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Advanced, minimally invasive treatments at affordable costs only at Medfin.

Diagnosis of an abscess primarily consists of a physical examination and understanding of the patient's medical history by a doctor. Medical history collection may include

  • ​When the abscess took form.
  • If it was formed after an injury or trauma.
  • Medications the patient has been taking and for how long.
  • Does the patient have any allergies?
  • Was there an incidence of fever?

Physical examinations by a doctor may include:

  • ​Abscess in the arm or leg: the lymph node in the armpit or groin, respectively is palpated.
  • Abscess near the anus: rectal examination

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

Treatment for the abscess involves draining it. However, this should not be attempted at home by squeezing or puncturing the abscess. 

Squeezing the abscess could also lead to the spread of infection within the surrounding tissues. A trained doctor only should drain the abscess.

To drain the abscess, the doctor first numbs the area around the abscess using a local anesthetic. This will make the procedure painless for the patient. 

The area is disinfected and sterile towels are placed surrounding the affected area. The doctor then cuts the abscess to drain the pus and accumulated debris. 

Once drained, it is packed with surgical material that allows the infection to continue to drain. The packing is then bandaged with instructions given to the patient for care at home. 

The doctor may prescribe painkillers and antibiotics during the aftercare period.

  • 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.

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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