Difference between Abscess and Ulcer

Key Difference: Abscess is a medical condition in which pus or external debris is accumulated within the skin causing it to become inflamed and tender. Ulcers are commonly associated with peptic ulcers or the ulcers that take place inside the abdomen. However, ulcers can also happen externally on the skin. In addition to peptic ulcers, ulcers can also be found on skin in the form of a sore.

Abscess and ulcer are two different kinds of conditions that happen internally as well as externally. Both are skin conditions that are similar in appearance causing them to be confusing to the untrained eye. An abscess is a boil that appears externally or internally that fills with pus and is caused by bacteria, parasites or foreign objects. An ulcer is also a sore on the skin that is caused by disintegration of tissue. Ulcers can be caused by exposure to heat or cold, irritation, or a problem with blood circulation.

Abscess is a medical condition in which pus or external debris is accumulated within the skin causing it to become inflamed and tender. In layman terms, an abscess is basically a pus or debris filled boiled that hurts when touched or pressed. Abscess are painful and warm to touch and can show up on any place on the body. The most common abscesses occur in armpits, anus, vagina, groin, base of the spine, hair follicles, around a tooth, etc.

Abscesses form when a bacterial infection or debris (splinter, dirt, etc) enters the skin. The body then sends signals for white blood cells to fight the infection. The white blood cells work from outwards to inwards and manage to fight and eliminate some of the infection creating a cavity. This cavity is then filled by pus forming an abscess. The pus blocks the path of the white blood cells to the center of the infection preventing it from completely eliminating the infection. Internal abscess develop as a result of already existing complications in the body. The weakened immune system makes it far easier for bacteria to create an abscess or infection inside the body. Internal abscess are quite dangerous as they can harm nearby organs.

Abscess on external skin are quite harmless but they are not so easy to cure. They cannot be treated using antibacterial creams similar to other infections. Abscess are treated using a I&D (Incision and Drainage) method. This method requires the doctor to create an incision in the abscess, drain out all the pus, insert a packing to keep the cavity open and then apply a bandage. The bandage can be removed after a couple of days and can be done at home following proper directions. People can also prevent abscess by maintaining hygienic routine and keeping abscess prone skin clean.

Ulcers are commonly associated with peptic ulcers or the ulcers that take place inside the abdomen. However, ulcers can also happen externally on the skin. In addition to peptic ulcers, ulcers can also be found on skin in the form of a sore. These sores are often accompanied by disintegration of tissue and can occur for a number of reasons including infection, exposure to constant heat or cold, pressure sores or circulation problems. These ulcers are also sometimes referred to as bedsores, specifically ones caused by limited movement.

Ulcers develop the form of open sores or wounds that may bleed or produce pus. They are inflamed, tender and painful to touch. They can erode skin to the deeper layers depending on the type of sore. Patients suffering from ulcers may also experience pain in the surround areas of fever. These ulcers take time to heal depending on the condition. They can take up to 12 weeks to heal if acute, or longer if they are chronic. Ulcers usually develop in stages, with the first stage showing only reddening of the skin, while the second stage will produce blisters and loss of outer skin. As the stages progress, the ulcer can even become open deep down to the bone.

Though ulcers take a long time for treatment, they can be treated by preventing to become infected, remove any excess discharge, maintain a moist wound environment, control the edema, and ease pain. The doctor may also use antibiotics and other antibacterial creams to keep the ulcer from becoming infected. Lifestyle and diet changes can also be suggested depending on the type of ulcer and the reason for its development. People suffering from diabetes should take special care when facing an ulcer as they have a change of developing diabetic neuropathy.

Image Courtesy: nanda-nurse-diary.blogspot.com, trialx.com

Add new comment

Plain text

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.