Abscesses, which are commonly referred to as boils, begin as small tender lumps, but their size increases due to the accumulation of pus within the lump. These may occur singly or may form in clusters. A single boil is medically referred to as a furuncle, whereas the term carbuncle refers to a cluster of boils. Pus-filled boils can develop anywhere on the body. Though they are often a cause of cosmetic concern, they can also cause a lot of discomfort if they appear on the armpit, inner thigh, or the groin.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that normally resides on the skin, without causing any harm. It is only when there is a break in the skin, that these bacteria are able to enter the skin. Once the bacteria enter through the wounded skin, they begin to multiply and infect that section of the skin. Bacteria could also infect the hair follicle, if it has been damaged. If bacteria enter the skin through an open and untreated wound, an abscess may develop on the affected skin. Besides skin abscesses, one could also get affected by other skin infections such as impetigo, folliculitis, or cellulitis due to staph bacteria.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is another condition that could cause boils on the armpits or the inner thigh. This skin infection is considered to be a severe type of acne. It is associated with the inflammation of large apocrine glands located in the armpit and groin. Such skin infections develop only after the onset of puberty. It is characterized by the development of fluid-filled lumps that form when the secretions from these glands cannot escape. Such pus-filled lumps may leak and leave behind scars. Individuals affected by acne, or those with a family history of this disease are at a risk of developing this condition. This condition may persist for years and may cause recurrent boils in the armpits, groin, or the inner thigh.
The treatment generally involves the use of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. At times, severe abscesses may be accompanied by a low-grade fever or swollen lymph nodes. Drugs are often prescribed to alleviate these symptoms. Topical application of antibiotic ointment is generally recommended. Certain precautions must also be taken so as to prevent recurrent outbreaks.
One must refrain from touching the skin abscess and never try to squeeze it to drain the pus. This can cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body. If the abscess bursts on its own, clean the area with an antibacterial soap and dry it properly. Otherwise, consult a dermatologist. Medical treatment generally involves drainage of the infected fluid. First an incision is made at the affected areas, and a local anesthetic is administered. Thereafter, the infected fluid is drained out, and a dressing is applied over the affected area.
The treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa usually involves drug therapy. Usually, drugs that are used for treating acne are prescribed. If the symptoms are severe, painkillers or oral corticosteroids may also be prescribed. In severe cases, surgical intervention is recommended. It involves the drainage and removal of the lesions, followed by skin grafting.
People with a compromised immune system are at a greater risk of developing abscesses. Therefore, one must follow a healthy diet to strengthen the immune system. Poor personal hygiene could be a contributing factor for boils or rashes on inner thigh or groin, which is why one must wear loose clothing so as to avoid friction. Wearing clothes made from cotton or fabrics that allow the skin to breathe would also help. Using medicated antibacterial soaps may prevent outbreaks in the future. However, consult a dermatologist in the event of recurrent outbreaks.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a dermatologist.