Actinomycosis is a bacterial infection that results in collections of pus in the body.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Actinomycosis is most often caused by infection by specific bacteria. This is normally present in the mouth, and sometimes in the intestines. The jaw is most commonly involved, with lung and abdominal infections being less common. Rarely, women may develop abscesses in the reproductive organs or bladder.
Factors that may increase your risk of actinomycosis include:
- Having a dental disease or recent dental surgery
- Liquids or solids that are sucked into the lungs
- Having bowel surgery
- Swallowing fragments of chicken or other bones
- Having an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) in place for many years
- Having a weakened immune system
- Tissue damage
- Chronic granulomatous disease or other disorder that affects the immune system (children)
Actinomycosis may cause:
- Hard swellings that are usually painless and located around the mouth, neck, or jaw
- Swellings that may produce pus containing tiny, yellowish particles
- Drainage of pus through the skin of the chest or abdomen
- Weight loss
- Cough that produces sputum or blood
- Noticeable swelling or firm mass in the abdomen, especially the lower part
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Analyses of pus, sputum, or tissue
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Actinomycosis is treated with long-term antibiotics and by draining pus-containing abscesses.
The best way to reduce your chances of developing actinomycosis is to prevent dental disease by practicing good dental hygiene and regularly visiting your dentist. You should:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush regularly
- David Horn, MD
- Reviewed: 05/2016
- Updated: 06/20/2014
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Henry Ford Allegiance Health or performed by Henry Ford Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.