“Why do I keep getting boils on my body?”
If you’re looking for the answer to this question, then keep reading. You may have a serious inflammatory skin condition.
What condition causes these painful boils?
There are a lot of different conditions that can cause painful or tender boils, bumps, cysts, nodules, lumps and ‘pimples.’
However, sometimes painful nodules that keep coming back are caused by a little-known condition called hidradenitis suppurativa or “HS” for short.
Hidradentitis suppurativa is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes recurrent painful bumps. Sometimes the bumps seem like they don’t go away, or they take a really long time to heal.
How can you tell if you have hidradenitis suppurativa? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Did the boils start happening when you were between the ages of 13 – 24?
- If you’re a female, did the bumps start showing up around the time when you were pregnant?
- If you’re a female, do the bumps get worse before your period?
- If you’re a female, do you have irregular periods, excess facial or body hair, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
- Are you heavy or overweight?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have known blood sugar problems (such as diabetes)?
- Do you struggle with acne?
- Does anyone in your family get the same type of skin bumps?
- Do the bumps leave bad scars, black marks, blackheads, or even holes?
- Do you notice skin redness, tingling, pain or a sick feeling before a new boil pops up?
- Do the bumps stay for a long time and seem like they never heal?
- Do the nodules seem to leave open wounds?
- Do the bumps keep coming back no matter what, and nothing seems to help them go away?
- Are the bumps mostly located in your armpit (underarm), pubic area, inner thigh, private parts, scrotum, buttocks, or under your breasts? (Note that HS can also show up on the face, chest, back, jawline, neck, scalp, ears and abdomen, although these areas are not as commonly affected)
- Do the nodules burst, leak and ooze a smelly, bloody discharge or pus?
- Do the bumps feel like they’re deep underneath the skin, like a cyst?
- Do the bumps hurt or sting?
- Do the bumps itch?
- Do you have low energy, joint pain, or a general sense of feeling unwell?
- Do you have digestive issues or a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis)?
If you answered “YES” to 5 or more of the above questions, it is highly likely that you could have hidradenitis suppurativa. You should make an appointment to see your doctor right away so that you can get checked out.
If you do have HS, it’s important to get the correct diagnosis early on so that you can start treatment right away. The inflammation that drives hidradenitis suppurativa can “snowball” over time, so the earlier you start getting things under control, the better you can manage this condition.