Treating actinomycosis 

Antibiotics are the main treatment for actinomycosis. A long-term course of antibiotics is required to wipe out the infection completely.

An initial course of antibiotic injections is usually recommended for 2 to 6 weeks, followed by antibiotic tablets for another 6 to 12 months.

A nurse should be able to teach you how to administer antibiotic injections at home so you don't need to stay in hospital for the duration of the course.

The preferred antibiotics for treating actinomycosis are benzylpenicillin, which is used for the antibiotic injections, and amoxicillin tablets.

In some cases, other bacteria are also present and more than one antibiotic or other antibiotics will need to be given.

Side effects of these antibiotics include:

  • diarrhoea 
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • skin rash
  • increased vulnerability to fungal infections, such as oral thrush (a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth)

If you're allergic to penicillin, alternative antibiotics such as tetracycline or erythromycin can be used.

Read more about antibiotics.

Surgery

Surgery may occasionally be needed to repair tissue damage or drain pus from any abscesses that have formed deep inside your body.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

If you experience symptoms of pelvic actinomycosis caused by an intrauterine device (IUD), such as lower abdominal pain or irregular or abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, the IUD will need to be removed.

Page last reviewed: 28/08/2014

Next review due: 28/08/2016