Boils can be painful and sometimes itchy too. Hence it is important to know the cause behind the infection which should be treated before it spreads to the other parts of the body. Find out details about boils and how to get rid of them.
A boil is an infection on the skin which is usually caused at the area of hair follicles or oil glands. Initially the area where the boil is about to form may look red and is tender to touch. After a few days you may observe bacterial growth in that area, which manifests on the skin in the form of a yellow spot. The pus in the boil finds its way out of the skin, causing it to burst, leading to a yellow colored fluid (pus) to ooze out. Some boils on skin are unable to rupture on their own and hence they require surgery.
The boil may be observed in any part of the body. It may be formed on the face, neck, shoulders, armpits or buttocks. Itchy boils are mostly the ones which are observed on the eyelids. These infections also depend upon the immunity of the person as some are more susceptible to boils on the skin than others. It’s important to know the causes, symptoms and treatments of boils so as to avoid the spread of infection.
Types of Boils
There are mainly 5 types of boils. This differentiation is based on their location and cause. Following are the types.
- Furuncles: These are the type of boils which are caused due to infection in the hair follicles. These can appear in any part of the body.
- Carbuncles: When the furuncles are in a group or in clusters they are called carbuncles. They can occur in the thighs, neck, shoulders, etc.
- Hidradenitis Suppurativa: These boils are caused due to the inflammation of sweat glands due to infection. They are mostly found in the groin and underarm areas.
- Cystic Acne: This is caused either due to a plug in the hair follicles or due to excess oil production. You will find these boils on face mostly in teenagers.
- Pilonidal Cysts: The other name for pilonidal cyst is rectal boil. These are found in the cleft of the buttock. These boils on buttocks may be caused due to prolonged sitting at one place. The reasons for boils on inner thigh are similar.
The bacteria responsible for boils or abscess on the skin is known as Staphylococcus. These bacteria are present on the skin in a dormant state but become active and infect the skin if the skin gets cut or is scratched. It can also enter the skin through the pores of hair follicles and oil glands. Many people resist the cuts and scratches on the skin without any infection but some may be susceptible to it. People with diabetes, low immune power, excess exposure to chemicals, poor nutrients, poor hygiene, etc., may have boils very frequently. During pregnancy, skin boils are quite common as they are a result of hormonal change and skin infections.
The symptoms of boils may not be grave in the early stages, but may cause you problems if not attended on time. Following are some of the symptoms of skin abscess.
- Red warm spot on the infected area.
- The infected region may become swollen and hard.
- The infected area may be tender to touch and can be painful.
- It may be accompanied by fever if the infection is severe.
The treatment of the boil may depend upon the severity of the condition. If the boil is small then you can try some home remedies to get rid of it. You can try using warm compresses. Soak the boil in warm water which will help in reducing pain and will help in bringing the pus to the surface of the skin from where it can make a way out for its drainage. Once the boil is totally drained, clean it and apply some antibiotic ointment on the boil. Continue applying the ointment for a few days till the boil is totally cured. If the boil is more than the size of a pea and painful then you must go for a medical treatment at the earliest. The doctor may prescribe you few antibiotics which will dry up the pus inside the boil and will heal it. If the abscess is too big it may need surgery to drain the pus. This is a small surgery and the chances of recovery are 100% if the patient is non diabetic, or is not affected by any other major underlying ailment.
Boils treatment is easy to administer but you need to take proper care so that the infection doesn’t spread. Try to maintain proper hygiene. In case of cuts and wounds, clean them and apply antibiotic ointments to avoid infection. If the boil is taking time to heal and the pain is unbearable, consult a doctor immediately.