to drain an internal abscess if it’s tiny using a fine needle. This may be done with either a local or general anesthetic, depending on where the abscess is located.
To assist guide the needle into the appropriate location, the surgeon may utilize CT or ultrasound images.
The surgeon uses the needle to drain the pus after locating the abscess. A tiny incision may be made in your skin above the abscess, and a drainage catheter—a thin plastic tube—may then be inserted into it.
The catheter, which may need to be maintained in place for up to a week, permits the pus to drain out into a bag.
Although some patients may need to remain in the hospital for a few days, this treatment may be performed as a day-case procedure, allowing you to return home the same day.
Percutaneous drainage may leave a little scar, much like the incision and drainage technique for skin abscesses.
Surgery could be necessary for you if:
Your internal abscess is too big for a needle to empty.
A needle cannot securely access the abscess.
The pus cannot be completely removed by needle drainage.
The kind of internal abscess you have and where it is in your body will determine the sort of surgery you need. In order to enable the pus to be rinsed out, a bigger incision must often be made in your skin.