What is it like to have an abscess

abscess

The main cause of abscesses are bacteria that get into the tissue - for example through small injuries to the skin and mucous membrane or through foreign bodies that have entered. To prevent the germs from spreading, the immune system becomes active and triggers an inflammatory reaction.
In the course of this, the defense cells melt the affected tissue and encapsulate it from the healthy environment. This creates a cavity that is filled with pus. The pus itself consists of dead tissue, defense cells and the remains of bacteria.

Abscesses can basically develop anywhere in the human body. In some regions, however, they develop preferentially because there are conditions that favor their emergence.

This includes:

Abscess on the buttocks and anus

Abscesses on the bottom are particularly common due to contact with the stool, which is rich in bacteria. They are mostly located in the area of ​​the anus. Because there are good conditions for the growth of bacteria due to the tightness and the anal glands secreting a secretion.

If the sensitive mucous membrane is injured - for example through frequent visits to the toilet or hard toilet paper - the germs can penetrate from the intestine and cause inflammation. This type of abscess, which affects men between 30 and 50 years of age more than average, is what doctors call perianal or periproctic abscess. An abscess on the buttocks or anus can also be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease.

Abscess in the genital area and groin

Due to the trend towards shaving the genital area, abscesses on the vagina, scrotum and in the groin region are becoming more and more common. Shaving causes small injuries that are a portal for bacteria to enter. Tight, abrasive clothing and poor hygiene also promote the development of abscesses in this area. The same applies to acne inversa, a form of the skin disease acne, which can be very stressful for those affected.

Abscess on the coccyx

An abscess on the coccyx is usually associated with a coccyx fistula. With such a so-called pilonidal sinus, a hair grows into the skin of the buttock fold. This creates a channel to the surface of the skin through which bacteria can penetrate and cause an abscess. Obese, middle-aged men are particularly likely to have an abscess on the tailbone.

Abscess under the armpit

Because of the increased perspiration and the poor ventilation, the armpit offers good growth conditions for bacteria. Similar to the genital area, the development of the often very painful abscesses under the armpits is favored by shaving and abrasive clothing.

Abscess on the face and ear

Facial abscesses in men are often caused by shaving-related injuries and ingrown whiskers. Other possible causes that can affect both sexes are acne and chronic skin diseases such as neurodermatitis. Abscesses on or in the nose and in the ear are usually boils, behind which there is a bacterial infection in the area of ​​the hair follicle.

Abscess on the abdomen and other areas of the skin

Abscesses are less common in areas of the skin that are not very hairy and do not belong to the genital area or the anal region, but they also occur. A waistband that is too tight or a belt buckle that is too tight can cause an abscess on the abdomen.

Abscess in the chest

The main reason for a breast abscess is puerperal mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary gland. The actually harmless disease, which disappears quickly with appropriate treatment, is caused by the fact that bacteria penetrate the glandular ducts of the female breast during breastfeeding and trigger inflammation there. In the worst case, it will develop into an abscess in the chest.

Abscess on the tooth and tonsils

The oral cavity and throat are heavily colonized with bacteria and are therefore prone to abscesses. The often very painful abscesses on the tooth or in the gums can result, for example, from an inflamed tooth root or an inflammation of the gums (periodontitis).

If the abscess occurs on the tonsils, on the palate and on the tissue surrounding them, doctors speak of a tonsillar abscess. The disease, which is most common in adolescents and young adults, causes a fever, difficulty swallowing, and a severe sore throat. The harbinger of an abscess of the tonsils is usually a cold with a sore throat.

Abscess in the intestine

Diverticulitis is often behind an abscess in the intestine. This disease, which is particularly common among the elderly, causes protuberances in the intestinal wall - so-called diverticula - that become inflamed. Inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease can also lead to an abscess in the bowel.

Abscess associated with other diseases

Diabetes mellitus, HIV infection, alcoholism, cancer therapies, organ transplants - diseases and therapies that weaken the immune system can promote the development of abscesses. The same applies to various skin diseases such as neurodermatitis and acne or to Crohn's disease. Therefore, patients who repeatedly suffer from abscesses should definitely have the cause clarified by a doctor.