Throat Abscess

Cause And Treatment Of A Throat Abscess

An abscess is an accumulation of pus due to an infection, and in the case of a throat abscess, this accumulation typically occurs around the tonsils. A throat abscess is a relatively rare disorder, but when the situation does occur, professional medical treatment will be required. There is no home remedy for an abscess of the throat and the abscess is unlikely to go away on its own.



Peritonsillar Throat Abscess - A throat abscess can occur at any age but occurrences are more common among children as the abscesses are often the result of tonsillitis or a complication following strep throat or a viral infection of the throat. Though the abscesses most commonly occur near the tonsils, they can also occur in the vicinity of the pharynx, most typically affecting very young children in such cases. Tuberculosis of the spine also can be a cause of throat abscesses, in which case the abscesses may be chronic. In general though, a throat abscess occurs near the tonsils and is called a peritonsillar abscess.

Causes - The usual symptom of a throat abscess is pain in the throat, often quite severe. While generally not a life threatening condition if treated, swelling may accompany the pain and inflammation, and if the swelling is significant, blockage of the throat could become an issue. A peritonsillar abscess is most likely to occur in conjunction with tonsillitis. The bacteria involved in this case are nearly the same as the bacteria present in a case of strep throat. Besides tonsillitis, other common causes of a throat abscess are infectious mononucleosis, lymphocytic leukemia, and smoking.

Symptoms - A sore throat is usually the initial symptom of the presence of a throat abscess, becoming more severe with each passing day. Swelling may be observed in the lymph glands of the neck, typically on one side of the neck only. A fever will usually follow a few days after pain is first felt, the fever being the result of the presence of an infection. As the condition continues to worsen, the individual will begin experiencing difficulty in swallowing, and the act of swallowing may become quite painful. Eventually, even an attempt to swallow saliva will become difficult and painful. As so often happens with throat disorders, the ear on the same side of the neck as the abscess, may also start to hurt.

Treatment - If you suspect the throat abscess is in its initial stages you should still seek medical attention right away. If the situation has become advanced, it would be best to head directly to the emergency room of the nearest hospital as the chance of a total throat blockage becomes very real. Once in the hospital, pus will be drained from the abscess, usually with a local anesthetic, and suction will likely be used to keep the patient from swallowing any blood and pus present after the procedure has been completed. If you have not had your tonsils removed, and the tonsils are infected, their removal may very well become part of the procedure, or certainly soon afterwards. Finally, you will be administered antibiotics, and as soon as you are feeling better and the abscess has been cleared up, you'll probably be allowed to go home.

Don't Take Chances - A throat abscess is one of those situations which, when once established, seldom if ever goes away on its own, and the situation will become more serious as time passes. Abscesses in general do not respond to medication, or if they do, very slowly, and the risk of the situation becoming worse far exceeds the chances of the abscess going away. Since a throat abscess can have the potential of becoming life-threatening, medical attention should be sought at the first sign of its presence.