What Are the Common Symptoms of an Abscess?

Jacob Queen

The primary symptoms of an abscess have to do with the sore itself. An abscess is an infection that results in a lump that is often filled with puss. In many cases, the symptoms will vary depending on the location and severity of the infection. Some of the classic symptoms of an abscess can include pain, fever, and fatigue. More severe symptoms can potentially develop with abscesses on internal organs, and those will vary depending on the organ in question.

Pieces of food may get caught in an abscess and cause an infection.
Pieces of food may get caught in an abscess and cause an infection.

One of the most common types of abscesses is an abscessed tooth. The symptoms of an abscess in the case of a tooth are usually related to extreme pain. There are generally a lot of nerves around the roots of teeth, and the swelling of an abscess can easily apply pressure to these nerves. This pain is often so severe that some sort of medical attention may be required. It is also very common for an abscess in the tooth to result in a high fever.

An abscessed tooth typically requires treatment by a dentist.
An abscessed tooth typically requires treatment by a dentist.

When the symptoms of an abscess get bad enough to require medical treatment, doctors will normally prescribe antibiotics. Most abscesses are caused by bacterial infections, and antibiotics are the most common method of dealing with any kind of bacteria-related illness. In some cases, abscesses may require lancing in order to heal. This procedure involves cutting the abscess open and allowing any fluids to drain out. This is an especially common treatment for abscesses on the skin.

An abscessed tooth may cause the lymph nodes to swell.
An abscessed tooth may cause the lymph nodes to swell.

It is not uncommon for someone to try draining an abscess on her own without medical assistance using needles or other household items. This is often discouraged, because it can lead to more severe infections, and it can also cause a spread of the infection. If an abscess drains on its own without medical assistance, that isn’t generally something to be concerned about. If there are red lines on the skin around an abscess, that can be a sign of the infection spreading, and this is usually considered a good reason to get medical treatment.

Taking a hot bath may help fight a skin abscess.
Taking a hot bath may help fight a skin abscess.

Sometimes an abscess can be a sign of a more serious illness. An example would be tuberculosis, which can potentially cause abscesses. There are also abscesses that are caused by things other than bacterial infections. For example, there are some abscesses that are caused by fungal infections, and these may require different medical approaches.

An abscessed tooth is one of the more common types of abscesses, and usually results in extreme pain.
An abscessed tooth is one of the more common types of abscesses, and usually results in extreme pain.
Pain, fever, and fatigue are among the classic symptoms of an abscess.
Pain, fever, and fatigue are among the classic symptoms of an abscess.
A warm compress may be used to treat an abscess.
A warm compress may be used to treat an abscess.

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