What is Abscess?

A painful collection of pus anywhere in the body caused by bacterial infection is called abscess. This collection of the pus is within the tissue. While pressing, you can feel the swelling. There are mainly two types of abscess:

  • Skin abscesses: They develop under the skin

  • Internal abscesses: They develop inside the body, in an organ or in the spaces between organs.

Among the two, skin abscess is more common.


Some common symptoms of abscess are:

  • Swollen pus-filled lump.
  • High fever.
  • Chills.
  • Pain in the affected area.
  • Redness.
  • Feels warm and tender when touched.


An abscess is caused as a result of the body’s defense to kill bacteria that enter the skin through minor breaks and punctures, or through inflammation of hair follicles or obstruction of oil glands on the skin. As a response, the body’s immune system tries to kill these germs with an inflammation. Patients suffering from the below mentioned issues may be more prone to more severe abscesses:

  • Cancer.
  • Weak immune system.
  • AIDS.
  • Diabetes.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Leukemia.
  • Severe burns.
  • Alcohol consumption and drug abuse.


Some common risks of abscess are:

  • Pain.
  • Erythema (redness of the skin).
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Pus filled wound.
  • Hardening of tissues around the area.


Follow the aforementioned measures to avoid abscess:

  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Wash your skin regularly with soap and water.
  • Healthy diet.
  • Exercise to maintain a fit lifestyle.

How is it diagnosed?

For skin abscess, our doctor at Medanta usually follows the following methods:


How is it treated?

In some cases, skin abscesses may drain naturally without the need for treatment. In the case of large abscesses the following modes of treatment are followed:


  • Antibiotics

    For large and stubborn abscesses, the doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to help clear the infection and prevent it from spreading.

  • Drainage procedure

    Mostly the doctors use open and drain treatment for curing an abscess because antibiotics are not effective all the time. It is necessary to remove any foreign material present in an abscess. For this, incision and drainage is used. In this process, contents are discharged through the respiratory tract. For internal abscess, the doctor uses a needle inserted through the skin which is called percutaneous abscess drainage. It is done under local anesthesia.

  • Surgery

    In severe cases, surgery may be required. The type of surgery will depend on the location of the abscess in the body.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should contact a doctor, in case of a fever more than 101.5 F, when you have red or pink streak away from the abscess, when the abscess is near the rectal or groin area, or when the sore continues to enlarge.

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