We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Should I Pop an Abscess?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The medical community does not encourage patients to lance or drain abscesses themselves, and it is not advisable to try to pop an abscess. Abscesses usually require medical treatment and if a deposit of fluid, pus, and other materials is large enough to cause discomfort and make a patient want to pop it, it probably needs to be seen by a medical professional. Popping an abscess can potentially cause some serious medical complications, and costly treatment may be required to address these problems.

Abscesses are pockets of infectious and inflamed material. They can be located anywhere in or on the body, including under the skin and in the organs. Abscesses can feel hard or squishy, depending on the contents, and they are filled with dead cells, pus, and other materials. If someone decides to try to release the built up material, one potential risk is that the contents will be forced backward, further into the body, causing the infection to spread and increasing the size of the abscess.

If someone manages to puncture an abscess and get it draining to the outside, there is still a risk that the abscess will reform. When one is lanced by a healthcare professional, it is typically flushed to remove infectious material, something patients usually cannot do at home, and a drain is implanted to allow fluids to drain, instead of building up, ensuring that the abscess does not reform. Simply popping an abscess, squeezing out as much material as possible, and leaving it will often result in it reforming.

In the case of an abscess located deep in the tissue or inside the body, a patient cannot pop an abscess safely, nor can another member of the household. Sterile tools need to be used to access the area and a healthcare professional needs to work carefully to avoid rupturing the abscess in the wrong way. While abscesses do sometimes spontaneously rupture at home before patients have a chance to see a medical professional, spontaneous ruptures can be accompanied by tissue damage and the spread of infection, just like a deliberate rupture at home. Sometimes, even in clinical settings, medical professionals can cause complications in the process of trying to pop an abscess, and they have specialized training in this area, illustrating how dangerous it can be for patients.

Going to a healthcare professional for treatment of an abscess will ensure that an appropriate treatment is provided initially, minimizing the risk of developing complications. In addition, the individual can prescribe medications like prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection, and can monitor healing closely on follow up visits to identify signs of complications that require additional treatment before those complications turn unpleasant.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Sep 15, 2014

No, you shouldn't pop an abscess. But, as Grivusangel noted, people do it all the time. I'm guilty, too. I guess you just have to use some common sense if you're bent on doing it, or if you can't get to a doctor for some reason.

At the very least, use a sterile needle. Flame it in a lighter flame and wipe it with alcohol. Wipe the affected area with alcohol, too. Then, when you're done with the draining, flush it with peroxide or saline, and as noted, apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Having said that, if it doesn't go away in a day or two, bite the bullet and see a doctor. The last thing you want is blood poisoning from an abscess. That's a serious condition.

By Grivusangel — On Sep 15, 2014

I can't say too much about popping an abscess. I've done it. Now, I've never had a really bad one. If I had, I'd have gone to the doctor. But I have lanced a few boils, and popped some abscess-like areas on my legs before. I always use a sterile needle and flush it with peroxide and apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. I don't just poke it, squeeze it and leave it there.

I've had to drain some abscesses my husband has had when he got infected hair follicles. This is because I knew he would need to see a doctor if I didn't, and he hates going to the doctor. It's very difficult to reason with him about it.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.