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Avatar universal

boils or ingrown hair?

Every once in awhile , I get these bumps, not really sure if they are boils but the doctor says they are ingrown hairs. They swell up and are very painful to touch. Since I started getting them, I've had one appear in my underarm, the rest either appear in my inner thigh or above my public line. I've even had two going on at once on each inner thigh. Hot compresses seem to help, but it hurts so much, I've tried topical creams and other liquids, each and every one leaves a nasty scar behind. Does anyone know for sure what they might be or what causes/prevents them?
59 Responses
Avatar universal
That has happened to me once like 2 weeks ago!! I had no idea what it is either but i was  alittle embrassed to ask.....if someone knows please help.... did they ever pop and pus come out?? they hurt badly i know!! I had one near my pubic hair line, i thought they might have been ingrown hair but i have never had one like that either!
Avatar universal
Hopefully yours don't come back, mine keep reappearing in different spots, not due to shaving because they appear anytime and not after sex either. Haven't noticed to see if I could "pop" one or not, was too painful!!!
Avatar universal
This is what boils are:
At first, a painful red nodule appears on the skin. This grows bigger and then breaks down in the middle where the pus collects. The patient experiences a great deal of irritation and itching. There may be a single skin boil, or several boils in the same area or in different areas at or about the same time, or they may come in successive crops. The swelling may not be limited to one hair follicle but may extend to several follicles. When the skin boils ripen, they give out a discharge. Fever may sometimes accompany the boils.

Zoey, if yours is pussed filled, it seems like it's a boil, however, the symptoms seems somewhat the same as mine, however , I don't notice any puss,discharge or fevers it's just very hard and sore.

Avatar universal
Mine was very painful, when i would sit it would be touched by my legot my underwaer, I know it was super painful but iwas a little scared by it so I popped it (i know gross) but i did and pus came out, it relived me. mine started the same why. I almost thouht maybe it was a cyst.... did you think of that? i hope it isnt serious!
Avatar universal
I did on search on the cyst and no, it doesn't seem to be one of those. The only thing I'm thinking is that it must be a boil because everything sounds remotely the same EXCEPT the puss/discharge part..!?!

If one appears again and it will sting ALOT, is to put a hot compress on it so the swelling goes down. Make sure the area is thoroughly clean with unscented soap like dove ( I find it the mildest)Unless you have any other ideas, good luck!
Avatar universal
You can buy something called Boil-ease (sp) at the drugstore.  Several people I work with have used this and it appeared to help.   Basically you need to keep the area moist.   Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks bbird, will try it if it is available in Canada.!! :)
Avatar universal
I've had ingrown hairs where puss comes out, so it could easily still be an ingrown hair. It's nasty and pops like a zit, and you usually can see the hair somewhere in the mess, but not always.
Avatar universal
I was wondering how long you did your sores last for? I think that I might have one of those also. I have symptoms that sound like those.
Avatar universal
They have been coming and going for almost 4 years now. Months I would go without any at all, then one would appear to me it seems, out of the blue. I have no major concern health wise. It's just an uncomfortable part of life I have to adjust with. It may be hereditary as my grandfather used to have them under his arms all the time. The only thing I would like to know is if they will appear for the rest of my life or is there something I can do to stop them. Again , they are painful so if you are experiencing the same thing, I know what you are feeling!!!
Avatar universal
Just reread your question... How long do they last for? It depends on how I treat them. Some when they get out of hand, like very sore incapable to walk type deal, I HAVE to put a hot compress on them to reduce swelling. These usually last a few days. Others I can adjust and they go away on their own, again leaving scars behind. Either way , if I treat them or not, they leave scars for some reason!
Avatar universal
I found this site tonight while searching for information on what you all are talking about.  I actually found this particular site by reading posts from last summer about this very topic. I too have these "lumps" on my inner thighs.  The only thing that concerns me is that I have more than what it seems others have.  At some points in time both my thighs look black and bruised.  The first time my fiance saw them he freaked out.  I freaked out the first time I saw how black and disfigured they looked.  I thought it was cancer and I broke down and cried and had a panic attack in the shower.  I was going on a trip with a bunch of girlfriends who are nurses and I showed it to them.  My sister who was there and is a nurse of course was very concerned and told me to go see my physician.  Another friend told me they were ingrown hairs and that she "dug hers out" with a needle (OUCH! GROSS!)  Anyway, mine start out feeling like a small pimple or small lump under my skin and then raise up from the skin and spread out fairly large and turn a blackish-purple in the middle and deep red around the edges.  They become sensitive and then very painful to the touch.  After a day or two like this they begin to shrink and eventually flatten out, although the dark color stays in the center on several of them.  About a week or so later, they start again.  I first thought they were ingrown hairs but after reading the other post from last year, I know they are the sebacious(sp) cysts as I had one removed from my tailbone area 9 years ago, I just didn't tie it together as this is much different, although very similar, to that.  They are boil like, but unlike a boil that is a one time thing, these will continue to come back in most cases it seems.  I do plan on seeing my doctor about it next month but I was glad to find that it seems to be fairly common and hopefully not anything too serious.
130384 tn?1221593027
I used to get these things near my bikini line; VERY painful, very swollen, and would leak pus especially when pushed on.

