What Are the Common Causes of Green Pus?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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Green pus is typically caused by some type of infection within the body. It is a normal variation in coloring, although sometimes the darker the color of pus, the more serious the infection. Simple issues like acne can lead to green pus buildup, but it is also common in more severe conditions such as internal abscesses and progressed skin infections. The color of pus can also be white, yellow, and occasionally, brown.

The sight of green pus can be worrisome for some, and in many cases this fear is warranted. In some situations, green or yellow pus may be a sign of a serious infection, whereas white pus is not. For instance, green or yellow discharge coming from the vagina may be the sign of an internal infection. White discharge, however, is usually not cause for concern.

In some cases, green pus is not related to the severity of an infection. Acne pimples can ooze or secrete green pus, as well as abscesses or boils and other common skin infections. The pus may have a foul odor if the bacteria causing the problem is anaerobic in nature. The smell of pus is also not necessarily indicative of a serious infection.

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There are certain warning signs that individuals should be aware of in terms of looking out for serious infections. Open wounds that are very painful and which have large amount of pus in any color should be checked by a doctor. Pus that occurs internally may be harder to notice, so the first sign of a serious internal infection is usually pain in the area of the problem and a high fever. For this reason, anyone with who has pain in a generalized location combined with a fever should see a doctor.

Most infections are treated with antibiotic medications. In many countries, these have to be prescribed by a doctor since specific antibiotics are more appropriate for treating certain types of infections. Anyone with an open wound should clean it thoroughly and cover it with a bandage to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering. It is also a good idea to add an antibacterial ointment. If pus, redness, swelling, pain, or oozing or any kind occurs, an infection has more than likely taken hold and further treatment may be necessary.

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Discuss this Article

pleonasm
Post 4

It's amazing how much pus there can actually be in a sore spot, below the surface. For some reason I'm prone to getting an infection in a spot around my eye and sometimes it swells up so much it's embarrassing and the doctor has to drain it.

I'm always a little bit shocked by how much fluid comes out of it. I guess it just builds up and builds up until it becomes really obvious and painful.

They put me on antibiotics, but they only work in the short term unfortunately. I guess I'm lucky that the pus is never green, but usually white or yellow, so I'm not in danger from a serious infection, but it is very annoying.

KoiwiGal
Post 3

@Iluviaporos - If there is any pus at all, I would go to a doctor for surgical scars. It's just too easy to pick up an infection in a hospital these days.

I think people mistake other fluids for pus though. If it is actually thick and green or yellow and is still liquid, then it is pus. If it's crusty it might just be lymph fluid or the wound trying to scab over, which is perfectly natural and healthy.

lluviaporos
Post 2

@anon348904 - I'm not a doctor and I think you should definitely go to get the advice of a doctor if you're worried, but I would suggest that it depends on how much pus there is in the wound. I sounds like there is only a little bit of pus on the bandaid which isn't too bad.

I've had cuts that have become a little bit infected and which had a little bit of pus in them, but which cleared up very quickly. There wasn't any need for extra medication.

But, if your incisions start looking red or hot and if there is more than a little bit of pus then I would go straight to the doctor. The problem with surgical wounds is that they are quite deep, so an infection can go very deep very quickly.

anon348904
Post 1

I had surgery in mid September and three of my incisions opened. But they started healing and I started putting neosporin on them to help the scarring with the healing. I took my the bandaid off and it had greenish yellow pus on it. Does it mean it's infected?

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