A furuncle or boil is a skin infection caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These bacteria thrive in warm, moist regions of the skin, like the armpits, nostrils, the crease between the buttocks, and in the inner thighs. Boils can also spread beneath the skin and cluster. When such boils occur, the clusters form deeper abscesses, known as carbuncles, which can scar the skin. Boils can differ in size and colour, depending on their severity, or the amount of skin involved. However, most boils look similar. Normally, boils are nothing to worry about and do not require medical attention. Read on to know more about boils on inner thigh, causes, symptoms, treatment, recovery period and risk factors.
Causes of Boils on Inner Thigh
Boils form when the Staphyloccus bacteria invade the walls of an exposed or damaged hair follicle and colonize it to cause infection. Nearly 10 to 20% of the population is the carrier of these bacteria. Staphyloccus bacteria can spread via skin to skin contact with carriers or people with boils, and contact with contaminated objects, like towels and sheets. Infections only occur when the natural barrier of the skin is compromised or broken by factors like injury or friction. People can develop boils at any age. These bumps commonly appear in areas of the body which are prone to chafing, especially the inner thighs.
Risk Factors for Boils on Inner Thigh
Certain factors which increase the risk of boil formation anywhere including inner thighs, are: age over 65 years, contact with an infected person, cuts in the skin, working or living in a crowded area, poor hygiene, smoking, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and obesity. Chronic stress, anemia, iron deficiency, diabetes, immune conditions, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and animal scratches or bites can also increase the risk of boils anywhere including inner thighs. Use of antibiotics, intravenous drugs and steroids can cause boils.
Other specific factors which contribute to a greater risk of developing boils on the inner thigh are wearing dirty, ill-fitting or loose clothing while performing workouts or being involved in activities which increase friction in the inner thigh and produces a lot of sweat. Doing exercises or playing sports which cause chafing of the inner thighs, like hiking, running, biking or long-distance walking also increase the chance of boil formation on the inner thighs. Boils on the inner thighs can also occur as a result of waxing, shaving and other means of hair removal which break the surface of the skin. Some people face a higher risk of complications from boils and hence are more likely to require medical attention.
Symptoms of Boils on Inner Thighs
The symptoms of boils on inner thigh can differ in severity. A boil is usually a round, red, bump which may be filled with light coloured pus. The pus discharged from boils is whitish in colour, and is made up of dead tissue and blood cells. Boils can form anywhere in the body including the inner thighs. Boils can appear alone or in clusters, collectively called carbuncle. This swollen bump is tender and highly sensitive, and can gradually grow over time. Boils generally last for around 10 days. Severe boils on inner thighs also lead to symptoms like vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, abnormal weight loss, fever, chills, flu like symptoms, and unexplained bruising. A person should contact the doctor and seek medical attention when experiencing these symptoms with boils on inner thigh.
Treatment for Boils on Inner Thigh
The first line of treatment in case of boils on inner thighs is cleaning the abscess and the surrounding skin with warm, soapy water. Touching, rubbing, or putting pressure on a boil that has just been cleaned should also be avoided. The pus can be drawn to the surface of the boil through various ways, which increases the pressure on the abscess which can lead to ultimate rupture of the abscess. The doctor can treat the boil on the inner thigh by making a cut in it to drain the pus. The procedure is required if it is a big or a severe boil or if it does not drain on its own. An incision to drain the pus may also be required in case of boils on inner thigh that are chronic. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed for clearing the infection on inner thigh. In case of chronic boils on inner thigh, or boils which do not respond to oral medication alone, antibiotic nasal sprays or topical antibiotic creams can be prescribed to relieve the problem.
Home Remedies for Boils on Inner Thigh
The simplest way of safely draining a boil on inner thigh at home is to gently hold a clean facecloth or towel, dipped in very warm water, against the boil. This compress should be as warm as possible without burning the skin on inner thigh. The towel or cloth must be held in place until it cools down. It generally takes many sessions for the boil on inner thigh to burst. When dealing with boils on inner thigh at home, one should never force a boil to rupture by piercing or squeezing it. Picking, touching, or applying unnecessary pressure on a boil, should be avoided. Activities which cause friction between the inner thighs should be avoided too. A healing boil on inner thigh should be kept clean and covered with a gauze or sterile bandage. The skin surrounding the bump should be wiped daily for a week with a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. OTC antibiotic and antiseptic creams and liquids should be gently applied on the affected skin, and anti inflammatory medicines can be taken to ease the pain and discomfort in inner thigh area. The hands must be cleaned by soap and water or a hand sanitizer, after being in contact with the boil on inner thigh. Personal hygiene products should be replaced regularly. For severe or chronic infections, every product that comes into contact with the body daily, should be thoroughly washed. Other members in the household should practice similar precautions as well.
Prognosis of Boils on Inner Thigh
Boils are a common form of skin abscess, which mostly rupture within 10 days of forming. Once the boil on inner thigh drains, it tends to heal within 1 to 3 weeks. In certain cases, boils on inner thigh can cause certain complications to include but not limited to scarring and formation of painful clusters deep within the skin surface. Severe boils or carbuncles on inner thigh, if left untreated, can lead to life-threatening conditions like systemic infections, which can negatively impact the bloodstream or the entire body. One should consult a doctor when suffering from boils on inner thigh, which fail to heal on their own, are very large, or are complicated by other symptoms or conditions.