Difference Between Abscess and Ulcer (With Table)

Infections are caused by the multiplication of microorganisms in body tissues which may be the result of the local cellular injury caused by the toxin, competitive metabolism, and antigen–antibody response.

 Abscess and ulcers are two different types of infection or skin lesions.

Abscess vs Ulcer

The main difference between abscesses and ulcers is abscesses are the closed lesions that contain contaminant puss and are painful to touch on the other hand ulcers are open sores that do not contain puss. Ulcers can penetrate deep beneath the skin on the skin however abscesses are found superficially.

An abscess is a painful tender mass that commonly develops on the skin and other parts of the body. They are closed lesions filled with infected pusses. People who suffer have from an abscess are said to be having a low immune system.

An ulcer is a type of painful sore which occurs around the lining of the stomach. Ulcers are generally caused due to bacterial infection or by lifestyle. It takes a longer period for healing. Ulcers are open lesions.

Comparison Table Between Abscess and Ulcer.

Parameters of
Abscess Ulcer
DefinitionIt refers to the formation of the cavity due to excessive tissue damage.They are generally formed by an open infection which generally occurs along the GI tract.
CausesIt is caused due to the weakening of the immune system of the body.It is caused by Helicobacter and pylori bacteria.
SymptomsWarm, swollen, fevers, infection, pain, and chills.Loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain and Fatigue
Recovery periodThey take a shorter period or a week.  It takes a longer period to heal
They take a month to heal.
KindsBrain, skin, spinal cord, and dental.Mouth, peptic, gastric, duodenal, etc.

What is Abscess?

A skin abscess is a tender mass, it’s generally surrounded with a color area from pink to deep red. They are often caused by infection, bacteria, debris and are full of pus.

Abscesses are painful to touch, it can show up in any place of the body. The most common sites on the skin are our armpit, the base of our spine, around the tooth, and our groin. There are several types of abscesses which are Bartholin gland abscesses, pilonidal abscesses, and dental abscesses. A boil is a type of abscess caused by inflammation around a hair follicle.

The abscess cannot be cured alone with antibiotics like other infections. In general to improve an absence it must be open and drained. Draining occurs on its own sometimes but generally, it must be open with the help of doctors. An abscess can form as our bodies depend on trying to kill the germs with the inflammatory response when our skin barrier is broken, small tears, from minor trauma or inflammation (bacteria enter the skin). People who have weak immune systems have a higher chance of getting an abscess.

What is Ulcer?

Ulcers are a type of sores that take much time to heal. They can appear both on the outside and inside of the body. There are many forms of ulcers.

 There are many types of ulcers such as peptic ulcer, arterial ulcer, Venus ulcer, mouth ulcers, genital ulcers, leg ulcer, and esophageal ulcer.

 Most of the ulcers are caused by bacterial infections. It is very discomforting and painful, acids from the food we eat can make it more painful and discomforting.  Ulcers are also caused by the long-term use of anti-inflammatory medicine or aspirin. Spicy food and stress can make it more badly. If a person has an ulcer they should avoid things that make the ulcer worse which means avoiding spicy food, food that acidic, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol. Keep your diet balanced. When you are suffering from pain try eating frequently in small portions.

 Some common symptoms are-

  1. Weight loss.
  2. Vomiting
  3. Burning sensation
  4. Not wanting to eat
  5. Stomach pain that wakes you up at late night.
  6. Feeling full fast
  7. Headaches.

In some of the cases, surgery is required in which removal of the entire ulcer will be done and taking tissue from another part of the intestine and patching towards the ulcer site.

Main Differences Between Abscess and Ulcer

  1. An abscess is usually enclosed lesions however ulcers are opened lesions.
  2. In terms of healing, abscesses heal faster in comparison to ulcers.
  3. Abscesses are found apparently in the skin while ulcers can penetrate deep beneath the skin.
  4. People who have less immune system are more prone to develop an abscess while people who have a poor lifestyle are likely to get ulcers.
  5. The symptoms of an abscess include redness in the infection side, pain, fever, burning sensation, and swelling whereas ulcer symptoms include- discomfort or pain in the upper abdominal area, nausea, pain in the chest, heartburn, etc.
  6. To cure ulcers antibiotics are generally used where in case of abscesses medication alone cannot cure it.
  7. Abscesses are not invasive however some of the abscess variants penetrate a deeper dermis of the skin on the other hand ulcers do penetrate much deeper in the skin in comparison to the abscess. They tend to damage the deep layer of the skin.


From the above discussion, we can relate the topic as abscess and ulcer both are painful. They are both caused by infection and if they are not treated in course of time it might lead to and serious event.

Abscesses are different from ulcers as abscesses are closed lesions and contain puss while ulcers are open lesions that do not contain pusses. The important point to remember is that both need medical attention and the person should develop a good healthy eating diet.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1067251611005771
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1056872799000653