ZocdocAnswersWhat causes boils on the thighs?

Question

What causes boils on the thighs?

What would cause boils to develop on a person's inner thighs? I've always had pretty clear skin and I just turned 40, but now my thighs are really starting to get inflamed with boils. I had at least six on each leg. What can I do to get rid of them, or do I have to see a doctor?

Answer

A 'boil', or furuncle in medical terms, is an infection of a hair follicle that has spread into the deeper layers of the skins and underlying subcutaneous fat and formed a small abscess (different from 'folliculitis' which is a more superficial infection of the hair follicle). Boils tend to develop in areas of friction and moisture, such as the inner thighs, the buttocks and the groin. Individuals with diabetes or other immunosuppressive diseases are at higher risk of boils and other skin/ follicle infections, but boils can arise in otherwise completely healthy individuals as well. Clinically, boils appear as red, inflamed bumps associated with an underlying hair follicle, and (as you probably know) they can be quite painful. In terms of treatment, normally for small boils warm compresses will suffice to assist in drainage and resolution of the boil. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines, like tylenol or ibuprofen, will help with the pain. however, for larger or persistent boils, proper treatment may include incision and drainage as well as systemic antibiotics. I would recommend trying the warm compress and reducing irritation and friction to the area first and if your boils do not improve or if they worsen, you should go to your doctor for further evaluation. hope this helps!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.