My doctor took a culture while I was having one and said that it was staph bacteria invading my shaving bumps.  She said we naturally have staph bacteria on our bodies everyday but they were invading a shaving cut and causing an infection.  At the time I only used Ivory soap so she told me to switch to antibacterial bar soap (something strong like 'Dial') and I haven't seen one single sore since then.

Some women in the past have said that didn't help, but it certainly helped me and it's worth a try if you can't find any relief.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
My symptoms are exactly like yours. I get these swollen red bumps in my bikini area that are painful and tender. It's hard to move around sometimes. They swell and then after a few days go away. I had one in my armpit a year ago, and then I got one in the groin and just recently got another one, but they leave little spot-like scars afterwards. They're beginning to freak me out.
Avatar universal
I have had all of the above...geez, that sounds bad.  Ok, I have had small hard bumps which were ingrown hairs and I have had boils and cysts - I have been told by my doc that boils are the same as sebacceous cysts.  You should use warm/hot compresses as often as possible - for 15 minutes every hour - or until it erupts on its own.  If you push on it or squeeze it, you risk further infection.  There will be some infection if it is in an area of the body that may have friction - ie: underarm, inside thigh, under breasts, etc.  Also, my pharmacist suggested I use Ichthammol Ointment 20%.  It stinks - smells like tar and it is black and sticky - but it works.  My grandmother said "in her day, it was called black sauve".  Just found out about all this - in fact other people in another forum mentioned it.  They can leave some pretty nasty scars.  Hope this helps.
P.S. If it is in the lower half of your body, I suggest doing sitz baths with epsom salts as well - atleast it takes some of the soreness away. And when you use the ointment, clean and dry the area first, use the ointment and cover with sterile gauze - can do this up to twice daily.  BTW, it will stain the heck out of your clothes.
Avatar universal
Based on the intermittent recurrance of the symptoms over a long period of time and their location, a possible diagnosis for xmaggiex's condition is Hidradenitis Suppurativa


The following may prove interesting.


http://www.hs-usa.org/abstracts/abstract_viewer.asp?ID=91

http://www.hs-usa.org/hidradenitis_suppurativa.htm

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3225/is_8_72/ai_n15863463

http://www.frontiernet.net/~ruthb/HidradenitisSuppurativa.html

http://rarediseases.about.com/cs/hidradenitissupp/a/072703.htm


I myself am a sufferer but so far only in a relatively mild Stage I form.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is an "orphan disease" (i.e. a disease in which the medical profession has not yet taken much interest nor done much serious research on. They are only just starting to acknowledge its existence) and as such, diagnosis and treatment can be a very hit and miss affair. BE CAREFUL; do your own research and don't take anyone's "expert" advice totally for granted (my own included!)

I'm sure that in 20 years' time the pharmaceutical industry will have realised that there are massive profits to be made and we'll have a tailor-made slew of drugs to choose from. Until then good luck with your own search for an effective treatment because the disease seems to go very different ways for different people.

I personally have found it to be (almost!) a blessing in disguise. Faced with the unappealing prospect of progression to Stages II and III of the disease, I have really pulled myself together and now lead a pretty damned healthy lifestyle.

Whether I have halted the progress of the disease or whether further deterioration is inevitable, no-one (not even the doctors) can say with any certainty.

I just stay positive, live with the flare-ups and, in the meantime, enjoy the benefits of feeling 10 years younger due to improved diet and LOTS of exercise!

