Tag Archives: Abscess

Abcess

Definition
An abscess is an enclosed collection of liquefied tissue, known as pus, somewhere in the body. It is the result of the body’s defensive reaction to foreign material.

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An abscess (Latin: abscessus) is a collection of pus (dead neutrophils) that has accumulated in a cavity formed by the tissue on the basis of an infectious process (usually caused by bacteria or parasites) or other foreign materials (e.g. splinters, bullet wounds, or injecting needles). It is a defensive reaction of the tissue to prevent the spread of infectious materials to other parts of the body.

The organisms or foreign materials kill the local cells, resulting in the release of toxins. The toxins trigger an inflammatory response, which draws large numbers of white blood cells to the area and increases the regional blood flow.

The final structure of the abscess is an abscess wall, or capsule, that is formed by the adjacent healthy cells in an attempt to keep the pus from infecting neighboring structures. However, such encapsulation tends to prevent immune cells from attacking bacteria in the pus, or from reaching the causative organism or foreign object.

Abscesses must be differentiated from empyemas, which are accumulations of pus in a preexisting rather than a newly formed anatomical cavity.

Description
There are two types of abscesses, septic and sterile. Most abscesses are septic, which means that they are the result of an infection. Septic abscesses can occur anywhere in the body. Only a germ and the body’s immune response are required. In response to the invading germ, white blood cells gather at the infected site and begin producing chemicals called enzymes that attack the germ by digesting it. These enzymes act like acid, killing the germs and breaking them down into small pieces that can be picked up by the circulation and eliminated from the body. Unfortunately, these chemicals also digest body tissues. In most cases, the germ produces similar chemicals. The result is a thick, yellow liquid—pus—containing digested germs, digested tissue, white blood cells, and enzymes.

An abscess is the last stage of a tissue infection that begins with a process called inflammation. Initially, as the invading germ activates the body’s immune system, several events occur:

*Blood flow to the area increases.
*The temperature of the area increases due to the increased blood supply.
*The area swells due to the accumulation of water, blood, and other liquids.
*It turns red.
*It hurts, because of the irritation from the swelling and the chemical activity.

These four signs—heat, swelling, redness, and pain— characterize inflammation.

As the process progresses, the tissue begins to turn to liquid, and an abscess forms. It is the nature of an abscess to spread as the chemical digestion liquefies more and more tissue. Furthermore, the spreading follows the path of least resistance—the tissues most easily digested. A good example is an abscess just beneath the skin. It most easily continues along beneath the skin rather than working its way through the skin where it could drain its toxic contents. The contents of the abscess also leak into the general circulation and produce symptoms just like any other infection. These include chills, fever, aching, and general discomfort.

Sterile abscesses are sometimes a milder form of the same process caused not by germs but by non-living irritants such as drugs. If an injected drug like penicillin is not absorbed, it stays where it was injected and may cause enough irritation to generate a sterile abscess— sterile because there is no infection involved. Sterile abscesses are quite likely to turn into hard, solid lumps as they scar, rather than remaining pockets of pus.

Manifestations
The cardinal symptoms and signs of any kind of inflammatory process are redness, heat, swelling, pain and loss of function. Abscesses may occur in any kind of solid tissue but most frequently on skin surface (where they may be superficial pustules (boils) or deep skin abscesses), in the lungs, brain, teeth, kidneys and tonsils. Major complications are spreading of the abscess material to adjacent or remote tissues and extensive regional tissue death (gangrene). Abscesses in most parts of the body rarely heal themselves, so prompt medical attention is indicated at the first suspicion of an abscess.


Causes and symptoms

Many different agents cause abscesses. The most common are the pus-forming (pyogenic) bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, which is nearly always the cause of abscesses under the skin. Abscesses near the large bowel, particularly around the anus, may be caused by any of the numerous bacteria found within the large bowel. Brain abscesses and liver abscesses can be caused by any organism that can travel there through the circulation. Bacteria, amoeba, and certain fungi can travel in this fashion. Abscesses in other parts of the body are caused by organisms that normally inhabit nearby structures or that infect them. Some common causes of specific abscesses are:

*skin abscesses by normal skin flora….CLICK & SEE
*dental and throat abscesses by mouth flora....CLICK & SEE
*lung abscesses by normal airway flora, pneumonia germs, or tuberculosis ...CLICK & SEE
*abdominal and anal abscesses by normal bowel flora…..…..CLICK & SEE


Specific types of abscesses

Listed below are some of the more common and important abscesses.

