Women's Health Community
65.9k Members
Avatar universal

Sore, swollen lump on inner thigh by bikini line

A few days ago I noticed a sore, reddish swollen lump on my left inner thigh, right along my bikini line. It has since gotten larger (about the size of a nickel, and more elongated now).

It only feels sore if I press on it or rub against it. It seems like a soft lump that moves around with the skin. Last night I applied a warm washcloth to it for about 30 minutes, which made it feel better.

Could this be a swollen lymph node, or maybe an ingrown hair? It is located in the area where I shave daily.

Any advice would be very appreciated!
593 Responses
Avatar universal
i have the very same thing. i was told its a boil, caused by, yup, ingrown hair. apply hot cloth or hot bottle once a day for half hour.  for a week or so, should come to head and drain puss, do NOT squeeze.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response!

I decided to visit the Dr. yesterday to have her check it out, and she said it was a Sebaceous Cyst that had ruptured under the skin. It sounds a lot worse than it really is, when it ruptures it just speads out and flattens so that it's not a huge bulging bump like it was before it ruptured. It can be caused by an ingrown hair, a clogged gland, or bacteria that gets into the skin after shaving with a razor.

She told me to put a warm washcloth on it once or twice a day and it should go away in a couple of weeks. The soreness and swelling has already subsided, now it just looks like a flattened red lump.

She said the cyst will return to normal size and will remain under the skin, so this could happen again. If so, I may need minor surgery to remove it. But overall, nothing serious. :-)
Avatar universal
I'm glad you went to the doctor. I believe that boils are Sebaceous Cyst's. It does sound like we are talking about the same thing. This is the seccond time I have had this boil. I had it once in 2003. It did go away quickly, so quickly I forgot all about it. Then this year about 1 month ago it came back and was 4 times the size of the first one. the size of a dice. So I grabbed for my British Columbia Health Guide Handbook. It gives you an idea of what's wrong, befor you see the doc. The book made it sound like no big deal, and does say it can come back, but doesn't mention any surgery's needed. so now I am curious too about how serious this is, because the health handbook reads...A boil is a red, swollen, painful bump under the skin, simular to an overgrown pipmle. boils are often caused by infected hair folicals. Bacteria from infection form an abscess or pocket of pus. The abscess can become larger than a ping pong ball. Boils occur in areas where there is hair chafting. the face, neck, armpit, breast, groin, and buttocks are common sites.....then it goes on to treatment with cloth. doesn't mention any serious outcomes like surgery. Thankyou for your information also because now I think i will phone my doctor and ask her if its serious enough for surgery, or just a big pimple?
The surgery is just a lancing of the boil. They will inject lidocaine to numb the area, open it, drain it, possibly suture depending on the size of the boil, and bandage the area. It will continue to drain a bit for a few days and they will probably tell you to put some type of ointment on it such as neosporin. It is a VERY minor procedure.
Avatar universal
Ah yes, it does sound like we're talking about the same thing!

My doctor didn't go into details about the surgery because it's not something I need to have done at this time, but it sounded to me like a minor procedure, not something serious. She did say that the surgery would leave a small, visible scar.

Here is some information I just found online on About.com:

"Sebaceous cysts most often disappear on their own and are not dangerous. Occasionally, they may become inflamed and tender. Sometimes sebaceous cysts grow large that they may interfere with your everyday life. When this happens, surgical removal in your health care provider's office may be necessary. Small inflamed cysts can often be treated by injection of steroid medications or with antibiotics."

So it sounds like a rather quick, in-office procedure and only necessary if the cyst keeps coming back and becomes a nuisance.

Avatar universal
this boil or cyst, when it happens to pop(on its own), a combination of blood and pus does happen to come out, right? The reason for my asking is because I have the same thing, and I cleaned the area with an antibacterial soap (Dial). Well, a few hours later, I noticed I had a blood spot on my panties.  I didnt know where it came from so I checked in that area.  Sure enough, that little pimple, bump whatever it is popped and a combination of blood and pus came out.  It was real thick.  Its craZy because the sad thing is is that i have NO insurance.  Help!
Avatar universal
Sometimes they do pop on their own, other times they never pop but just subside and spread out and flatten (like mine has done.)

The stuff inside is a combination of dead skin cells and oil from your skin, which is what the 'white' stuff is. It is usually kind of thick and oily when it comes out, and is sometimes mixed with a little blood.

I think washing the area gently once or twice a day with antibacterial soap is a good idea. You might also want to apply an antibacterial ointment to it like Neosporin to keep it from becoming infected. I like the Neosporin with Pain Relief, the pain relief medicine really helps.

Then keep an eye on it, don't squeeze it or mess with it other than cleaning it when needed, and it should subside and go away shortly. You can also try applying a very warm washcloth to the area for 20 - 30 minutes, this usually makes it feel better and will help it heal faster.

If it starts getting worse rather than better or if it becomes more painful, you might want to have it looked at by a doctor to make sure infection hasn't set in. But most likely it will clear up on its own.

