Boils – symptoms, causes and other risk factors


When your hair follicles are inflamed and infected, then this condition is known as boils. It is very painful. In their early stage, they are tender and red lumps. These lumps are filling with pus. When this process is happening, then the lumps are growing more and they are becoming painful till the moment in which they rupture and drain. This condition can be treated at home. You should know that boils should not be pricked or squeezed because you can make your infection bigger. If you feel that your boil is painful than before, then you should visit your doctor. Also if your boil is associated with fever and it lasts more than two weeks, you should visit your doctor. They can appear everywhere on your skin. In the most cases boils are appearing on the neck, face, buttocks and armpits. These are the places where you are sweating the most.

Boils – Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms: Signs and symptoms of boils are next:

  • Your skin around the bump is red and swollen
  • In the early stage boils are having the size of pea and they are painful and red bumps
  • As the time passes by, you see that your boil is growing older and in some cases this boil can have the size of baseball. When boil is growing, you can notice that is filling with pus.
  • You can see that the tip is developed. It has yellow-white color. In some cases this bump ruptures and after this the pus is draining out.

Causes: Boils are caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is found on your skin and in your nose (in the inside part of your nose). When you have been bitten by insect or you have small injury, then you are having bigger chances to get boils because they are easily developing on the infected and injured parts of the skin. [1]

Risk factors: Every person has a chance to get boils. But here are the risk factors for this condition:

  • Diabetes: When people are affected with diabetes, then they are having bigger chances to get boils because in this condition the body is not available to fight against the boils and the skin infections. [2,3]
  • Close contact with a person who has a staph infection: If you are having someone from your family that is having boils, then your chances to get this condition are increasing. [4]
  • Compromised immunity: If there is any reason which your immune system is compromised, then your chances to get boils are growing. [5]
  • Other skin conditions: When you are having acne and eczema, then your skin is damaged. In these cases your skin is more susceptible to boils.

When to see a doctor? In the most cases boil is treated at home with home remedies because it is disappearing quickly. But there are some cases in which you must visit your doctor:

  • You are having more than one boil
  • You are having fever caused by the boil
  • If your boil is larger than 5 centimeters
  • If your boil has not healed in two weeks
  • You have bigger pain than before
  • Your boil is getting worse
  • If your boil recurs

There are small chances for the bacteria of your boils to travel in your bloodstream in all parts of your body. Sepsis which is blood poisoning can make deeper infections such as endocarditis and osteomyelitis. When you can notice some of the symptoms that we mentioned above, then you should visit your doctor. Because this is skin condition, your doctor will refer you to dermatologist who has specialized in skin diseases and conditions. Before you go to doctor, you should know about all the diseases that you had in the past. Also you should write your symptoms in this condition. If you have taken some medicines or some natural remedies, then you should tell your doctor about them. If you are having the original bottles and all the written doses of the medicines, then you should give them to your doctor because he or she will know better for your future treatment. Your doctor can ask you some of the next questions:

  • When is the first time when you have noticed your boil?
  • Are you having painful boils?
  • Have you boil in the past?
  • Had you some skin diseases or disorders in the past?
  • Have you taken some medicines or natural remedies for your boils?
  • Do you have some family member who has/had boils?

Related Post: Home Remedies and Natural Cures for Dandruff


[1] Ariom TO, Iroha IR, Moses IB, et al. Detection and phenotypic characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from clinical and community samples in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. African Health Sciences. 2019;19(2):2026–35.

[2] Venkatesan R, Baskaran R, Asirvatham AR, Mahadevan S. ‘Carbuncle in diabetes’: a problem even today!. BMJ Case Reports. 2017;2017:bcr2017220628.

[3] de Macedo GMC, Nunes S, Barreto T. Skin disorders in diabetes mellitus: an epidemiology and physiopathology review. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome. 2016.

[4] Jones TF, Creech B, Erwin P, et al. Family outbreaks of invasive community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2006;42(9):e76-8.

[5] Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. How staph cells dodge the body’s immune system: Patients can be infected again and again, but research could lead to first successful vaccine for superbug MRSA and other staph bacteria. Science Daily. 2017.


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