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Painful boils on the buttocks: Why do they appear?
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Painful boils on the buttocks: Why do they appear?

The red, pus-filled small bumps on the buttocks can cause severe pain and come in the way of your everyday activities
Recurring boils can be more painful and affect the quality of life.
Recurring boils can be more painful and affect the quality of life. In rare cases, some may develop symptoms of fatigue and fever.

Getting a boil on the buttocks can make simple tasks like sitting, walking, or even sleeping difficult and painful. Boils, also known as furuncles, are skin infections often caused due to bacteria. When left untreated, they could break out with white discharge and lead to secondary infections.

The infection is commonly caused by the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus which is naturally found on the surface of the skin, says Dr Subrata Das, senior consultant, internal medicine and diabetology, Sakra World Hospital, Bangalore. “It can be caused by other bacteria as well and rarely by a virus or fungi. Boils on buttocks are very common and are not serious but they may lead to secondary infection when it’s left untreated,” he said cautioning not to try or attempt to pop them.

Boils on buttocks: Why do they appear?

“The bacteria on the skin enters a hair follicle and gets deeper inside. This causes an infection and turns into a boil which is commonly seen in buttocks and armpits,” explains Dr Kuna Ramdas, senior dermatologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.

When there is more friction between the clothes and the skin, the bacteria can enter the hair follicle and cause an infection leading to a skin abscess, says Dr Ramdas. “Wearing tight clothes, lack of proper hygiene, and using unwashed clothes or innerwear can lead to infection,” he said.

“The boil may look similar to a pimple but red, tender, painful and pus-filled lump. Over time, it may rupture and lead to white or yellowish discharge and require treatment,” said Dr Das adding that this could lead to further infections when the skin comes in contact with other bacteria through toilet seats.

Dr Ramdas added, “The boils appear in skin folds and areas where there is more sweat, friction, and hair. The bacteria can also spread and infect after shaving through micro-cuts and lead to boils. These are more common during summer and referred to as heat boils.” Those with diabetes, thyroid disorders, skin conditions, asthma, and iron deficiency anemia are more vulnerable to bacterial boils due to weakened immune systems, he said.

Why do boils reoccur?

Recurring boils can be more painful and affect the quality of life. In rare cases, some may develop symptoms of fatigue and fever. “The usual cause of recurrence is immune disorders and wearing tight fitting, clothes, skinny jeans from morning till night and not letting the skin breathe,” said Dr Ramdas. Sitting or riding for long hours can also make one vulnerable for boils on the buttock.

Once infected and exposed to the bacteria, the susceptibility to reinfection increases, he says. “Those with weakened immune systems often have recurrent boils due to which it’s necessary to undergo a few blood tests to rule out anemia, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, or thyroid dysfunction,” he said.

He added that when boils are not treated, the lump can grow in size and lead to severe pain, which increases the chances of reoccurrence.

 Preventing boils on buttocks

“Though it can’t be completely prevented, lifestyle changes such as wearing loose clothes, maintaining proper hygiene, avoiding jeans or tight clothes, taking a bath twice a day, and changing the inner garments twice a day, could help,” Dr Ramdas says.

If there are cuts or wounds on the buttocks or upper thighs, clean the toilet seat with disinfectant before using it to prevent getting infected, says Dr Das.

Treatment

When boils are not treated, it could leave a permanent scar, in very rare cases, it could lead to bone infection or sepsis, an infection of the blood, say experts.

While some boils can drain out on their own and heal, some may require antibiotic creams, said Dr Das. “Mild infections may not require treatment but if the infection is severe with a large lump or a cluster of boils, they require antibiotic tablets up to a week for the boil to rupture and drain out on its own, said Dr Das stressing that one must consult their physician if they have a large boil that’s painful and has pus oozing out.

Takeaways

  • Boils on buttocks are skin infections commonly caused due to the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus which is naturally found on the skin.
  • Boils or furuncles also known as heat boils are caused when the bacteria on the skin enter a hair follicle or a cut leading to an infection.
  • Wearing tight clothes, lack of proper hygiene, and using unwashed clothes or innerwear increases the risk of infection.
  • Though most of them heal on their own, some grow in size and become more painful, requiring treatment.

 

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