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How is an abscess diagnosed?

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The doctor will take a medical history and may ask you:

The doctor will examine the abscess and surrounding area. If it is near your anus, the doctor will perform a rectal exam.

If an arm or leg is involved, the doctor will feel for a lymph gland either in your groin or under your arm.

  • How long the abscess has been present
  • If you recall any injury to that area
  • What medicines you may be taking
  • If you have any allergies
  • If you have had a fever at home

From: Abscess WebMD Medical Reference

Authors and Editors

Author: William T Durkin Jr, MD, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Emergency Care Dynamics. Editors: Steven C Gabaeff, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Sutter Amador Hospital, Jackson, CA; Expert Consultant, Medical Board of California, Sacramento, CA; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.  

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 12, 2017

Authors and Editors

Author: William T Durkin Jr, MD, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Emergency Care Dynamics. Editors: Steven C Gabaeff, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Sutter Amador Hospital, Jackson, CA; Expert Consultant, Medical Board of California, Sacramento, CA; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.  

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 12, 2017

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