What is an abscess?

Let’s be honest, unless you’re a doctor or work in healthcare, the chances are that you’ve never heard of an abscess. Don’t worry; this article has got your back! In this piece, we’re going to explain what exactly an abscess is and why it causes a lot more trouble than just being another funny-sounding word.

The Basics

An abscess refers to a localized collection of pus within tissue. Sounds disgusting already? It gets worse! This formation occurs usually as a response to infection and may occur anywhere on the body ranging from tooth roots, appendixes to even the brain!

But What Exactly Is Pus?

Who says science can’t be gross? For our readers out there looking for some solid medical definitions that they can’t wait share later over happy hour drinks: Pus is a thick fluid created by bacterial activity and dead white blood cells at sites of infection or trauma.

While different people might have slightly varying experiences – typically speaking – if there’s any wound with swelling/damage/infected/etc., the human body responds with inflammation characterized by heat, redness, pain and loss of function/mobility which serves as useful symptoms while dealing with injuries/surgical incisions etc.

Let’s Take A Closer Look

Have you ever accidentally left food outside too long during summer and seen mold grow on it after? That musty smell could remind one person “eww” but let me tell you biology geeks appreciate the beauty in bacteria blooms! Our bodies do similar things when infected except instead of mold growing — bacteria/bacterial colonies take up residence (/ host open houses) almost like small armies homesteading land – setting up partitions known as biofilms/walls preventing penetration/member-only access.

The unfortunate part? Often times depending on how well equipped these armies (not immune cells, the other guys) are and what’s being thrown at them (antibiotic, sanitizer etc.), these partitions will hold strong resulting in abscesses that could take a lot of different road to recovery.


There’s no shortage of ways an abscess can form which is both ironic and mildly concerning given how quickly people generally recover from forgetting their google passwords. But I digress; here are few possible causes:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Bacterial activity
  3. Poor hygienic practices
  4. Injury or trauma
  5. Immune system deficiencies?

Yeah… it turns out that sometimes our immune systems – despite all the hard work they do every day fighting off colds and flus ҉̵̞(︶ꔢ︶👀)҉̵ – just doesn’t work sufficiently against harmful bacteria that infiltrates.

Morale of the story? Wash hands daily folks!

An interesting tidbit: Dental problems such as tooth decay/gum disease could also result in this nasty infection! Never underestimate oral health!!

Symptoms & Diagnosing Abscesses

Okay…let’s skip straight into symptoms just because talking about moldy food was a bit too gross for Monday mornings:

  • Painful swelling/lump with redness around affected area.
  • Fever(-ish 😳).
  • Warmth near throbbing/painful bump spot.
  • Experiencing Toothaches/absentee from eating due to pain when chomping down on food.

While not always accurate, associated high temperature or blue discolorations[https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151739#causes-of-blue-skin] may require professional inputs under most situations while experiencing any painful bumps/swellings/spots/regional inflammation.

Medical professionals would use one or more diagnosis tests like CT Scans/UItrasound/Microbiological cultures/Blood Tests for diagnosis of Abscesses. Just FYI– self-diagnosis can be as dangerous (if not more) than going on a first date with someone citing astrology memes.


Seeing your medical professional is the best way to get effective treatment options but here’s some basic treatments that could work:

Medications and Draining

Many times, WBC unleashes itself against bacteria trying to invade the body. Pain relief through medications along with drainage procedures— where pus-filled abscess puss pocket(s), or even cysts appear can help relieve pains felt by this bacterial/foreign invasion.


When other means don’t seem to really cut it – surgery then comes in play as absolute trump card. Depending location/time/potential future implications, sometimes surgical operations are just what WE perceive needs happening before everything goes bonkers! However, usually performed in hospital settings under general anesthesia/infection control measures etc., you might need more days extending typical hospital stays depending on severity and recovery process.

And there you have it — a hopefully engaging guide into what exactly an abscess is! In conclusion…

  1. Abscess formation derives from localized bacterial breach creating housing (“gang-dom” like feature).
  2. It’s important to prioritize hygiene practices early on – brush twice daily 🙂.
  3. Lastly? Dentist trips may be worth it after all 🦷💁‍♀️!
  4. Don’t forget — if randomly running a temperature or experiencing swelling out of nowhere isn’t thrilling enough- reach out promptly for professional inputs if necessary over hearing only friendly neighbor advice…
  5. Wash Your Hands!!!!!!! ✨
    6.Nurse your wounds IMMEDIATELY 😱

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