Peritonsillar Abscess

An abscess can be defined as collection of pus and peritonsillar abscess develops on the throat region close to tonsils. The skin that surrounds the tonsils gets infected accumulating body fluid forming an abscess. This may cause considerable difficulty in swallowing and drinking and for some people it can also affect normal speaking and breathing. This infection is common among adults and is caused by bacteria. Needle aspiration is the best treatment for peritonsillar abscess.

Causes :

If there is any infection that develops on the tonsils it may spread quickly affecting the soft tissues in that area causing irritation and abscess. Peritonsillar abscess is a common condition of tonsillitis and is seen often on adults. Usually only one side of the tonsils are affected to form an abscess and the infection is caused by bacteria. Bacteria find entry into the body through the nearby glands and spreads infection. For some people dental procedures can also cause this infection. Smoking and severe form of tonsillitis can also cause peritonsillar abscess.

Symptoms :

The infection often begins with sore throat. Some of the signs of peritonsillar abscess are mild fever, swelling inside the throat, difficulty in swallowing and also speaking. This infection of tonsillitis can occupy the region of uvula (that hangs in the middle of your throat) causing irritation and pain. On account of fluid deposits lymph glands of the neck may become swollen. Sometimes your voice may sound muffled and you may not be able to speak properly. For severe cases it can also cause ear pain on the side in which abscess has developed. It is the streptococcus pyogenes that cause peritonsillar abscess.

Diagnoses :

Your doctor will physically examine the throat and collect the medical history. Peritonsillar abscess can be diagnosed easily. If necessary, he may use a tongue depressor and use lighting for detecting tonsillitis. He may also collect some tissue or pus from the abscess for testing in the lab to detect the kind of bacteria.

Treatment :

Suitable antibiotics are prescribed for destroying bacteria. The most effective way for treating peritonsillar abscess is to remove the abscess completely. Depending on the report of the diagnoses suitable antibiotics is chosen and prescribed. Penicillin was often used for treating the abscess in olden days but now it has been replaced with clindamycin.

Some doctors still use penicillin combined with metronidazole given in suitable doses twice daily. For severe types of abscess, surgery is the best way. Depending on the size and growth of abscess needle aspiration or drainage or incision is done. Tonsillectomy is to be followed after draining the abscess.

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