*Carbuncles and other boils. Skin oil glands (sebaceous glands) on the back or the back of the neck are the ones usually infected. The most common germ involved is Staphylococcus aureus. Acne is a similar condition of sebaceous glands on the face and back.
*Pilonidal abscess. Many people have as a birth defect a tiny opening in the skin just above the anus. Fecal bacteria can enter this opening, causing an infection and subsequent abscess.

*Retropharyngeal, parapharyngeal, peritonsillar abscess. As a result of throat infections like strep throat and tonsillitis, bacteria can invade the deeper tissues of the throat and cause an abscess. These abscesses can compromise swallowing and even breathing.

*Lung abscess. During or after pneumonia, whether it’s due to bacteria [common pneumonia], tuberculosis, fungi, parasites, or other germs, abscesses can develop as a complication.

*Liver abscess. Bacteria or amoeba from the intestines can spread through the blood to the liver and cause abscesses.

*Psoas abscess. Deep in the back of the abdomen on either side of the lumbar spine lie the psoas muscles. They flex the hips. An abscess can develop in one of these muscles, usually when it spreads from the appendix, the large bowel, or the fallopian tubes.
Tooth abscess
A tooth abscess or root abscess is pus enclosed in the tissues of the jaw bone at the tip of an infected tooth. Usually the abscess originates from a bacterial infection that has accumulated in the soft pulp of the tooth. This is usually, but not always, associated with a dull, throbbing, excruciating ache.

A tooth abscess typically originates from dead pulp tissue, usually caused by untreated tooth decay, cracked teeth or extensive periodontal disease. A failed root canal treatment may also create a similar abscess.

There are two types of denta
Diagnosis:
The common findings of inflammation—heat, redness, swelling, and pain—easily identify superficial abscesses. Abscesses in other places may produce only generalized symptoms such as fever and discomfort. If the patient’s symptoms and physical examination do not help, a physician may have to resort to a battery of tests to locate the site of an abscess, but usually something in the initial evaluation directs the search. Recent or chronic disease in an organ suggests it may be the site of an abscess. Dysfunction of an organ or system—for instance, seizures or altered bowel function—may provide the clue. Pain and tenderness on physical examination are common findings. Sometimes a deep abscess will eat a small channel (sinus) to the surface and begin leaking pus. A sterile abscess may cause only a painful lump deep in the buttock where a shot was given.

Treatment

Since skin is very resistant to the spread of infection, it acts as a barrier, often keeping the toxic chemicals of an abscess from escaping the body on their own. Thus, the pus must be drained from the abscess by a physician. The surgeon determines when the abscess is ready for drainage and opens a path to the outside, allowing the pus to escape. Ordinarily, the body handles the remaining infection, sometimes with the help of antibiotics or other drugs. The surgeon may leave a drain (a piece of cloth or rubber) in the abscess cavity to prevent it from closing before all the pus has drained out.

Alternative treatment

If an abscess is directly beneath the skin, it will be slowly working its way through the skin as it is more rapidly working its way elsewhere. Since chemicals work faster at higher temperatures, applications of hot compresses to the skin over the abscess will hasten the digestion of the skin and eventually result in its breaking down, releasing the pus spontaneously. This treatment is best reserved for smaller abscesses in relatively less dangerous areas of the body—limbs, trunk, back of the neck. It is also useful for all superficial abscesses in their very early stages. It will “ripen” them.

Contrast hydrotherapy, alternating hot and cold compresses, can also help assist the body in resorption of the abscess. There are two homeopathic remedies that work to rebalance the body in relation to abscess formation, Silica and Hepar sulphuris. In cases of septic abscesses, bentonite clay packs (bentonite clay and a small amount of Hydrastis powder) can be used to draw the infection from the area.

