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Home :: Abscess

Abscess - Causes And Treatment

When pus accumulates in a tissue, organ, or confined space in the body due to infection, an abscess forms. Abscesses may be located externally or internally, and may result from an injury or a lowered resistance to infection. An abscess can form in the brain, lungs, teeth, gums, underarms, abdominal wall, gastrointestinal tract, ears, tonsils, sinuses, bones, breasts, kidneys, prostate gland, rectum, scrotum, or almost any other body part. Infections are the most common human disorders and can be produced by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A boil is an external (skin) abscess.

The affected area may become swollen, inflamed, hot, red, and tender. The individual may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and alternating bouts of fever and chills. In severe cases, bacteremia (blood infection) and/ or rupture of the abscess can occur. The material inside an abscess consists of living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue, bacteria, and/or toxins-all of which need to be discarded from the body.

An abscess that appears suddenly (in a matter of a few hours or overnight) is said to be acute. If an abscess has been present for a period of days or weeks, it is termed chronic. Chronic abscesses are more resistant to treatment because the damage is more severe and/or widespread. Acute abscesses are less extensive and generally respond to treatment within a matter of days.

An abscess, if treated, should begin to heal in a few days. Usually there is complete healing in a week or two. An abscess that does not show any signs of healing within this time can be an indication of problems within the immune system. Complications, although rare, can include bleeding or recurrence of the abscess.

Acute dental abscesses can be characterized by inflamed, red, and tender gums. The affected tooth may be sensitive or loose, and a dull pain is often present. A periodontal abscess can cause an overall sick feeling accompanied by fever and swollen lymph glands. However, chronic dental abscesses often produce no symptoms and are harder to treat than acute abscesses, as they have been present longer and have had the chance to do more extensive damage.

Basically, an abscess is a sign that the body is trying to rid itself of impurities. The impurities may be half-starved cells, deficient in nutrients such as sulfur, or toxins that accumulate because of a failure of the normal eliminative processes. Such a situation often stems from poor diet and exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals, and other harmful substances. Eating junk food not only clutters the system with foods lacking in nutrients, but prevents the cellular wastes from being eliminated efficiently by causing such problems as constipation and sluggish liver, spleen, and kidney function

Nutritional treatment of abscess by herbs and vitamins

  • The following herbs are beneficial for healing abscesses and cleansing the blood: burdock root, cayenne (capsicum), dandelion root, red clover, and yellow dock root.
  • Chamomile tea is good for treating dental abscesses. Drink a cup three or four times daily. If your face is swollen from the infection, chamomile can be prepared as a poultice and applied to the outside of the cheek once or twice a day for five to ten minutes until the infection is gone.
  • If you must take antibiotics, supplement your diet with the B vitamins and products containing "friendly" bacteria, such as acidophilus and yogurt.
  • Taking 400-600 IU daily Vitamin E is important in circulation and tissue oxygenation. Enhances promotes healing. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.
  • Taking 80mg zinc daily, in divided doses, is helpful.
  • Milk thistle, taken in capsule form, is good for the liver and aids in cleansing the bloodstream.
  • Add kelp to the diet for beneficial minerals.
  • For an external abscess, apply honey to the affected area. Honey destroys bacteria and viruses, apparently by drawing all the moisture out of them.

Considerations and prevention tips

  • For very mild external abscesses, the application of heat from a warm-water soak, along with improved nutrition, can usually provide sufficient treatment. Most abscesses, however, require treatment with antibiotics or herbs. Taking acidophilus and B vitamins and increasing your intake of liquids can often aid in the healing process. In some cases, the abscess may have to be lanced (pierced), drained, deep-cleaned, and treated with antibiotics.
  • To heal an abscess, you may have to get plenty of bed rest, drink plenty of fluids, and use warm-water packs, ice packs, hot baths, a heating pad, or a heat lamp to alleviate the pain.
  • Deep abscesses must be watched to ensure that they are not affecting or obstructing the function of deeper tissues and organs.
  • Some abscesses may be prevented by good hygiene and careful cleansing of the skin to prevent a wound or injury from becoming infected.
  • Good dental hygiene can help prevent dental abscesses. This includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental checkups.

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