Nasal abscess


An abscess is an encapsulated cavity of pus, which is caused by an inflammatory tissue fusion and is usually the result of a local bacterial infection. Bacteria can penetrate the skin through a small lesion. These injuries often occur in the nose, e.g. after the removal of nasal hairs or through manipulation in the nose with the fingers.

The abscess can be distinguished from a boil, which also often occurs in the nose. A boil is an inflammation of a hair follicle. In principle, an abscess has a good prognosis. If, however, the suppurative focus occurs in the nose, special caution is required, since it can lead to a germ transfer to the brain, which is very dangerous. Therefore a doctor should be consulted in good time.

Causes of an abscess in the nose

In most cases an abscess is caused by bacteria. The bacterium that most often causes an abscess is Staphylococcus aureus. This is very often found in the nose and often colonizes the skin of humans without necessarily causing a disease.

In addition, other bacteria can also lead to the formation of an abscess. The germs enter the skin through a small wound in the nose and trigger an inflammatory reaction there. Immune cells of the body migrate and try to fight the bacterium.

In the course of this immune reaction, pus develops and tissue melts, which lead to the pus cavity. Especially the nose is an optimal place for bacteria. The nasal cavity is always slightly moist and warm – the perfect climate for the reproduction of germs.

In addition, manipulation of the nose with a finger or the removal of solid bark in the nose easily causes skin wounds, which make it easier for the bacteria to enter. Bacteria can also penetrate along the roots of the nose hairs. Such an inflammation, which affects the hair follicle and surrounding tissue, is called a boil. The difference to an abscess is only the relation to the hair follicle.


The diagnosis of the abscess in the nose can already be made reliably by the family doctor through the appearance of the change. The abscess is usually very sensitive to pain, appears swollen, reddened and overheated. If the abscess is so deep in the nose that the family doctor cannot assess it well, an ear, nose and throat specialist should be consulted. Under certain circumstances it may be necessary to take a blood sample to check whether signs of inflammation are already visible in the blood. If there is an additional headache and there is a suspicion of a dangerous carry-over of the bacteria into the brain, an imaging of the head, e.g. an MRI or a CT, must also be carried out.