Boils Between Thighs: How To Get Rid of Boils on Inner Thighs

Learn what could be causing boils on your inner thighs, how to treat and prevent them, and could they be connected to a condition like Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

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Written by Nazar Hembara, PhD

Published 4 March 2024

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What is a boil?

A boil is a skin condition, usually presenting as a red, painful, pus-filled lump. Boils are caused by bacteria entering through a cut or hair follicle. They can be uncomfortable, painful and unsightly but most boils do resolve on their own within a week or two. Occasionally, if a boil persists or becomes particularly painful, medical treatment may be required.

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The symptoms of boils on the inner thigh

Boils on the inner thigh can be particularly uncomfortable, affecting daily activities like walking and sitting. As well as the raised, red bumps, the surrounding area is usually tender and painful, which can worsen with movement. The skin around the boil often feels warm, indicating an infection.

In more serious cases, symptoms like fever and fatigue can also develop, pointing to a more extensive infection. It's important to keep an eye on these symptoms. If the boil doesn't get better or if you start experiencing symptoms like fever, you should seek medical attention to avoid more serious complications from infection.

Types of boil that appear on the inner thigh

There are several types of boils that can appear on the inner thigh. They can vary in severity and may require different approaches for treatment.

  • Carbuncle: This is when multiple boils form close together, merging beneath the skin. Carbuncles are larger and can be more severe than single boils.
  • Cystic Acne: This type of skin abscess emerges when oil and dead skin cells block a hair follicle, creating an environment where bacteria can flourish. Although commonly associated with the face, it can also occur on the thigh.
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa: This chronic condition is characterized by recurring lumps and pus-filled abscesses, often developing in areas like the armpits and groin, where there are many sweat glands.
  • Pilonidal Abscess: This kind of boil typically forms just above the crease of the buttocks but can also occur on the inner thigh. Some individuals have a "pilonidal dimple" from birth, which is susceptible to infection.
  • Stye: Commonly known as a "stye on the eye," this boil is usually caused by staph bacteria. While primarily found near the eye, similar infections can occur in other areas, including the thigh.

Hidradenitis suppurativa

HS involves inflamed, painful lumps on the skin, indicating a chronic autoimmune condition. While boils and HS share similarities, HS is a long-term condition requiring ongoing management. Painful, pus-filled bumps may form abscesses, becoming infected and releasing blood and pus with a foul odor. Common in areas where skin rubs against skin, like armpits and inner thighs, these bumps might resolve on their own but often recur.

How hidradenitis suppurativa is treated

Managing HS involves a combination of methods, including medications (antibiotics, ointments), corticosteroid injections, hormone pills, and, in some cases, surgical intervention.

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Causes of boils on the inner thigh

Boils might develop due to bacterial infection (commonly Staphylococcus aureus), entry through skin via hair follicles or oil glands, irritation from activities like shaving, waxing, poor hygiene, a weakened immune system, or underlying health conditions.

Is my body lacking nutrients if I get boils?

While boils could affect anyone, recurrent boils might indicate underlying health issues, including nutritional deficiencies. If you're frequently experiencing boils, it could suggest a lack in vital nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, or zinc. These nutrients are essential for a robust immune system, so a lack of any of these nutrients could impact your ability to combat bacterial infections effectively.

How to treat boils on the inner thigh at home

Self-care measures combined with medical intervention can treat boils. Home remedies include keeping the area clean, applying warm compresses, avoiding squeezing or popping, using pain relievers, applying antibacterial ointment, keeping the area dry, and bandaging if necessary.

Possible complications

Boils on the inner thigh can be uncomfortable, but it's important to handle them carefully to avoid complications. If you give in to the temptation to squeeze or prick the boil, you risk spreading the infection to other areas of your skin. This can lead to an abscess. Abscesses are larger, more painful collections of pus that require proper medical attention. In some cases, the appearance of one boil may also signal the likelihood of others erupting nearby. This clustering can make the situation more uncomfortable and complicated.

