7. Magnesium Sulphate
How do you know what flavour of lump you have on your body? Well, you go see a doctor and they'll tell you what it is. Sometimes it's just a big spot, sometimes it's a low-grade boil and sometimes, it really is a proper abscess. You can tell the difference because an abscess is usually way more painful than the other two.
In my experience, abscesses can either be fast-maturing (i.e. they come to a head quickly and burst on their own or can be given a hand) or slow-maturing. It's these latter ones that are the worst because for the time you're waiting for them to "ripen", it can be agony.
After suffering from these bastards for years I was finally, in 2010, prescribed a new treatment: Magnesium Sulphate paste. And I can tell you right now that for me, it's been a miracle cure.
Magnesium Sulphate, I recently discovered, is derived from the same stuff as Epsom Salts. It dries abscesses out and brings them to fruition. Here's much more information about it.
Does it work?
For me, YES, YES, YES! In 2005 I had a slow-maturing abscess in the middle of my pubes and I had to get it incised and drained under local anaesthetic. In August 2010, I had a similar abscess in exactly the same place. I feared the worst. I really did think I'd have to go to hospital again and endure another tortuous ordeal. But no, this time a new doctor prescribed me Magnesium Sulphate paste.
I brought it home, read the label, washed my hands with antibacterial soap and used a cotton bud (a q-tip) to apply it to the area. I covered it with a plaster (see the Photos section) and went to bed. The next morning, I (carefully!) unpeeled the plaster and the abscess had come to a head. You won't believe how delighted I was! Honestly, it was a blessing. I knew that I wouldn't have to go to hospital again and proceeded, for the next hour or so, to drain the abscess myself basically, by continuously squeezing it.
I went back to the doctor that day, told her what I'd done and she gave me some Flucloxacillin antibiotics to ensure that the infection didn't come back. I was cured!
Seriously, of all the treatments I've ever had, Magnesium Sulphate seems to be the best. It might not work for ALL abscesses (particularly if they're in inaccessible places) but for now, it's been a god-send.
My advice? Talk to your doctor about whether Magnesium Sulphate could work for you.