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An abscess is a painful, pus-filled infection that commonly forms under the skin. Although home remedies can help to draw out the infection and promote healing, in some cases, professional medical treatment is necessary.

What is an abscess?

An abscess is a pus-filled sore that can occur anywhere on the body. They are most commonly found on the skin, but can also form inside the body, such as in the lining of the intestines or in the uterus. Abscesses are caused by an infection, and often occur after an injury or surgery.

Drainage of an abscess is important in order to clear the infection and allow the wound to heal. Recovery from an abscess drainage is usually fairly quick, although there may be some discomfort and swelling at the incision site.

Causes

There are many different causes of abscesses, but they all involve an infection. The most common cause is bacteria, but abscesses can also be caused by viruses, fungi, and parasites.

Viruses are another common cause of abscesses. They can cause infections on their own or they can weaken the immune system, making it easier for bacteria to cause an infection. Parasites are another possible cause of abscesses. These include worms and mites. 

Types

There are three common types of abscesses:

  1. Internal abscesses: These occur inside your body, most often in your intestines or appendix.
  • External abscesses: These occur on your skin, typically around a hair follicle or sweat gland.
  • Septic abscesses: These are the most serious type of abscess and occur when bacteria from an infection spread through your blood to another part of your body, such as your liver or brain.

How is an abscess drained?

After the abscess is drained, you may need to take antibiotics for a week or two to clear the infection. The wound from the incision will also need to be kept clean and dry in order to prevent infection.

Complications of abscess drainage

These can include infection, bleeding, and damage to surrounding tissues. If the abscess is located near vital structures like blood vessels or nerves, there is a risk of serious damage. In rare cases, abscesses can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by infection. Abscess drainage is generally a safe and effective procedure, but complications can occur. It’s important to be aware of the risks before undergoing treatment.

Recovery from abscess drainage

After your abscess is drained, you will likely feel much better. The pain and pressure should go away. You will need to take care of the drainage site. Keep it clean and dry. You may need to cover it with a bandage. Abscesses can come back. To help prevent this, take good care of your teeth and gums. Brush and floss regularly. 

Prevention of abscess recurrence

First, practice good hygiene by keeping the area clean and free from bacteria. You may also want to avoid activities that could irritate the area, such as sexual activity or using tampons. If you have a recurrent abscess, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue.

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