Good luck again

Avatar universal
Hey KT80, Thank you so much for the sites and info.  After looking at this and reading about this, I believe this is what I have.  I almost cried looking at it - I don't have them all the time but I do have flare ups around the time of my period.  Any doc I've ever been to told me it was sebaceous cysts, etc.  I have dealt with this alone for a very long time.  In your opinion, should I consult my gyn doc or my gp and ask for referral to dermatologist?  I think with the scarring under my breats and between my legs, I would consider surgery.
Thank you! Thank you!
Avatar universal
Hey Charlie, thanks for the thanks

Remember: having this thing makes you a pioneer, whether you want to be or not.

And as a pioneer there is no-one but you to find the best way forward for yourself.

What I mean is that no one (myself included) can give you better advice than you can find out for yourself because there are too many variables in each of our individual situations to make general all-encompassing advice any good.

For example, I don't know if the local dermatologist that your gyn doc/gp might refer you to knows anything about Hidradentis Suppurativa. Maybe s/he does, maybe not. Maybe s/he's an expert, maybe s/he thinks H.S. is all in your mind.

You need to find out.

Similarly does the surgeon whom you've (hypothetically) chosen have much experience with H.S. or is it their first time dealing with it? If s/he's experienced, is s/he any good? How are the other patients that s/he has operated on doing?

You need to find out.

Of course, you may or may not be able to find this stuff out. Probably the examples I've given above are bad: could I find that stuff out if I were in your place? Maybe not. My point is you've got to get that pioneer mindset that says you are the leading partner in your own treatment (of course, don't be too demandingly strident with the pros; docs are only human and in this case, may not know too much more than you. Likewise, don't get so desperate for any quick cure that you become gullible; as well as predators who want your money there are also a lot of well-meaning folks out there who don't know sh:t from shynola)

Remember: if you don't do your own research you won't get the best treatment.


Don't rush into anything because of the sense of panic you can feel rising now. Don't fret, you're not alone; it's a normal reaction. All us pioneers get that sinking feeling to start off with!

Just do your own research and TAKE YOUR TIME.

(Hmmm capital letters. That bit about taking your time must be pretty important)

Again, good luck, pioneer. You'll find the way
Avatar universal
Sorry, it was Charley not Charlie

See! Anything can happen when you don't do your research properly lol
Avatar universal
Thank you for the info, will check it out...
Avatar universal
Well, with reading and looking at all the pictures, it seems to resemble what I may have. Although, thank goodness mine only are the size of dimes rather than baseballs!!!

Little did I know so many suffer from these horrible outbreaks. I do notice some show up during my menstral cycle others do not, they seem to have a mind of their own!!

Stress, heat, constant friction are known factors which contribute to these, in which I will monitor closely. I will consult with my doc to see if that's what they really are, but it seems close enough to me especially due to scarring..


KT, thank you so much for your imput regarding this issue. I may have gone on for many more years thinking they were ingrown hairs or boils. The correct term for it sounds unappealing, so I may just refer to it as "Fox disease" as I saw on one site.


Hopefully in due time, they can be healed without the scarring!!

Thanks again!!!!!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the thanks, Maggie.

A name is just a name but maybe try a bit more reading into Fox-Fordyce disease.

I personally have come to the conclusion that Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Fox-Fordyce disease are two separate conditions. FF has distinctive smaller eruptions. See the following (although I say again to all: don't trust me, do your own research!):

http://www.skinatlas.com/fox-fordyce1.htm

http://www.acmls.org/Dermatolog/Dermatology/20_Intertriginous%20and%20Genital%20Problems/P_305.htm

http://dermis.multimedica.de/dermisroot/en/21914/image.htm


Unfortunately I have the one with the bigger lumps and the unattractive name, dammit (lol)

The only reason I mention it is that if HS is to get recognised and researched more by the medical profession, it helps if everyone refers to it by a single name. No big deal though. It'll get the attention it deserves eventually if we all educate our doctors.

Avatar universal
I went to those sites you posted, and no , it is nothing like that at all.

I was stating that the name HS was unappealing to announce and saw one one site it can be aka Fox-disease lol.

I still believe I may have HS, but again, mine are the size of dimes and not golf or baseballs.

Again, will continue to research and consult my doc, but thanks again for your input.
Avatar universal
what do i do.. i have ingrow hair on my but and its my First TIME EVER should i go SEE a doc?
and it hurts so bad!!
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