Brain abscess

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

msBahasa Malaysia


What is brain abscess?

Brain abscess is a disease caused by the brain infection and it can happen in otherwise healthy people. Someone who has weakened immune systems have a high risk in fungal brain abscess. The collection of pus and dead cells can make your brain swelling. When fungi, viruses, or bacteria reach your brain through a wound in your head or an infection somewhere else in your body will cause the brain abscess to be formed.

Rarely the human brain have infection because the perfect protection. These include the blood-brain barrier, a thick membrane that filters out impurities from blood before allowing it into your brain. However, in some cases germs can get through the defenses and infect the brain.

How common is brain abscess?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of brain abscess?

The common symptoms of brain abcess are:

  • Differences in mental processes, such as increased confusion, decreased responsiveness, and irritability
  • Decreased speech
  • Decreased sensation
  • Decreased movement due to loss of muscle function
  • Changes in vision
  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills

In babies and young children, most of the symptoms are similar. However, your child may show other symptoms of a brain abscess. The soft spot on top of your baby’s head, called the fontanelle, may be swollen or bulging. Other symptoms in your child can include:

  • Projectile vomiting
  • High-pitched crying
  • Spasticity in the limbs

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above orhave any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes brain abscess?

A brain abscess usually occurs when bacteria or fungi enter the brain tissue. This can be caused by:

  • An infection in another part of the skull, such as a dental abscess, which can spread directly into the brain.
  • An infection in another part of the body for example, the infection that causes pneumonia spreading via the blood into the brain. The immune system may not be capable of fighting off the initial infection with people who have a weak immune system; therefore the infection can be carried by blood. Some conditions can make your immune system weakened are HIV or AIDS, are receiving chemotherapy, or take immunosuppressant medication.
  • Trauma, such as a severe head injury, that cracks open the skull, allowing bacteria or fungi to enter the brain

Risk factors

What increases my risk for brain abscess?

There are many risk factors for brain abcess, such as:

  • A compromised immune system due to hiv or aids
  • Cancer and other chronic illnesses
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Major head injury or skull fracture
  • Meningitis
  • Immunosuppressant drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy
  • Chronic sinus or middle ear infections

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is brain abscess diagnosed?

Blood tests can also be carried out to check for the presence of infection. A high level of white blood cells in the blood indicates the presence of a serious infection.

A computerised tomography (CT) scan; a CT scan can often detect the presence of an abscess and any associated swelling inside the brain, or

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the inside of your body; an MRI scan can give a more detailed image than a CT scan, so is sometimes used if the results of the CT scan are inconclusive.

How is brain abscess treated?

If the specific type of bacterium is known, a targeted antibiotic is used; otherwise, broad-spectrum antibiotics are given to kill a large number of possible infectious agents. Antibiotics usually are continued for six weeks or more to make sure that the infection is eliminated.

Draining or removing the abscess. If the abscess can have little danger of damaging the brain, it may be surgically removed. In other cases, the abscess is drained, either by cutting it or by inserting a needle.

Surgery must be performed in the most severe cases when the abscess causes a dangerous buildup of pressure in the brain.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage brain abscess?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with brain abscess:

  • Some brain abscesses are associated to poor dental hygiene or complex sinus infections. You should floss daily, brush your teeth properly and visit your dentist regularly. Treat sinus infections with decongestants. If symptoms of a sinus or dental infection persist, you may need an antibiotic.
  • People with untreated HIV infection are at increased risk of brain abscess. Practicing safe sex to prevent HIV. If you have HIV, you substantially reduce your chance of developing a brain abscess by taking anti-viral medications regularly.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 8, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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