Mine has improved greatly since last week, it it healing nicely and no longer hurts or looks red and swollen. What a relief! :-)

Avatar universal
Hello, Just recently i noticed a dime sized black(ish) lump on my bikini line, I do shave frequently.  I had tried to clean the infected area, which did puss a little.  It has now sunken far below the surface.  The lump causes only minor pain.  Does anyone have any ideas on what this might be? Thanks!

Avatar universal
I have the same thing. I think. It hurts SOOOOOOO Bad. It really hurts when my panties rub up against it. It seems like it getting BIGGER. I  have my hood pierced. Im wondering if this is the reason its causing it! Please help me out. It is affecting my sex life. I think Im scared or something.

Avatar universal
I am so glad to know that I am not the only one having this problem.  I keep getting them over and over again on my bikini line.

Was anyone who visited or talk to a dr/nurse given advice on preventing them??  I wonder if laser hair removal is an option.  At this point, I'd go for that if it would stop these painful lumps.
Hello...I just found once if these bumps and I'm kinda freaked out about it. Idk how to tell my mom...and I don't want to if I can prevent it with a warm wash rag. If it gets serious I will have to say something so we can schedule an appointment.
Avatar universal
That's why I did laser hair removal for my bikini area, I am so tired of the lumps after I shave.  So far so good, and I don't have to shave very often anymore either.
Avatar universal
Oh thank god there are others having this problem, mine has reoccured 3 times in the last couple of months.

I use hair removal cream instead of shaving, do you think it's that that's making it worse??
Avatar universal

I was pregnant and at the last two months of my pregnancy I got what I thought it was a pimple and I thought because I was so fat that my legs rubbing together that is got bigger. Afte the baby was born it was still there.   4 months later (8/05) I went to my internal Dr. and she said it was a boil and gave me some antibotics for 3 days.  I did make it very small but it didn't go away.  So I went to a surgen and he said that because it has been there for 4 months we should have it removed.  So tomorrow I go in to have it removed.

It is on my inner right thigh (like panty line) Wonderful place to have someone looking around at.  It is pretty small but it is really dark purple right now and looks like it is filled with something. The weird thing is that is gets small and then big and small again and now it is purple.  Weird I just want it removed.

So I will fill you guys in when I have it removed.  I think it is either an infected piece of hair or an infected zit.  Either way I don't want it there anymore.

I did the applying of hot compresses and it did make it smaller but I don't have all day to do that.  Wish me luck
Avatar universal
Thank God

I have had this same problem for 4 years now. I have had it surgically removed 3 times, and it always comes back. One time it lasted for a year and I never saw it. The other two times afterward it came back in a couple of months. All 3 times it was removed by my OB/GYN. Now it just comes and goes.

The first time I went to the dr. about it I was totally freaked out thinking the worst, but the DR. acted like it was nothing and gave me some antibiotics. Well that didn't help.

I had swithced insurances and had to change doc's so new doc was like it's a sebacaues(however its spelled) cyst and we can cut it out if you want. I was like Yes for the love of god. That's when it stayed gone for about a year.

So when it did show its ugly swollen face again I had moved to new city. So new doc removed it twice and told me this last time sometimes they never go away.

She referred me to a dermatologist thinking they may have another solution. They don't , but this guy told me something no doc has told me before. He told me to let it fill up with fluid and then come have it removed. He explainded its like cutting out a ballon i.e. (cyst) as far as, its easier to see it if its filled up than when its busted. So that way he can make sure to get it all.

All three times I had it removed it was not full. So maybe he is onto something. I am supposed to call him to make appointment when it comes back. Well its back and unfortunatly I am gonna start so I will have to wait another week or so.

Avatar universal
I was pregnant with my 3rd child over 11 years ago when I first noticed the lump. My OB tested me for everything under the sun and finally gave up and sent me to a Dermatologist. He gave a quick diagnosis using a word that I cannot recall at the moment, but explained that my hair follicles and sweat and oil glands get infected. In the past 11 years I have had MANY of these and always felt embarrassed and alone. I have had them ranging in size from a pea to a silver dollar on both sides at the panty line. The pressure some of them cause just before they drain is unbareable at times and I have actually found hairs in the drainage that never made it to the surface of the skin and caused the infection. I have also noted that I will have 2 or 3 hairs trying to exit the same hair follicle where these bumps appear. Also, they seem to get worse around "that time" and wearing any type of pad makes them worse.
I was given a topical Rx called Emgel that burned but did aid in drying some of them up, but the hot compresses always seem to offer the most relief. What is bad is when you have one and it has sweeled so badly and you know it will drain soon, but you still have to get dressed and go about your day in hopes that it doesn't drain while you are out and about. The derm told me that I could expect to also see them under my arms but never have. Just in the nether regions. "ARGH" It is so frustrating and like I said am still dealing with this after 11 LONG years! If anyone has any solutions, I would love to hear them!
Avatar universal
Okay, found the name of it and since I haven't been treated in years, I guess a LOT has been learned about this condition. Google Hidradenitis Suppurativa and see if this applies to any of you. I am thinking that it's time to see a Dermatologist again.
Avatar universal
I think I have the same thing that everyone is describing but it does not really stick out of the skin alot.  It feels like a hard knot under my skin when I touch it.  I made the mistake of squeezing it before I found this board.  Nothing else has came out of it, but there is definately something under my skin.  Do you think I should go see a doctor since I made the mistake of squeezing it?
Avatar universal
I was reading all the post and seen that a warm cloth would help with the pain of the lump in my bikini area. As I read on further I decided to try the warm cloth, i added epson salts to the water and used the wash cloth as a compress. After I had finished reading the other post, I decided that I had held this long enough, when I took the cloth from the lump  I noticed that there was a lot of brown puss coming from the lump. I am so glad that I found this site and that you all have had the same problem, being that I don't have any insurance I haven't been to the doctor for this. Now I am wondering how long it will be before the lump is completely gone since the puss has begun. Please help me.
Avatar universal

