You’ve heard of the pregnancy glow, but people never mention pregnancy boils, do they?
Unfortunately, this little-discussed symptom is not uncommon during pregnancy.
While some people sail through pregnancy without so much as a pimple, others suffer from endless bouts of pregnancy boils.
Keep reading to learn more about home remedies you can use to get rid of recurring boils during pregnancy.
What is a boil?
A boil is a painful lump that fills with pus.
Boils feel hard and often start as painful or itchy spots. They can appear anywhere on the body and can sometimes leak pus.
Boils are relatively common and some women find they suffer from them during pregnancy.
In short, it’s unlikely to be your favorite pregnancy symptom. In most cases, the boil will clear up by itself within a fortnight.
Does pregnancy cause boils?
No, pregnancy isn’t to blame for your newly acquired boils. However, some of your pregnancy symptoms might be the culprits. Boils can be caused by sweat or weight gain, so these risk factors could be at the heart of the problem.
A boil is usually caused by a bacterial infection in the skin. The harmful bacteria enter the skin through hair follicles or sweat glands.
Although they are not usually serious, it’s wise to pay extra attention to boils when you’re pregnant.
Common types of boils
There are several different types of boils, including:
- Cystic acne: This is an uncommon boil type, usually found on the face. It is a severe form of acne and appears as painful red pus-filled lumps.
- Bartholin’s cyst: The Bartholin glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening and are in charge of lubricating your vagina. If the glands become infected, you end up with a Bartholin’s cyst. Studies show this is one of the most common cysts women experience on the vulva. The cysts are usually small pain-free lumps but can become inflamed, if infected, and very sore. You should seek medical advice if you think you have an infected Bartholin cyst.
- Carbuncle: This is a collection of boils in one place. A carbuncle is likely to be painful. You should seek medical treatment if you’re suffering from a carbuncle.
Is it a boil or a skin abscess?
Boils are usually small, unlike abscesses, which can grow quite large. If you’re not sure which you have, speak to your healthcare provider for advice.
Skin abscesses are considered riskier during pregnancy because the infection can spread more easily to other parts of your body. A skin abscess will require medical care.
How do you treat a boil while pregnant?
Because of its unsightly appearance and tenderness, you’re probably keen to blast your boil off your body.
During pregnancy, treatment options for all health conditions might be slightly different. Before you try various treatment options, medications and painkillers, it’s essential to check whether they are safe to use during pregnancy.
If you’re unsure whether a treatment option is safe during pregnancy, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Boils during pregnancy treatment
You’re probably wondering how you can safely treat boils during pregnancy. Treatment during pregnancy is pretty much the same as treatment for non-pregnant people.
Home remedies you can try:
- Soak a flannel in warm water and hold it to the boil for 10 minutes. Repeat this warm compress four times each day. Doing this will provide relief but might also help to speed up the healing
- If the boil leaks pus, you should clean the area with antibacterial soap
- Keep the boil covered with a dressing until it heals
- If the boil is causing discomfort, you can take paracetamol to ease the pain.
How to prevent boils during pregnancy
It might be possible to prevent boils if you:
- Bathe or shower every day, to ensure good personal hygiene
- Wash your hands regularly
- Wash your bedding at least once a week at a high temperature
- Wash your towels at least once a week at a high temperature.
Things to avoid if you have a boil during pregnancy
If you have a boil, you must be careful not to:
- Pick, squeeze or pierce the boil. Leave it well alone
- Share your towel with others; this could pass the skin infection on to other members of your household
- Go swimming; you could pass the infection on to others.
Why am I suddenly getting boils?
Some women experience boils during pregnancy even though they have never suffered from them previously. Experts don’t know exactly why boils occur during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can result in some skin conditions, so they could be to blame for your newly acquired boils.
Poor hygiene can also lead to boils. If you’re sweatier than usual, you might need to adjust your washing habits accordingly.
Many women notice they sweat more during pregnancy, and especially at night.
Pregnancy weight gain and boils
Pregnancy weight gain could also be to blame. In non-pregnant sufferers, losing weight is advised to prevent boils, but this advice isn’t safe to follow during pregnancy. Although you should be mindful of how much weight you gain, you should not aim to lose weight during pregnancy.
If you’re wondering why you’re gaining weight so fast, you can read Why Am I Gaining Weight So Fast During Pregnancy?
Should I see a doctor for boils during pregnancy?
You don’t need to see your doctor if you get a boil during pregnancy. However, if you feel worried about the boil, or you are finding it extremely painful, it’s worth discussing it with your healthcare provider.
If you think it could be a skin abscess rather than a boil, then it’s worth having a doctor check it out, as you might need additional treatment. A skin abscess can develop into a severe infection if left untreated.
When to seek medical advice for boils
You should seek medical advice about your boil if:
- The boil is on your face
- You have a long-term condition, such as HIV or diabetes
- The skin around the boil feels hot and painful
- You’ve had the boil for two weeks
- You keep getting boils
- You have a carbuncle (a group of boils)
- You feel hot and shivery (fever).
If you feel worried about something during pregnancy, it’s always worth getting it checked out by your healthcare providers. Don’t worry about wasting their time; they’d much rather you went in than worry yourself sick.
Treatment for boils
If the home remedies above aren’t working, you might need medical treatment for your pregnancy boils. If your doctor agrees the boil needs treatment, it might need to be lanced and drained. Having the boil lanced by your doctor will also relieve any discomfort.
Antibiotics are sometimes required to treat boils. However, your doctor will need to assess whether they are safe for you to use during pregnancy.
Pregnancy boils in pubic area
Although it is not be ideal, having pregnancy boils in your pubic area is usually nothing to worry about. Boils can appear anywhere on the body, which means some women experience them in their pubic area.
Vaginal boils can develop in the pubic area or on the labia. An impacted hair follicle can cause vaginal boils. Ingrown hairs are relatively common in the pubic area and this could be partly to blame for your pubic boils. Boils usually start small and develop into a swollen, painful spot within a couple of days.
Should I see a doctor for pregnancy boils in pubic area?
Yes, it might be worth seeing your healthcare provider if you find a boil in your pubic region. If you have a spot on your labia and aren’t sure whether or not it’s a boil, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and provide medical advice. Most boils go away without treatment within two weeks.
Boils during pregnancy buttocks
Pregnancy boils are commonly found on the buttocks. So much for that pregnancy glow, huh?
Boils on your bum can be particularly uncomfortable because, obviously, you need to sit on it. Try wearing loose-fitting, comfortable trousers to help reduce the discomfort and take it easy until the boil has gone. Avoid uncomfortable sitting positions and hard surfaces.
Soaking in a bath of warm water might help relieve the discomfort of boils on your buttocks during pregnancy. The boil should clear up within two weeks, but a regular warm compress could help speed up the healing process.
Boils during pregnancy and gender
Could your pregnancy boils be a clue to the sex of your baby? Nope, afraid not.
Suffering from boils during pregnancy won’t give you a clue about the sex of your child. Some say lousy skin during pregnancy means you’re having a girl, but this is simply an old wives’ tale.
The simple truth is this: suffering from boils during pregnancy just means you’re suffering from boils during pregnancy.