granulomatous mastitis Community
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Abscess Rupture

I'm afraid I'm about to have my first abscess rupture and I am terrified.  My doctor told me to just call the office if it happens but what do I do in the meantime?  It is so painful and red, it hurts with just the movement of walking.  I've read some horrifying stories about abscesses and what happens when they rupture.  Does anyone have any advice as to something I can do at home to prevent the rupture - I'm currently on antibiotics and methotrexate
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Don't be terrified please!
I have had Gm for about 13 months now..and about 10 abscesses..maybe 7 drained by themselves and at this point let me tell you that having them drain is a big relief for me!
It is so painful when they are red and looking as a huge pimple that when they drain it is a relief!
Just make sure you have some antiseptic (not irritating) and gauze with you.
I am not supposed to be saying this but if my abscesses get very painful sometimes I needle them to have the drain.
Please do not be scared!
Avatar universal
What antiseptic is best?  Is there one in particular that's better?
Avatar universal
I agree, don't be terrified.  It actually feels better once it gets out.  I had one abscess I could feel it rupturing while I was at work, and I'm a cashier at a grocery store, so I couldn't run anywhere and hide.  That one hurt but now, the pain is minimal when they open.  I've been waiting for a couple weeks for one of my abscesses to open so it can drain out and heal up. I think of it as a good thing, wanting whatever is in my breast that needs to come out, please get it out.  But I did find that every time, in the beginning of my GM, that I got an incision & drainage with my surgeon, another abscess popped up just one week later.  I have so many red spots all over my breast, it varies in size and shape.  I can't wait for them all to heal and change to a color less noticeable.
Avatar universal
I *JUST* (Thursday to be exact) had one drained, by my surgeon, and more.

I had mine in the stages of about to burst for a couple weeks, luckily, it didn't. In my experience, it's WORSE if you let them rupture on their own, it a weird way it's almost better when my surgeon does an in-clinic surgery and lacerates and drains the abscess, we then put in drains (not for the purpose of draining, but to keep it open) for a couple weeks, then do heavy packing of the open area to promote healing from the inside out, without any "pockets" left. Basically, we mimic what we did when I had a partial mastectomy, the aftermath of the surgery, in hopes that it "clears" and heals properly.

It can be VERY painful, it's less painful once drained (however, for me it's MORE painful, a different pain though because of the bruising and "prodding" from the drains) but nothing some nice pain killers can't handle for me :) Is the area peeling yet? The skin usually begins to peel prior to bursting, and the skin above the area which will eventually become a tract for the liquid to leave from will become tissue thin, literally almost see through...

I'd call my doctor and ask for them to rupture it for me. That way, you have some control over the abscess; where it drains from (location wise), and how "big" of an area you allow for a tract. This way, they can also monitor and record how much fluid is drained, send any samples they want to the lab (although, typically, nothing with grow from GM, so really they'll treat any OTHER infection you might have that is onto of the GM) etc.. If you don't already have a surgeon to do these things for you, literally DEMAND that your  breast care specialist do this for you (sometimes, since GM is so rare and unknown, you have to take control of your own care), explain to the appointment receptionist that you literally have an abscess in your breast and you need it drained, this usually does the trick instead of explaining what GM is...
Avatar universal
My surgeon looked at it and said he was hesitant to do anything to it because with GM we don't heal very well.  He thinks that poking around will just make it worse.  Yes, my skin has started to peel.  It was weird, it started to ooze some puss but now has stopped and it looks even worse so I'm afraid the bad part is yet to come.  I just don't have a very high tolerance for pain and am petrified of having to have it packed.  I know we all do what we have to do but I've already been through so much with my trigeminal neuralgia that this is just something I don't want to have to bear.
Avatar universal
Hello Everyone,
Wow, it is amazing to hear how alike everyone's story is to my own.

Yes, it is a great relief when the abscesses drain.  My breast surgeon drained a couple abscesses for me last year but I didn't really want to go back for these most recent ones.  I think maybe because I am just tired of doctor appointments, etc.

If anyone is interested in a more natural way to drain, I tried a cabbage poultice on the recommendation of my naturopath.  I had three very painful and uncomfortable abscesses.  Remarkable results!!! I was very surprised, the poultice felt very soothing, AND it caused the abscesses to drain right away.  

Seems though that the abscess has to be at a certain progressed stage, ie. red, swollen, etc.

To make a cabbage poultice, just chop up the cabbage and put it in the blender with a little boiling water until you make a thick past. Apply the paste about one inch thick on the desired area of the body and leave on for about twenty minutes to forty minutes.

I put the cabbage paste on a face cloth first, then several more layers of face cloth and towels on top to hold it securely and then sat in bed and read a good book.  Warning, the cabbage is unbelievably stinky.  :)
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