There are loads of you out there who are being bothered by boils and you’re asking the question, what is causing these boils? Well, boils are simply caused by bacteria often a germ called staphylococcus which sits in a crack in your skin and creates a nice collection of puss. Now, who tends to get boils? Well, they are very common in people whose immune system is challenged. So, for example, people who are stressed or run down or who suffer from conditions such as diabetes. We also see them more frequently in people who are overweight and in people who carry a high count of bacteria on their skin. So they may carry bacteria along the surface of the skin or up their noses. By and large, many of us who suffer boils, only suffer them once off but for those of you who have them recurrently it is vital to go and have a check from your GP that this isn’t the sign of an underlying medical problem.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have developed a boil, rest assured it will probably resolve of its own accord. To encourage all of that puss to pop out then why not warm up a clean face cloth, place it over the boil for about 10 minutes 3 or 4 times a day and that will encourage it to heal. If however you are generally unwell, you’ve got a temperature or a fever or its incredibly large or painful, or if you have other medical problems for example diabetes do go and see your GP because it may well be that you require antibiotics to get a faster resolution.
I’ve had a message through from a teenage girl who’s got a boil and she wants to pop it. Please do not ever pop a boil, I suggest you go and see your GP because this could actually be an abscess, a little collection of puss which needs to be drained and treated with antibiotics. By probing it yourself you could make the infection worse and you could make yourself very ill indeed.
I’ve had a post in from someone whose getting boils in the vaginal area and she’s worried this is linked to shaving. This certainly could be linked to shaving because very often bacteria which naturally live on the skin can sit in cracks in the skin that are caused by shaving and this can cause an infection in the hair follicle and this can subsequently turn into a boil or an abscess. If you are someone who suffers from recurrent boils in this area then do please go and see you GP because it may be that you need a cause of antibiotics and an antibacterial wash. If this is a recurrent problem then we often prescribe a longer course of antibiotics to try and break the cycle.
Doctor Responses: Boils
Dr Pixie has scoured the Embarrassing Bodies website to find out your most common concerns about boils. In this video she uses her medical expertise to answer your biggest concerns.
Most of the questions that Dr Pixie answers were posted in the comments section of our boils condition guide.
Comments and Questions
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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.