An abscess is a painful infection that can drive many people to the emergency room. They result when oil-producing or sweat glands are obstructed, and bacteria is trapped. This causes an infection and inflammation along with pain and redness.
Abscesses can form anywhere on the body. Commonly, they are found in the armpits, in the pubic region, at the base of the spine, around a tooth, or around a hair follicle, in which case the abscess is known as a boil.
When an abscess forms, the pain and inflammation can make you want to poke and prod it to try to clear it up on your own. However, doctors strongly caution against this as it often makes the infection worse and can cause lasting complications such as bloodstream infections and scarring.