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Abscess Symptoms | Cause | Prevention | Treatment | Medication

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

The abscess is also called as #abscesses, #boils, #carbuncles, #furuncles, #hidradenitis suppurativa, #pilonidal abscess, #pustules, #whiteheads. A skin abscess is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. Abscesses are often easy to feel by touching.

The vast majority of them are caused by infections. Inside, they are full of pus, bacteria, and debris. Painful and warm to touch, abscesses can show up anyplace on your body. The most common sites on the skin in your armpits (axillae), areas around your anus and vagina (Bartholin gland abscess), the base of your spine (pilonidal abscess), around a tooth (dental abscess), and in your groin. Inflammation around a hair follicle can also lead to the formation of an abscess, which is called a boil (furuncle). Unlike other infections, antibiotics alone will not usually cure an abscess. In general, an abscess must open and drain in order for it to improve. Sometimes draining occurs on its own, but generally, it must be opened with the help of a warm compress or by a doctor in a procedure called incision and drainage (I&D).

What are the causes of an abscess?

When our normal skin barrier is broken, even from minor trauma, or small tears, or inflammation, bacteria can enter the skin. An abscess can form as your body's defenses try to kill these germs with your inflammatory response (white blood cells = pus). Obstruction in a sweat or oil (sebaceous) gland, or a hair follicle or a pre-existing cyst can also trigger an abscess. The middle of the abscess liquefies and contains dead cells, bacteria, and other debris. This area begins to grow, creating tension under the skin and further inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Pressure and inflammation cause pain. People with weakened immune systems get certain abscesses more often. Those with any of the following are all at risk of having more severe abscesses. This is because the body has a decreased ability to ward off infections.

  • Chronic steroid therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • AIDS

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Peripheral vascular disorders

  • Crohn's disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Severe burns

  • Severe trauma

  • Alcoholism or IV drug abuse

  • Obesity

Other risk factors for abscess include exposure to a dirty environment, exposure to persons with certain types of skin infections, poor hygiene, and poor circulation.

Abscess Symptoms:

Most often, an abscess becomes a painful, compressible mass that is red, warm to touch, and tender.

  • As some abscesses progress, they may "point" and come to a head so you can see the material inside and then spontaneously open (rupture).

  • Most will continue to get worse without care. The infection can spread to the tissues under the skin and even into the bloodstream.

  • If the infection spreads into deeper tissue, you may develop a fever and begin to feel ill.

Abscess Treatment: Self-Care at Home:

  • If the abscess is small (less than 1 cm or less than a half-inch across), applying warm compresses to the area for about 30 minutes 4 times daily may help.

  • Do not attempt to drain the abscess by squeezing or pressing on it. This can push the infected material into the deeper tissues.

  • Do not stick a needle or other sharp instrument into the abscess center, because you may injure an underlying blood vessel or cause the infection to spread.

When to Seek Medical Care:

Call your doctor if any of the following occur with an abscess:

  • You have a sore larger than 1 cm or a half-inch across.

  • The sore continues to enlarge or becomes more painful.

  • The sore is on or near your rectal or groin area.

  • You develop a fever.

  • You notice red streaks, which can mean the infection is spreading.

  • You have any of the medical conditions listed above.

Go to a hospital’s Emergency Department if any of these conditions occur with an abscess:

  • Fever of 102°F or higher, especially if you have a chronic disease or are on steroids, chemotherapy, or dialysis.

  • A red streak leading away from the sore or with tender lymph nodes (lumps) in an area anywhere between the abscess and your chest area (for example, an abscess on your leg can cause swollen lymph nodes in your groin area).

  • Any facial abscess larger than 1 cm or a half-inch across.


  • Maintain good personal hygiene by washing your skin with soap and water regularly.

  • Take care to avoid nicking yourself when shaving your underarms or pubic area.

  • Seek immediate medical attention for any puncture wounds, especially if you think there may be some debris in the wound.

  • The puncture wound was caused by a bite - human, insect, or animal.

  • Many people require antibiotics, but you may not.

  • The pain often improves immediately and subsides more each day.

  • Wound care instructions from your doctor may include wound repacking, soaking, washing, or bandaging for about 7 to 10 days. This usually depends on the size and severity of the abscess.

  • After the first 2 days, drainage from the abscess should be minimal to none. All sores should heal in 10-14 days.

Ayurvedic Medicament for Abscess:

Arogyavardhini Vati, Gandhak Rasayan, Ras Sindur, Trifala Guggul, Jatyadi Tel, Panchgun Tel.


The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. We do not recommend any of the above medicines to directly intake or to do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of kids-health and/or colic pain without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime.

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