Boils are pus-filled lumps on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body, including the buttocks. Boils often resolve without treatment. In severe instances, antibiotics and surgery may be necessary.

Boils typically occur due to bacterial infection with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

Rapidly growing, severe, or recurrent boils may be due to methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This form of bacteria is immune to most types of antibiotics, so it remains on the skin and can be challenging to treat. MRSA skin infections can lead to more serious complications, including life threatening deep tissue infections and complicated pneumonia.

In this article, we look at the common causes of boils on the buttocks and how to identify a boil. We also discuss treatment, home remedies, and when to contact a doctor.

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Treatment will vary depending on the size, location, and severity of a boil. In some cases, warm compresses and close observation may be enough as a first treatment.

However, if the boil is getting larger, doctors may recommend surgical incision and drainage.

In many cases, this will allow the boil to heal without needing antibiotics. If the infection is severe, rapidly growing, or spreading into the surrounding tissue, antibiotics may also be necessary.

Learn more about boils.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following steps for any type of boil:

  1. Make a warm compress by soaking a clean cloth in hot water.
  2. Apply the compress to the affected area until it releases pus.
  3. Consider taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen if the boils are painful.
  4. Keep the area clean and avoid touching or rubbing it.
  5. If the boil bursts, keep it covered with a bandage or gauze to prevent the spread of bacteria.

People also need to avoid picking, poking, squeezing, or trying to lance the boil at home to prevent it from becoming more inflamed and worsening the infection.

Boils from MRSA may need more extensive or additional treatment.

Learn more about home remedies for boils here.

Prevention and MRSA management

It can be very difficult to remove MRSA from the body.

Because of this, people who share a household with a person who has a boil may also undergo steps to decrease the presence of the bacteria.

This is especially important if multiple family members are experiencing ongoing skin infections.

Some strategies for managing MRSA infections at home include:

  • bathing and washing regularly
  • practicing good handwashing techniques with soap and hot water
  • using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • using commercial-grade disinfectants for surfaces at home
  • washing clothing and bedding regularly
  • not sharing personal items such as razors, towels, cosmetics, washcloths, or deodorant
  • using pump and squeeze bottles of lotion or moisturizers rather than pots or jars

A boil on the buttocks is a raised lump that may be:

  • discolored
  • swollen
  • tender
  • painful
  • warm
  • filled with pus

Boils usually initially resemble a small, firm bump around the size of a pea.

They may grow in size and become softer, often with a yellow or white tip that leaks pus or clear liquid. A boil can grow to the size of a golf ball or even larger.

Boils often occur due to an infection with the bacteria S. aureus, which people commonly call a staph infection.

All humans have this bacteria living on their skin, where it is usually harmless. When a person develops boils on their buttocks or elsewhere, it is often due to bacteria under the skin.

Several factors can make a person more susceptible to boils, including:

  • Close contact: MRSA and other resistant bacteria can pass from person to person.
  • Previously having boils: It is common for boils to recur.
  • Eczema, psoriasis, or skin irritation: These conditions can cause long lasting breaks in the skin barrier and increase the risk of bacterial infection.

Other medical conditions or lifestyle factors that make people more likely to get boils include:

  • iron deficiency anemia
  • diabetes
  • previous antibiotic therapy
  • difficulties maintaining personal hygiene
  • obesity
  • HIV and other autoimmune conditions

Diagnosing a boil on the buttocks is usually simple. A healthcare professional may be able to identify it with only a visual examination. If the boil is draining, the professional can collect a sample to test for bacteria, particularly MRSA.

A doctor may also take urine and blood samples to test for underlying diabetes, systemic infection, or another health condition.

Healthcare personnel may take nasal swabs from the individual or close family members to see if they are carrying the MRSA bacteria.

Sometimes, people may mistake a boil for a carbuncle or a cyst. Carbuncles are clusters of multiple boils, so they are typically easy to differentiate.

Cysts are fluid-filled lumps that form under the skin. Unlike boils, cysts often occur without pain, skin discoloration, or fever symptoms. They may also have no clear opening on them, unlike the noticeable centers of boils.

Learn more about differentiating boils and cysts.

It is best for people to contact a doctor if:

Below are frequently asked questions relating to boils on the buttocks.

What triggers boils?

Boils occur when the bacteria S. aureus breaches the skin barrier and causes an infection under the skin.

How long does it take for a boil on your buttocks to heal?

In most cases, small boils on the buttocks will heal on their own within 1–2 weeks. Home remedies may help speed up the recovery process. However, if home remedies do not work, boils continue to swell, or they become increasingly painful, contact a doctor immediately.

Boils ar the result of an infection under the skin and in mild cases resolve on their own within weeks.

Boils that are getting larger, not healing on their own, or causing other symptoms may require drainage or more extensive treatment. Recurrence is one of the most common complications associated with boils on the buttocks.

They rarely lead to systemic infections or a fever unless they are related to another underlying condition. Boils from MRSA are more likely to cause serious complications. Boils that do not occur due to MRSA rarely have any long-term effects but may cause scarring.