Q: Hi Dr. Ketch, I appreciate the good work you are doing in here. Please, I want to know the condition that causes boils to grow in every part of my body – in my nose, eyes, arm pit, vaina, back chest and even my laps. This usually happens two weeks to my monthly cycle and these boils are usually painful but goes after some days. Could this be infection or what? Please help me with answers. I am not on any preventive pregnancy drug, I do natural family planning
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).
more common causes/triggers of painful lumps (which could be boils) in the
• Deodorants: These can cause skin irritation which can lead to boils. The delicate and sensitive skin of the underarms and the sweat that can accumulate there making it a rich culture medium for germs are factors that have been implicated. Solution: You may have to try another one…find one without fragrance or perhaps, formulated for sensitive skin. Reading the labels will provide this information J
- Shaving: A lot of people can identify with this…bumps in the underarm after shaving. This can happen if you do not shave properly. Try shaving after taking a bath when the hair is moist and the skin hydrated. If this does not suffice, you may have to find alternative means of removing underarm hair eg depilatory cream.
- Infection of the hair follicles from cuts or injuries to the underarm, or from friction caused by wearing tight clothing. So, be careful while shaving and try to wear clothes that are more loose fitting (especially under the arms) and/or focus on fabrics that can ‘breathe’ like cotton
- Dirt or debris from excessive sweating can clog up hair follicles leading to painful lumps. Personal hygiene is key. Don’t be miserly with bathing and be sure to ‘take care’ of the underarms and other areas like the groin that tend to accumulate sweat and raise a stink J
- Infections due to viruses or bacteria.
- Cancer of the breast may also present like this.
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 (as could be the case here), recurrent boils over several months, a very large boil, or boils on your face (including the nose that appears to be affected here) and anus.
I hope this helps.
Have a good night, y’all 😀