Daily Health Tips: Why Do I Have Boils?


Q: Please Dr, I have a boil in my pubic region and after bursting it this evening, a smelly and disgusting stuff came out of it. What is the cause of this sir?

A: A boil, also called a skin abscess, is an infection of a hair follicle deep in the skin. Boils can occur in any part of the body, but most frequently in the armpits, groin, around the vagina/anus areas, around a tooth and at the back. They are often swollen, painful, and after a few days collect as a head of pus and debris (this explains what you noticed) which can rupture on their own when soft or ‘ripe’ or may require a health expert to cut it open and drain it (if it’s quite large).

Boils in the pubic region, can be caused by an ingrown hair (the hair instead of growing upwards, grows inwards into the skin, this may occur following shaving), blocked hair follicles (from sweat, or a damp unclean environment), a sexually transmitted infection (herpes, when it’s just starting) a sign of some other disease like diabetes, or problems with the immune system, poor hygiene (especially during menses for women) and poor nutrition.

As much as you may want to, avoid squeezing or scratching it, allow it rupture on its own. This would help prevent further infection of deeper structures and skin, and also prevent spread to other areas. Apply warm water with a cloth on the boil for about 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Avoid sharing towels and washcloths with other people and keep the area clean and dry as much as you can. An antibiotic cream or mupirocin cream can also be applied (ask for this in a pharmacy shop). You may require antibiotics, which would be prescribed by your doctor, if he thinks you need them. Further evaluation may be necessary if you have boils in multiple areas, recurrent boils over several months, a very large boil, or boils on your face and anus.

Hope this helps.

*****This post was contributed by a guest doctor blogger

Have a good evening, y’all 😀

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