Prognosis
Once the abscess is properly drained, the prognosis is excellent for the condition itself. The reason for the abscess (other diseases the patient has) will determine the overall outcome. If, on the other hand, the abscess ruptures into neighboring areas or permits the infectious agent to spill into the bloodstream, serious or fatal consequences are likely. Abscesses in and around the nasal sinuses, face, ears, and scalp may work their way into the brain. Abscesses within an abdominal organ such as the liver may rupture into the abdominal cavity. In either case, the result is life threatening. Blood poisoning is a term commonly used to describe an infection that has spilled into the blood stream and spread throughout the body from a localized origin. Blood poisoning, known to physicians as septicemia, is also life threatening.

Of special note, abscesses in the hand are more serious than they might appear. Due to the intricate structure and the overriding importance of the hand, any hand infection must be treated promptly and competently.

Prevention

Infections that are treated early with heat (if superficial) or antibiotics will often resolve without the formation of an abscess. It is even better to avoid infections altogether by taking prompt care of open injuries, particularly puncture wounds. Bites are the most dangerous of all, even more so because they often occur on the hand.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/abscess-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooth_abscess

 

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Fibrocystic Breasts

Most doctors no longer call the pain and lumpiness of fibrocystic breasts a disease because this condition affects virtually half of all women under age 50. Selected supplements and a shift in diet may help diminish the symptoms of this disorder.

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Symptoms
Breast lumps or nodules that may be tender or not painful at all.
An increase in the size of lumps or in breast discomfort a week or so before a menstrual period.

When to Call Your Doctor
If a new lump develops, especially if you have not always had lumpy breasts.
If a lump grows larger, hardens, or does not diminish after your menstrual period ends.
If you have any discharge from either nipple.
If your breast pain is severe.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
Such premenstrual changes have long been labeled fibrocystic breast disease. But this condition is not a disease, and it doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer (though having lumpy breasts may make identifying a cancerous growth more difficult if one develops). Normal lumps can usually be distinguished from cancerous ones because they move freely in the breast, changing with the menstrual cycle.

What Causes It
Fibrocystic changes in the breast are linked to the rise and fall of hormones associated with the menstrual cycle. Women who produce a particularly high level of estrogen in conjunction with a low level of progesterone after ovulation may suffer more. This combination can cause the body to produce too much prolactin, a hormone that triggers milk production in new mothers but increases breast tenderness in women who are not breast-feeding. Many experts think caffeine stimulates the growth of lumps or fluid-filled breast cysts (and some women showed improvement when they eliminate caffeine), but other researchers maintain there’s no firm evidence of any connection between caffeine and breast tenderness.

How Supplements Can Help
All the supplements listed can be used together and as needed; you should see improvement in a month or two. Many women report relief from breast pain after taking vitamin E. Just how it works is unknown, but some experts believe this vitamin blocks the changes in breast tissue possibly caused by caffeine.

What Else You Can Do
Eliminate caffeine and see if that helps. Besides coffee and tea, caffeine is found in chocolate, colas, and some over-the-counter medications. Be patient: Six months may pass before you notice any improvement.
Wear a bra with good support when your breasts are tender.

Supplement Recommendations
Vitamin E
Chasteberry
Essential Fatty Acids
Magnesium
Vitamin B6

Vitamin E
Dosage: 400 IU twice a day.
Comments: Check with your doctor if taking anticoagulant drugs.

Chasteberry
Dosage: 225 mg standardized extract each morning.
Comments: Also called vitex. Should contain 0.5% agnuside.

Essential Fatty Acids
Dosage: 1,000 mg evening primrose oil 3 times a day; 1 tbsp. (14 grams) flaxseed oil a day.
Comments: Or use 1,000 mg borage oil once a day for primrose oil.

Magnesium
Dosage: 600 mg a day.
Comments: Take with food; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Vitamin B6
Dosage: 100 mg twice a day for 1 week.
Comments: Take this amount only the week before menstruation; this dose can cause nerve damage if taken daily over the long term.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs(Reader’s Digest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.