A skin abscess is a pocket of pus just under the surface of an inflamed section of skin. 

It’s usually triggered by a bacterial infection. The doctor will diagnose your abscess with a physical examination and your medical history. 

Your skin abscess can be cured by Abscess drainage treatment in which the pus under your skin is drained out. Consult our doctor at Medfin to know your treatment options.

What is an Abscess?

An abscess is a collection of pus, bacteria, and debris. The size of an abscess may vary depending on the site of its formation. 

If it is a skin abscess it may appear as a painful red hardened swelling just underneath the skin, warm to the touch. 

An abscess is caused by infections. An abscess can arise on any part of the body. The most common sites are the following:

  • the skin around the armpits
  • in the gums of your teeth
  • the area around your anus and vagina
  • near the groin
  • around the hair follicle otherwise called a furuncle
  • sometimes it occurs near the tip of the spine just above the cleft formed by the buttocks called Pilonidal sinus or abscess

What Causes an Abscess?

The skin is the primary barrier to the body. If this barrier bears trauma, tear, or inflammation, it allows the entry of bacteria. 

The body reacts to this entry of bacteria to kill them, as an inflammatory response mounted by the WBCs (leads to pus formation). 

A block in the sweat or oil (sebaceous) gland, a pre-existing cyst, or a hair follicle may also initiate an abscess formation.

An abscess is the result of a weakened immune system as the body is compromised to tackle infections. Conditions that weaken the immune system include:

  • ​AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Peripheral vascular disorders
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Severe burns
  • Severe trauma
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism or intravenous drug abuse 
  • Chronic steroid therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Poor hygiene

What are the symptoms of an Abscess ?

  • A red painful compressible mass that is warm and tender to touch. The abscess without proper care enlarges or becomes more painful. 

  • Fever (especially in cases where the patient has been diagnosed with chronic disease or has been prescribed steroids, is on chemotherapy, or is undergoing dialysis).

  • Red streaks, indicative of the infection spreading. It can be accompanied by a tender lymph node in the related area.

Who is More Likely to Develop an Abscess?

People with unhygienic habits, weak immune systems, and other underlying serious conditions (e.g. appendicitis can develop into an abscess if the appendix ruptures) are more likely to develop an abscess.

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