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Types of abscesses and treatments

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

An abscess is an abnormal formation of tissue in which pus collects. These types of collections can spread to different areas of the body and are often related to a possible infection. Skin abscess, periungual abscess, dental abscess … There are many types of abscesses that we must know.

The place is important, since depending on where the abscess is located, the treatment that must be carried out will be different. This FastlyHeal article explains the types of abscesses and what to do in each case.

Skin abscess

A skin abscess or skin abscess is the collection of pus under the skin. It is usually well circumscribed to one place and is associated with symptoms such as:

  • Swelling of the skin
  • Redness
  • White or yellowish spot in the center of the abscess.
  • Pain.
  • Swelling.

Often for this type of abscess to occur, there is a history of an injury in the area, as a result of a blow, a wound or the bite of an animal. When the skin is injured, it leaves a door in the shape of a boil open for different types of germs to enter.


First of all, you must keep the area clean. It is important to go to a health center to be able to know the severity of the abscess and apply an appropriate treatment. Antibiotics will most likely be necessary , but their choice will depend on the cause of the abscess itself.

Do not take medication without being instructed by a professional. You can take a painkiller at most until you get to the appointment, but it is important not to delay it, especially in cases of low defenses such as diabetes or insulin resistance.

Already in the consultation it is very likely that the abscess will have to be drained , a small incision to favor the exit of pus will quickly relieve the pain you feel in the area.

Periungual abscess

Periungual abscess is a type of abscess that occurs when a collection of pus settles next to a nail . It may have been caused by an injury to the skin next to the nail or a nail infection (often fungal).

The area will be sore, puffy, swollen, and reddish. You can see the yellowish or whitish point in the area of ​​greatest tension.


It is very similar to that performed on a skin abscess: drainage and adequate antibiotics . If there is a fungus on the nail, it should be treated after recovery from the abscess.

You should also know that a periungual abscess affects the natural growth of the nail. It will take a few months until you see your nail in its usual state.

Dental abscess

The dental area can be the seat of various abscesses, depending on their location they can be different types of abscesses:

  • Gingival abscess : it is located in the gum and is usually related to food debris or a foreign object embedded between the gum and the tooth. The previous state of the mouth is usually good.
  • Periodontal abscess : it usually appears in people who have previous dental problems or teeth in poor condition. It can also be caused by the presence of food debris in the area.
  • Periapical abscess : it is the infection with accumulation of pus due to cavities or a piece in poor condition. The infection starts there and spreads to nearby areas.

These are the symptoms of abscess in the dental area that you may feel:

  • Spontaneous pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain on hot or cold stimulus.
  • Inflammation of the gum .
  • Inflammation of the face.
  • Heat in the area.
  • Bleeding
  • Bad taste.
  • Bad breath .
  • General discomfort.


It is important to go to a dental specialist to carefully review your condition and to know what the problem is that causes dental abscess.

It will clean the area and, if there is really an abscess, it will need to be drained; as well as if there is cavities, it will need to be treated. The mouth must be in the best possible condition for the antibiotic to have a good effect.

To prevent this type of abscess, it is important to go to dental consultations frequently. Learn more in the article Tooth abscess: symptoms and treatment .

Peritonsillar and pharyngeal abscess

Repetitive throat infections and improper treatment of them can turn a simple sore throat into a more complicated problem.

  • Peritonsillar abscess : it is an infection deep in the palatine tonsil. In this case there is a lot of pain, difficulty swallowing, fever, only one side of the throat swells and there may even be difficulty opening the mouth (a problem known as trismus).
  • Peripharyngeal abscess : is the extension of an infection along the sides of the pharynx. The pharynx is basically the throat. Through it, food and air pass through, and there will be difficulty swallowing if there is an inflammation of this type. There will also be fever, general malaise, swelling of the throat. It is a serious problem and therefore requires an urgent consultation .
  • Retropharyngeal abscess : the infection goes behind the pharynx and, although it is quite rare, it is more common in children. There will be fever, lack of appetite, irritability.


These types of abscesses are really emergencies , since the airway is at stake. Therefore, it is very important to go to a consultation quickly to treat the abscess.

Drainage of the abscess and antibiotics are usually required, but depending on the case and the severity, hospitalization and drainage in the operating room may be required.

Abdominal abscess

A collection of pus in the belly is an emergency . This type of abscess can be due to a large number of causes such as:

  • Intestinal infection.
  • Appendicitis .
  • Ovarian problems.
  • Gallbladder.
  • Kidneys.
  • Trauma

In case of abdominal abscess, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Constant abdominal pain It can be a sudden pain or come from a few days. It tends to get worse as time goes on.
  • Tightening of the abdomen.
  • Fever .
  • Shaking chills.
  • General discomfort.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea, vomiting


Urgent consultation is usually necessary. Surgery may be required to drain the infection. The patient must remain hospitalized for antibiotics to be administered.

Anorectal abscess

Among the types of abscesses is also the anorectal abscess. An anal fissure, trauma, obstruction of the glands, or a sexually transmitted disease can cause a collection of pus between the anus and the rectum.

Symptoms of anorectal abscess can be:

  • Pain and tenderness in the area.
  • Constipation .
  • Fever.
  • General discomfort.
  • Pus outflow.


Generally, a drainage of the accumulation of pus is needed. This is usually a simple, outpatient procedure, but there are times that hospitalization may be required.

Analgesics, antibiotics and sitz baths are also indicated . But on their own they are usually not enough to end the infection.

Bartholin’s abscess

This type of abscess occurs due to an infection in one of the Bartholin’s glands , which are found next to the vagina. It is usually preceded by a history of cysts or non-painful swellings in the area, produced by the obstruction of the gland.

The process is usually very painful both spontaneously, as when walking or having sexual intercourse. Symptoms such as fever, malaise, and swelling of the Bartholin’s glands are common .


It is important to maintain good hygiene in the area and sitz baths are very useful . What’s more, sometimes just this measure can greatly improve the picture of this type of abscess. It can be made with warm water or infusions of mallow, chamomile or calendula.

As in any accumulation of pus, drainage, antibiotics and analgesics may be required . In recurrent cases, surgery may also be required to keep the gland duct open.

Nervous system abscess

The last type of abscess is that of the nervous system. An infection in this type of tissue is very delicate. It can be located in the spinal cord, in the brain or outside of them (epidural abscess).

Epidural abscess

It is the collection of pus in the epidural space, that is, in the envelopes near the spinal cord and the brain.

It can be due to meningitis , chronic ear or sinus infections, infections in other areas of the body in patients with low defenses, after neurosurgery or trauma, for example. It is a rare disorder.

Among the symptoms of epidural abscess that may appear are:

  • Fever.
  • Decay, general malaise.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pain.
  • Soft spot.
  • Loss of sensation.

Brain abscess

It is the infection with accumulation of purulent material in the brain.

Most of the time it is caused by the spread of an infection in another area of ​​the body, most often from the lungs. But actually different infections in a person with low defenses can cause this problem. Surgery in the area can also be complicated by such an infection. The person who suffers from it will feel the following symptoms:

  • Confusion.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Alteration in language .
  • Fever.
  • Bad general state.
  • Seizures
  • Headache.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Lack of strength or sensitivity.

Spinal cord abscess

The pus is located directly inside the spine. It is not very frequent, but it is very serious.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Loss of strength or sensation.
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Fever.


For all these infections, hospitalization, the administration of analgesics and antibiotics and, generally, surgical drainage are necessary.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of abscesses , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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