When bacteria gets under the surface of your skin, an abscess can form. This can occur anywhere on the body, although skin abscesses tend to be more common in the:
- hands and feet
Bacteria can get into your skin and cause an abscess if you have a minor skin wound, such as a small cut or graze, or if a sebaceous gland (oil gland) or sweat gland in your skin becomes blocked.
Abscesses that develop inside the tummy (abdomen) are caused by an infection reaching tissue deeper within the body. This can occur as a result of:
- an injury
- abdominal surgery
- an infection spreading from a nearby area
There are many ways an infection can spread into the abdomen and cause an abscess to develop.
In addition to the specific causes mentioned above, things that increase the likelihood of an abscess developing can include:
- having a weakened immune system – this could be because of a medical condition such as HIV, or a treatment such as chemotherapy
- having diabetes
- having an underlying inflammatory condition, such as hidradenitis suppurativa
- being a carrier of staphylococcal bacteria
However, many abscesses develop in people who are otherwise generally healthy.