Boils, also called furuncles, can be painful and debilitating — especially if they develop on areas such as your buttocks and thighs. They can appear as a single bump or cluster together to form carbuncles.To properly treat and prevent boils, it is important to understand how and why they occur. If you have a boil that persists for more than two weeks, worsens or is particularly bothersome, contact you doctor.
Boils can vary from the size of a pea to as big as a golf ball. They can develop a yellow or whitish tip that oozes and crusts over. The appearance of boils can also be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, including fever, fatigue, itching, pain, redness and inflammation. Boils can crop up anywhere on your body, but typically occur in areas that experience friction or sweat, such as your thighs and buttocks.
Boils on your thighs and buttocks occur when hair follicles in that area develop a bacterial or fungal infection. This infection, generally caused by staph bacteria, enters the body through a cut, scratch or damaged hair follicle. Your body reacts by combating the foreign body with special white blood cells called neutrophils. Although neutrophils fight off the infection, they also cause the symptoms, such as pus and inflammation, associated with a boil.
According to the MedlinePlus website, boils must be drained before they can heal properly. Although this typically occurs on its own, you can hold a warm wet compress to the area multiple times a day to speed up the process. This can encourage draining and decrease inflammation. Chronic, deep or large boils that last longer than two weeks can be surgically drained by a doctor. Refrain from squeezing or picking at a boil; this can lead to severe scaring or infection.
To prevent boils from developing, MayoClinic.com suggests washing your skin often with a mild or alcohol-based soap. If you have an open cut, apply antibiotic ointment to kill any surface and wound bacteria. Keep all cuts or scrapes clean and covered with dry, sterile bandages. Never share personal items such as towels, clothing, bed linens or athletic equipment—especially if you or someone else has an open wound. Fungi, bacteria and infections can easily spread through these types of objects.