It has been my experience that when it drains it will usually heal up and fill right back up and the whole process starts over . When I apply hot compresses all it does it make it ooze/drain the pus.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem.  This is my second one.  Last year I had the cyst and I had no idea what it was because it started out like any other ingrown hair so I assumed it would clear up on its own, well, it didn't.  My husband finally took me to the ER when I literally couldn't get up and walk around.  I was not seen by a doctor, it wasn't "important" enough for that.  So a nurse practitioner and a nurse came in to lance the cyst.  I was shocked because they said it was a minor thing and not to worry.  My husband went out to the waiting room and they proceded.  Without any meds to numb the area they began to slice alond the top of the bump.  They squeezed the area to drain all of the infection out.  After that they attempted to pack to opening with antibiotic soaked guaze, but I could not stand any more of this.  After over an hour of this, I left.

Now it is back and I want to try the warm compress natural way before it gets out of hand and I go back to the Dr.  I don't think I can bring myself to go back.  Does anyone how many days it takes for it to begin to drain and when you say bring it to a head, is this just a noticable area or an actual head comparable to that of a pimple?

Please help!  I cannot bear another trip like that to the ER.
Avatar universal
I have had this problem for quite awhile. Never has it gotten to where I could barely walk. If I were you I would make an appointment w/your OB/GYN or family doc, or dermatologist. I hate the e.r. I always feel as if I am being rushed in and rushed out getting the absolute minimum care that is needed, plus most of the time you have to follow up with another doc anyway.

As far as not getting any numbing medicine for  pain, WOW!! hats off to you for standing it as long as you did. Everytime I have had it removed I get the area shot at least 3 times with lidocain.

Try the compress, but if it doesn't go down or starts to hurt more than normal make that appointment.
My dr tried to numb mine but it wouldn't.  He said that was because the infection couldn't be numbed!  Wth? Why did he even suggest it then.  But he must be wrong if Yours did.  How did your dr do it?  I have more knots and I want them removed and I really want to be numbed this time.
Avatar universal
I have the exact same thing, a cyst apparently. I've had it, get this, a little over a year. The first few months it was flesh colored, fluctuating in size constantly.  Later it pretty much stayed a lump but still fluctuated, also gaining some color. Recently I began putting vitamin e skin cream on it, knowing vitamin e is great for skin..  Within a few days (coincidental?) it began developing a white area, today it opened up and secreted puss and then blood. I wasn't sure it'd stop bleeding, unsure of what it was (no insurance, sure you all understand that) so I showered and bandaged it.  It has stopped bleeding :D but it's still a lump so I'm sure this will be one of those "gotta remove it surgically" kinda things.. I hope not but having it this long and airing it often hasn't seemed to get rid of it. Least it finally did something but it's still purple. Course it happened today so I'll give it a few days and watch it closely. Cancer runs in my family so I was scared crapless at first, of course.  I'm thinking somehow that vitamin e really did something, but what? Anyone ever heard of using vitamin e on a cyst? Course I thought it could've been an abcess if it weren't a cyst.  Same location as others mentioned here, kini line. How uncomfortable! I recommend giong to Target or Walmart and getting some of those clothe shorts. Not undies but shorts. So much more comfy! Take my word for it. 15 months of needing them.
Thanks for posting of your own experiences. It gave me some peace of mind! :)
Thanks also for understanding my alias.
Avatar universal
has anyone had one of these in the groin area but not on the bikini line that does not have a head but the reddened area is about the size of your hand, it is swollen, hurts like hell, and is hot -
Avatar universal
The heat usually means infection and should be treated by a doctor with antibiotics. Good Luck.
Avatar universal
I'm so relieved that I finally found information on this. Before I read this I had no idea what it was. I've had this for a little over a year now on and off, but the one I have now is so much larger than before that I can hardly even walk with out feeling uncomfortable. I've tryed the hot cloth and it helped a little but it's still there and painful, so I was just wondering if anyone new any herbal remedies or something that i can do besides getting the minor sugery. Thank you. :)
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
From skin changes to weight loss to unusual bleeding, here are 15 cancer warning signs that women tend to ignore.
Here’s what you need to know about the transition into menopause – and life after the change takes place.
It’s more than just the “baby blues.“ Learn to recognize the signs of postpartum depression – and how to treat it.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.