An abscess is a painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses can develop anywhere in the body.
This article focuses on two types of abscess:
This topic covers:
When to see your GP
Other types of abscess
A skin abscessoften appears as aswollen, pus-filled lump under the surface of the skin. You may also have other symptoms of an infection, such as a high temperature (fever) and chills.
It's more difficult to identify an abscess inside the body, but signs include:
They can examine a skin abscess or refer you to hospital if you may have an internal abscess.
There are several tests available to help diagnose an abscess, depending on where it's located.
Read about diagnosing an abscess .
Most abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection.
When bacteria enter your body, your immune system sends infection-fighting white blood cells to the affected area.
As the white blood cells attack the bacteria, some nearby tissue dies, creating a holewhich thenfills with pus to form an abscess.The pus contains a mixture of dead tissue, white blood cells and bacteria.
Internal abscesses often develop as a complication of an existing condition, such as an infection elsewhere in your body. For example, if your appendix bursts as a result of appendicitis , bacteriacan spread inside your tummy (abdomen) and cause an abscess to form.
Read about the causes of abscesses .
A small skin abscess may drain naturally, or simply shrink, dry upanddisappear without any treatment.
However, larger abscessesmayneedto be treated with antibiotics to clear the infection, and the pus may need to be drained. This will usually be done either by inserting a needle through your skin or by making a small incision in the skin over the abscess.
If you use tissues to wipe any pus away from your abscess, dispose of them straight away to avoid germs spreading. Wash your hands after you've disposed of the tissues.
Take care when shaving your face, legs, underarm areas or bikini area to avoid nicking your skin. Clean any wounds immediately and visit your GP or local NHS walk-in centre if you think there may be something trapped in your skin. Don't share razors or toothbrushes.
Itmay also help to reduce your risk ofskin abscesses by:
It's difficult to prevent internal abscesses, as they're often complications of other conditions.
There are many other types of abscess not fullycovered here, including:
An abscess is a painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection. An abscess is a painful collection of pus caused by bacteria, which can develop in any part of the body. There are several tests available to help diagnose an abscess, depending on where it's located.
The symptoms manifested depend on the localization of the abscess. The abscess may develop: on the skin, in an internal organ, between organs, etc. The basic symptoms of an abscess are: swelling, reddening, pain, heat, as well as loss of cellular function (tumor et rubor cun dolore et calore et funksio laeze).
Most abscesses are caused by an infection with either staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. Usually, one of the main causes of abscesses are the staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria are found on the skin, and when or if the skin becomes damaged (as in a wound, a rash, scratch, or a malfunction in the sweat glands), they may enter and cause a bacterial infection at the site of damage.
See your GP if you think you may have an abscess. There are several tests used to diagnose an abscess, depending on where it's located. If a patch of skin has become swelled, is red, warm, painful and fluid-filled to the touch. Skin abscesses are easy to diagnose since they are visible. Abscesses that occur internally are more difficult to diagnose, and pose far more dangerous symptoms to the patient.
Abscesses can be treated in a number of different ways, depending on the type of abscess and how large it is. "Ubipus ibi evacuo", which means where there is pus, drainage is necessary. After all of the pus has been drained, the wound needs to be treated regularly until all of the infection has cleared, and depending on the size and location of the abscess, taking antibiotics may be necessary. In internal abscesses, surgery is necessary.