An abscess is a painful mass that’s usually caused by an underlying infection. You can develop an abscess anywhere on your body, although they’re most common in your underarms or near your groin. If you have an abscess, visit with Yadwinder Kang, MD and his team to have it treated and drained. Most patients feel relief from pain shortly after abscess drainage treatment. You can walk in to the 1st Choice Urgent Care clinic in Bakersfield, California, or book an appointment by calling or using the online booking system.
What is an abscess?
Abscesses are small masses filled with pus, debris, and bacteria. In some cases, they may also contain ingrown hairs. They form when your protective skin barrier is broken or torn. Bacteria or inflammation develops in the opening and your body forms the abscess around the foreign invader as a way to protect you.
Abscesses generally develop gradually and continue to worsen until they either drain naturally or are drained by your doctor. An abscess can occur because of:
- Poor hygiene
- Hair removal or hair regrowth
- Poor blood circulation
- Skin infections
You’re more prone to developing an abscess if you have a weakened immune system, which can occur with Crohn’s disease, diabetes, or cancer.
When should I have an abscess drained?
Sometimes abscesses open up and drain on their own, which is normal. But other times, medical intervention is required. It’s time to head to the urgent care clinic for an abscess drainage treatment if your abscess:
- Is larger than half an inch across
- Continues to enlarge
- Feels warm to the touch
- Is near your rectum or genitals
- Becomes surrounded by red streaks
You should also have an abscess drained if you develop a fever of 102° F or higher, or if you have nausea or vomiting.
How is an abscess drained?
Before getting started, your practitioner numbs up the area surrounding your abscess. This can sting a little at first, but it makes the procedure almost painless. After gently cutting open the abscess and draining it, your provider might fill the open area with some packing material. This ensures that the wound stays open and continues to drain. Otherwise, if it closes up, any lingering bacteria can cause another abscess to form.
You should have relief from pain almost instantly and should only need a bandage to cover up the area. Your medical team gives you detailed instructions about how to care for your treated abscess at home and when to come back for a follow-up appointment. In most cases, you need to take antibiotics for several days.
The team at 1st Choice Urgent Care offers walk-in visits throughout the day for abscess treatment, although you can also book a same-day appointment by calling the clinic or by booking online.