Peri Anal Abscess

An abscess can develop in various parts of the body. An operation may be needed to drain the pus. One may also need to take medicines called antibiotics.

Understanding an abscess and its causes
An abscess is a collection of pus. Pus is a thick fluid that usually contains white blood cells, dead tissue and germs (bacteria). The usual cause of an abscess is an infection with bacteria. Certain bacteria are more likely to be ‘pus-forming’ as they make chemicals (toxins) that can damage the body’s tissues.

The infection causes the immune system to activate white blood cells and chemicals to fight the bacteria. In this ‘battle’ some tissue dies. A cavity forms and fills with pus. The cavity becomes bigger if the infection continues.

Location of abscesses Most abscesses form just under the skin. A boil is the most common example. In this case, a hair root becomes infected and develops into a small abscess. A gland just below the skin at the entrance to the vagina can get infected and develop into a Bartholin’s abscess. The symptoms of a skin abscess include swelling, redness, pain and warmth over the affected area.

IAn abscess sometimes forms inside the body within an organ or in a space between organs. Various symptoms may occur, depending on the site of the abscess. Infection in the liver, for example, can result in a liver abscess. An ultrasound scan or other types of scan can confirm a suspected abscess. If infection occurs in the gums or teeth a dental abscess can develop.

Proneness to abscesses
Most skin abscesses occur in people who are otherwise well. There is often no underlying cause, and no further problems usually occur once it has gone. Recurring skin abscesses may be the first indication of a problem with one’s immune system. Abscesses are also more common in diabetics so patient may need to be tested for diabetes.

An abscess inside the body usually occurs in people who are ill with other problems, or in people whose immune system is not working well. For example, a lung abscess may form following a bout of pneumonia; a brain abscess may form after a penetrating head wound (an injury in which the outer covering of the brain is pierced), etc.

Doctoring an abscess
Antibiotics are usually prescribed and the pus usually needs to be drained away. For a skin abscess, this involves a small operation to cut the top of the skin and allow the pus to drain. A scar will form as the skin heals. Amore sophisticated operation is needed to drain an abscess from inside the body. The techniques vary, depending on the site of the abscess.

What would happen if an abscess were not treated?
A skin abscess would normally eventually burst on to the skin surface and let out the pus. This may be after it becomes larger and more painful. So, antibiotics and surgical drainage are usually best. However, a small boil may burst and heal without treatment. An untreated abscess inside the body is usually very serious. One is likely to become very ill and treatment is usually needed.