You are worried about this small mass of tissue under your armpit, thinking that a cancerous cyst has just formed. You start thinking about your future (or what can be left of it), the money for your treatment, hair loss due to chemotherapy and being terminally ill in general. You even want to kill yourself for such misfortune, but only because you are missing one thing: your doctor’s opinion.
It is too early to tell and besides, who knows, after all the panic attacks, it is just abscess?
An abscess refers to a tender mass of debris and pus, that looks pink or deep red, and is easily pressed. You can find abscess anywhere in your body, as it commonly grows around your armpits, anus, vagina, bass of spinal column, tooth or groin.
An abscess is caused by a blockage in the sebaceous glands or sweat glands, minor punctures of the skin, little breaks and inflammation of hair follicles. An inflammation arises once your body tries to fight the germs that penetrate into the said glands.
If you open an abscess, you will find bacteria, dead cells and other debris in it. Your abscess will start bothering you as it grows bigger everyday. It will completely catch your attention as the presence of tension under your skin can no longer be ignored. You start feeling the pain coming from an affected area, caused by a combination of inflammation and pressure.
If you are suffering from severe trauma, severe burbs, ulcerative colitis, peripheral vascular disorders, leukemia, sickle cell disease, AIDS, cancer or are going through either chemotherapy or chronic steroid therapy, then you are most likely to have abscess. If not, you still have a fat chance of acquiring an abscess if your immune system is weak. Get rid of abscess right away by following these tips:
Abscess Treatment Tips
Incision and Drainage — You have to go through inspection to determine if the cause of your abscess is a foreign object that needs to be removed. If the cause is not a foreign object, then your doctor will have to drain the abscess through incision. He or she will also prescribe some antibiotics and painkillers when necessary.
Draining your abscess through surgery is required once the abscess has transformed from a serious inflammation to a pus stage, or from hard abscess to soft. An indication that a surgery is needed is when you see or hear the aphorism “ubi pus, ibi evacua”from your doctor and you are sure that he is talking about your condition.
Sometimes, surgery comes with high risks. If this is the case, your doctor will definitely think of other ways to treat your condition. Surgery becomes your last resort, or gets delayed, to say the least. When your doctor drains your abscess, you will be requested to position your body in a way that allows the discharge of contents coming from your respiratory tract. If you have skin abscess, elevation of the limb and the use of warm compress are necessary.
Primary Closure –– When antibiotics and curettage are combined with primary closure, this method is always known to be reliable. In fact, primary closure combined with curettage alone is already effective in treating abscess. If your condition is an anorectal abscess, you can definitely depend on primary closure for treatment as the condition is proven to heal faster using the said treatment method.
Antibiotics — One of the most common causes of abscess is a type of bacteria called staphylococcus aureus penetrating into the skin. With that, antibiotics like dicloxacillin or flucloxacillin are used. The problem today is treating abscess caused by another type of bacteria called MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus which antibiotics like dicloxacillin or flucloxacillin can’t cure. The good news is, there are new antibiotics discovered to fight MRSA like doxycycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and clindamycin.
Because of the low pH levels of these antibiotics, it is almost impossible for them to penetrate into the abscess. To make efficient use of antibiotics, surgery will still be required. Surgical drainage must be employed and the use of antibiotics comes in only when the abscess won’t go away after surgery.
Treating Recurrent Infections – If your abscess keeps on coming back, it only means one thing. Your condition is caused by MRSA, a type of bacteria you acquire from your community and the environment. MRSA is resistant to antibiotics used for skin infections. Your only choice is to resort to other antibiotics like Cleocin, Bactrim and Doxycycline.
Recurrent infection can be avoided, so why not consider some measures to prevent it rather than trying all possible antibiotics to cure it? First, you can apply topical mupirocin to the nares. You can use nasal mupirocin two times a day, five days in a month, for the whole year round. If not, have some chlorhexidine baths. Chlorhexidine baths accompanied with mupirocin ointment will definitely work wonders when it comes to sure prevention and easy treatment.
Magnesium Sulfate Paste – Historically, abscess was always treated with magnesium sulfate paste. It not only treated abscess, but also boils and other diseases characterized by a collection of pus as well. Magnesium sulfate paste draws the infected pus to your skin’s surface, before it breaks and leaks out of your skin. Your body, on the other hand, repairs the old cavity. You can now see that magnesium sulfate paste is best applied on the affected area at night. Make sure that you cover it with a sterile dressing. While the rupture may not cause too much pain, you may feel uncomfortable as the ointment draws the pus to the surface of your skin. You can consider the use of magnesium sulfate as home remedy.
Managing Perianal Abscess – If you have diabetes, Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel disease, you are most likely to have perianal abscess. Your hard stool or ulceration can cause an internal wound. Infection of the wound is expected because of the presence of feces, resulting to abscess. Your abscess will look like a lump of tissue growing more painful and larger over time. Perenial abscess needs lancing, debridement or incision.
Abscess can look scary if you are not aware of other conditions and diseases that demonstrate the same symptoms that cancer does. Sometimes, that tender mass of tissue is not even abscess, but lymph nodes. Don’t worry too much, specially not about something you are not sure about. Talk to your doctor, and demand for second or third opinion if you are not convinced. Keep your cool when going through the treatment process of whatever condition or disease you may have acquired. If you’re interested in reading this article, you might as well read how to heal an infection.