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Inguinal Abscess

An inguinal abscess is an abscess that develops in the groin area, the part of the body, between the thighs and the body. Like any abscess, an inguinal abscess is an accumulation of pus, which will gradually destroy the tissue around it. The inguinal abscess is caused by a localized infection and has the same symptoms as inflammation. Depending on the type and especially the location of the abscess, treatment may include taking antibiotics as well as puncturing or surgically removing the inguinal abscess.


A medical history and physical examination are often sufficient to diagnose an inguinal abscess. To determine the size or level of infection, the doctor may ask for: an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan (rarely needed in the case of a superficial inguinal abscess); a puncture to take a sample; and a blood test.

The prescribed tests also serve to provide the necessary information for an eventual surgery.


If the inguinal abscess is superficial, it manifests itself in the form of a lump of varying size that is painful to touch, which can also called tumefaction. If the inguinal abscess is deep, it may go unnoticed by palpation, but cause pain depending on its location.

The most common symptoms are: sensation of heat at the area of swelling; localized pain; redness; fever. If the inguinal abscess is pierced, a discharge of pus may occur.


Whether the inguinal abscess is superficial or deep, the pus it contains must be drained even if a spontaneous disappearance is possible. This draining can be done under local or general anesthetic, through a paracentesis, an incision or surgery.

To avoid recurrence, the doctor or surgeon may insert a drain or an absorbent cloth to drain the rest of the pus. The cloth should be changed every 48 hours by a doctor or nurse.

Drug treatment may complete the procedure — it includes painkillers to treat pain and fever as well as antibiotics to treat the infection.

If pain, warmth, swelling or a fever higher than 38 °C (100 °F) occurs, further consultation is required.

Image: © Andrei Simonenko - Shutterstock.com

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