Boils are painful!
How do you get rid of them quickly and ensure they don’t come back?
We are going to cover not only what typically causes boils,
ways they are treated that can bring relief fast!
The boil on your body may look a lot like a pimple but will grow much larger and typically be more painful. In fact, there are recorded cases of boils reaching the size of golf balls.
Boils are often referred to as “carbuncles” and are essentially a collection of puss that occurs under the skin in an oil gland or hair follicle (2).
This small area of infection will grow from a tiny red bump to a large painful swelling that can end up going far deeper. If this infection goes deep enough, it can lead to sepsis (an infection of the blood), endocarditis (an infection of the heart) or osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone) (3).
What Causes A Boil To Form
The main cause of boils is a bacterium called Staphylococcus Aureus (4). This bacterium lives in our bodies after it enters through some form of skin lesion.
Common places a boil may manifest include, the buttocks, chest, legs, back, breast, waistline, and pubic area. Sometimes they can also appear around areas where there are piercings.
While this bacterium may be responsible for the infection that causes boils, there are many reasons that leads to the infection in the first place:
- Allergic reactions
- Allergic reaction to fabrics and laundry products
- Damaged hair follicles
- Excessive scratching with infected fingers and nails
- Excessive sweating that can lead to an accumulation of dirt
- Infected lymph nodes
- Poor hygiene
- Poor nutrition
- Sharing toiletries
- Stress and overexertion
- Waxing or shaving
- Weakened immune system
Boils not only cause physical discomfort but can lead to significant medical issues if they are not taken care of. While some may go away on their own, most require at least some form of homeopathic care to get rid of them in the early stages.
Some, if left untreated for long enough can land a person in their doctor’s office or the emergency room of the local hospital for lancing and infection care.
Symptoms Of Boils
The typical boil starts out as a red, hard, painful lump under your skin that is typically less than a half-inch in diameter. Over the course of a few days, the lump will become softer, bigger, and more painful.
Left untreated at this point, a puss pocket will form at the top of the boil, which is an indication of infection.
If the infected area continues to be left untreated you may be faced with a severe infection requiring medical attention (5). Signs that the infection has reached this point are:
- The skin around the boil will show signs of infection including turning red, becoming warm, swollen, and painful.
- You may see more boils forming around the original boil.
- You may have a fever.
- Your lymph nodes may become swollen.
Are Boils Easy To Get Rid Of?
How easy a boil is to get rid of depends on the size of the boil and how deep the infection runs. For most people with immune systems functioning in normal ranges, a small boil will simply come to a head and then drain all on its own within a couple of weeks.
However, you must refrain from pressing on the boil, squeezing it, or scratching at it. Any action like these is only likely to drive the infection further down into your skin.
Good Hygiene Is Key
One of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of getting boils is to practice good hygiene.
Use a gentle soap and avoid soaps that claim to be antibacterial as most are ineffective at best and cause a number of other problems at worst.
In fact, there are so many issues with these soaps the FDA banned triclosan, which was one of the main ingredients in antibacterial soaps (6).
The Warm Compress Method
The fastest and most common method that can get a boil to come down (especially overnight) is the warm compress method.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned the affected area and dried it off, you can apply a warm compress to the boil. This is supposed to encourage the boil to begin draining on its own.
There are a lot of ways to make a compress on your own. Foods like rice and beans hold heat the longest. You can put them inside a few socks and microwave them, to provide heat for a long period of time.
The other option is for you to buy an electric heating pad that will consistently provide heat and use that to keep your compress warmer much longer.
This can work well especially if you are trying to get the boil down quickly overnight. Make sure to read any warnings on the heating pad. Some pads are not meant to be left on through an entire night.
Also make sure you get one that allows for moisture, especially if you are making a compress that contains moisture.
As soon as you notice the boil has begun to drain on its own, keep the treatment up for three more days (apply compress three to four times daily).
Wash the boil and surrounding area with a natural antibacterial soap such as one containing tea tree oil (7). Then apply a natural antibiotic ointment such as Colloidal Silver and cover it with a bandage (8).
Keep the bandage changed on a daily basis until the area has fully healed.
Natural Home Remedies
There are a number of natural home remedies out there that claim to be able to help get rid of a boil on your body wherever it may be.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and is also known to help purify the blood. It also has certain antibacterial properties. It is used by naturopaths to help with a number of problems.
The curcumin in turmeric is known for its antibacterial qualities (9). All you have to do is make a thick paste of turmeric and water, then apply to the infected area and cover. This will help destroy infection causing bacteria and reduce inflammation and pain.
That’s right, according to many natural medicine practitioners, you can use a slice of onion to help you get rid of a boil. Onions are another natural antibacterial and have been proven to help with a wide range of infections.
To help with a boil you could cut a thick slice of onion, place it over the infected area and cover it with a piece of gauze. At first, the onion will irritate the skin causing the boil to burst open. Then you simply apply a fresh slice of onion and let its natural antibacterial properties go to work.
Unlike the previous two natural remedies, Echinacea is not applied directly to the boil, you consume in a tea or in pill or capsule form. This herb has already been scientifically proven to be useful in the fight against infection (10).
Much research has been completed regarding the efficacy of this herb and has found that 900 mg per day can help most adults fight off a range of infections including the virus that leads to the common cold.
Medical Treatment To Get Rid Of Boils
Doctors agree that the warm compress method listed above will typically get rid of most small boils. For boils that do not respond to homeopathic treatments or have become infected you should seek medical treatment.
Your doctor may start you on a regimen of antibiotics if he feels the infection is serious enough to warrant it.
He may choose to lance the boil, allowing it to drain. If he finds the infection has set in too deep, he may pack the area with a piece of gauze. The gauze can then soak up any excess puss so that it can be removed.
The wound can then be packed with an antibacterial ointment and covered so that it can heal.
Your doctor may send a sample of the puss out to a lab for evaluation to determine what type of bacteria was involved. By doing this, he will know if he prescribed the best antibiotic for you or if he needs to make a change.
Whether you get the boil drained by the doctor or are successful in doing so with a homeopathic remedy such as those listed above, the wound must be kept clean, covered with an antibiotic ointment, and bandaged until it heals.
If at any time during the healing process you notice the area around the wound turning red or look as though it might be getting infected again, you need to contact a medical professional.
When Should I Seek Professional Help For My Boil?
There are a number of instances in which you might want to contact a doctor to treat your boil:
- If you have been trying the warm compress method for one week without any noticeable changes.
- If you are a diabetic and notice you have a boil (many diabetics are prone to developing more serious infections).
- If a boil develops on an infant.
- If the boil is located on your rectum.
- If the boil produces a fever or severe pain.
- If the boil causes red streaks, swelling, or any other form of discoloration to nearby skin.
- If you have been taking antibiotics and the infection does not appear to be clearing up in one to two days.
- If you have had several episodes of boils within a short period of time.
For most people, a simple boil going to take care of itself and disappear in a few days. Most are so small that we never even notice them. However, if you do end up with a boil that has become large, painful, swollen, or infected, you do need to take care of it.
The best place to start is by thoroughly cleaning the area and applying warm compresses. This will encourage the skin to open up and either allow the puss to ooze out or allow the next phase of your homeopathic treatment to get in and do its job.
Never try to use a needle, razor blade, knife, or anything else to puncture the skin. Not only can this serve to further aggravate the boil, it can lead to the formation of more of them and make the one you started with worse. Doing so can also lead to more serious infections that are going to require medical treatment.
With the right care and treatment, boils on the body can easily be treated if they are minor.