Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is folliculitis?"
I've had a rash of pus - producing ingrown hairs in my pubic area that my doctor said was just folliculitis, and that it would probably go away on its own. It did, but since then it has come back several times. Am I doing something wrong? Can I treat this in a way that kills it for good?
Folliculitis is a superficial bacterial infection of the hair follicles (hence the name). Normally, folliculitis occurs in areas of shaving (sometime incorrectly called 'razor burn') but is may appear in any area of the body with hair follicles (the groin/ pubic area is a common place for occurrence). The diagnosis is made clinically by the findings of many red, itchy bumps all associated with a hair follicle and a small collection of epidermal pus.
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In terms of treatment, as your doctor mentioned the lesions normally will go away on their own after a week or two and therefore do not commonly require antibiotics. warm compressed and avoiding shaving in the are for a few days will help facilitate the healing. However, if the lesions are not improved and are continuing to spread, then antibiotics are indicated. normally, a few days of a topically applied antibiotic will suffice to cure the folliculitis. If topically antibiotics do not work, a short course of oral antibiotics is indicated. If lesions are still persistent, it is necessary to lance one of the lesions and culture the pus to try to ascertain whether or not the infectious bacteria are resistant to certain types of antibiotics (for example, MRSA folliculitis is becoming increasingly common).
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