When to see a doctor for a boil on the inner thigh

If the boil persists, grows in size, causes severe pain, or if you develop a fever, it's time to consult a healthcare professional. Skin infections, when left untreated, have the potential to spread to the bloodstream, posing life-threatening risks. In such cases, a healthcare professional may recommend draining the boil, a procedure best performed in a sterile environment to ensure effective and safe management of the infection.

Medical treatment for boils on inner thighs

In cases of larger or more severe boils, medical professionals may opt for a procedure known as incision and drainage. This involves making a small cut in the boil to release the accumulated pus. This procedure is conducted in a sterile environment to mitigate further complications. If a bacterial infection is the culprit or if the boil exhibits recurrent tendencies, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics, which can be administered in the form of pills or creams.

Following the incision and drainage, the doctor may place a clean bandage in the wound to facilitate proper drainage and prevent premature closure. In instances where the boil causes considerable pain, the doctor might recommend standard pain relief medication or stronger alternatives for enhanced comfort. Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the healing process, with the healthcare provider offering guidance on home care practices.

In cases where an underlying condition, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, contributes to the persistent recurrence of boils, the doctor will collaborate with the patient to address both the root cause and symptom management effectively.

How to prevent boils on the inner thigh

Maintain good overall hygiene. Avoid sharing personal items like razors that might have come into contact with an infection. Keeping your personal hygiene items separate reduces the risk of spreading bacteria. Showering regularly and keeping your hands clean helps prevent the spread of bacteria and reduces the risk of transferring infections, especially when dealing with a boil.

Regularly wash towels, compresses, and clothing that may have been in contact with a boil. Use soap, hot water, and a hot dryer to launder them effectively, eliminating any bacteria that may be present.

If the boil is draining, cover the wound with a dry bandage until it heals. Using a wide bandage around your thigh can reduce irritation from chafing. Change the bandages regularly to ensure the boil stays clean and dry, promoting a faster recovery.

The bottom line

Boils on the inner thigh will require different treatment depending on severity. For mild cases, home care suffices, while more serious boils may require medical attention. If you have concerns or experience persistent, painful boils or fever you should talk to a doctor. Prioritize good hygiene, avoid sharing personal items, and follow preventative measures.

FAQs

Are boils contagious?

Boils are not typically contagious. While they stem from bacteria naturally found on the skin, the resulting infection is not easily transmitted from one person to another. Nevertheless, maintaining good hygiene practices and refraining from sharing personal items with someone who has a boil is essential to prevent the potential spread of bacteria.

How do you get rid of a boil overnight?

To quickly soothe a boil overnight, keep the area clean, apply warm compresses, and use over-the-counter creams. If there's no improvement or increased pain, consult a healthcare professional.

How do you prevent boils in private areas?

To prevent boils in private areas, focus on maintaining good hygiene practices. Regularly wash the area with mild soap and warm water, keeping it dry and clean. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable underwear to minimize sweat and bacteria buildup. Avoid sharing personal items like towels or razors to prevent the spread of bacteria. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by managing underlying health conditions and maintaining a balanced diet to reduce the risk of boils. If you have a history of private area boils, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is the difference between a boil and a cyst?

Boils and cysts, both sources of discomfort, exhibit distinct characteristics. A boil, arising from a bacterial infection in a hair follicle or oil gland, manifests as a painful, pus-filled lump. Predominantly found in areas prone to friction or moisture, like the armpits, buttocks, or thighs, boils are identifiable by their redness and tenderness.

A cyst is a sealed sac containing fluid or semi-solid material, capable of developing anywhere in the body. Cysts, often devoid of pain, tend to grow gradually and can result from various factors, including infections, blockages, or genetic conditions. Unlike boils, cysts are typically painless and may enlarge over time.

Should you pop a boil or cyst?

While boils and cysts can be uncomfortable, both are types of infections and you shouldn't attempt to pop them. Trying to pop a boil or cyst may introduce bacteria deeper into the skin, elevating the risk of scarring or spreading the infection. If simple home remedies aren't working, you should seek medical advice and treatment for boils and cysts. Healthcare professionals can safely drain them and, if necessary, prescribe antibiotics for effective and safe management.

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