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Pregnancy will bring about a lot of changes in your body; these changes can range from common and expected such as morning sickness and back pain to less common ones such as boils. Boils are painful and of course, unwanted during pregnancy or even otherwise. They happen in early pregnancy due to factors such as a hormonal imbalance. Here’s everything you need to know about the causes, signs and treatment options for boils during pregnancy.
What Are Boils?
Boils are red, swollen, and painful bumps under the skin. They happen due to a skin infection caused by parasitic bacteria. The bacteria enter the skin through the hair follicles or sweat glands and form a pus pocket. This leads to a lot of discomforts. However, the good news is that boils only last for a few weeks and can be prevented by maintaining hygiene.
What Are the Types of Boils?
The most common types of boils that occur during pregnancy include the following –
A pilonidal cyst is a type of boil that occurs in the crack of the buttocks. If you happen to suffer from a pilonidal cyst, medical intervention will be required.
A furuncle starts as a red lump in the initial stages. Once the pus forms, the boil bursts. While furuncles are the result of staphylococcal infection, carbuncles are groups of furuncles that can lead to scarring. Both furuncles and carbuncles can affect the face, neck, armpits, thighs, and buttocks.
3. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is rare. It is believed to affect the underarms, underside of breasts, and the groin.
4. Cystic Acne
When harmful bacteria go deep into the skin, it results in cystic acne. This condition is characterised by bumps that are red, tender and full of pus. If a cyst bursts and oozes out pus, it can lead to more boils. This kind of acne is generally seen on the face, chest, back, upper arms and shoulders.
What Causes Boils During Pregnancy?
The common causes of boils in pregnancy include the following –
- Blocked oil ducts of sweat glands
- Bacterial infection
- Ingrown hair
- A foreign object or splinter getting lodged in the skin
Factors that increase your chances of contracting boils in pregnancy are mentioned below –
- A weak immune system
- Poor hygiene and diet
- Exposure to harsh chemicals
- Hormonal imbalance
Boils may not occur due to early or late pregnancy. There are four major factors that cause boils – poor hygiene, unhealthy foods, hormonal imbalance, and a repressed immune system.
How Are Boils Diagnosed?
Boils are diagnosed in the following ways:
- Physical examination
- Bacterial culture (it’s the process in which the pus is collected and sent to culture to identify which bacteria is causing the infection)
- Assessment of symptoms and your medical history
Treatment for Boils During Pregnancy
Here are some ways to treat boils:
- Taking antibiotics prescribed by your doctor
- Surgical treatment
- A detoxifying diet
- Home remedies such as warm compress
Do Boils Pose a Risk to Baby’s Health?
Boils don’t cause fetal deformities or miscarriage. However, if you take antibiotics for boils, you must make sure that they are safe for the foetus and won’t cause any harm.
As you know prevention is better than cure, it’s better to prevent boils rather than deal with them once they occur. If you are pregnant and in the early stages of your pregnancy, follow these tips to prevent boils in the first place –
- Avoid wearing tight clothes
- Maintain hygiene
- Treat minor cuts and wounds immediately
- In case you suffer from diabetes or eczema, seek medical help
When Should You Consult a Doctor
Before trying any treatment for boils, consulting a doctor is a must. However, you should also speak to your doctor, in the following cases –
- If the boil turns bigger and the pain is unbearable
- If you have a fever
- If the boil doesn’t dry up within a couple of months
- If you have boils on the pubic area or face
- If you are a diabetic
- If you have boils on your spine or anal area.
Boils don’t cause any major complications to the pregnancy. But, we recommend that you get medical help at the earliest if the boils don’t dry up within 2-3 weeks.