Boil/Carbuncle - is a doctor visit necessary?
I get these occasionally, usually on my mons during my period. They swell and hurt and at some point during my cycle they drain (or not - they just shrink) and go away.
I figured they were a fact of life. About a month and a half ago I had a sore spot on my shoulder blade. I thought I just banged it and it was a bruise. After 2-3 weeks it started to itch so, while I can't reach it easily, I stretched my arm and found a rather swollen.... thing.
2 weeks later it started to drain but it doesn't seem to be fully draining. My experience is that they will eventually but this has taken longer to come to a head as well as to drain. Also, I was recently on Cephlexan (for a cut) and I rather thought boils were infections - why did it survive/thrive even during a course of a broad-spectrum antibiotic?
I'm happy to just wait it out as I do on the other boil/carbuncles but this one has lasted longer than usual and I'm wondering if this could lead to other problems.
(yes, yes, go to a doctor, You can't control when they have a slot for you - I have an appt 2 weeks from now. Just wondering if this is such an issue that I should go to an ER or Urgent Care).
- BelligerLv 66 years agoFavorite Answer
Boil germs (Staphylococci) are rather ubiquitous, but maybe you have a bigger population of them on your skin, than most people.
You are correct, boils and carbuncles are an infection, usually from Staph as I say. Antibiotics ought to help an acute infection, but would not necessarily clear your skin of them (sitting on the outside), in my humble opinion.
Some people get "foci" (focuses) of Staph sitting inside their nostrils and/or in their skin folds, - like armpits, groins, and bum cleft.
Every boil or carbuncle you burst, theoretically spreads more Staph germs onto your fingers and fingernails, and via them to your skin folds.
Sometimes, Staph infections are provoked by the person having sugar in their urine (sugar diabetes). In my humble opinion, you should get your wee tested for sugar as a precaution.
I think you need to put a germicidal cream widely onto your skin, as a "skin preventative," - on your mons skin, in your groin creases, in your bum crease, in your armpits and inside your nostrils, every day for a month or two. This should eliminate the Staph population sitting on your skin.
What you use, - natural or artificial, - is up to you, but personally I would recommend making yourself up a 500 gram (16 ounce) pot of just 1% phenol in aqueous cream. This is pretty much the same formulation as you find in "Germolene" antiseptic cream.
Germolene is, I think, still 0.75% phenol cream. Phenol is also the active ingredient in Carbolic Acid soap.
I make mine by dissolving a measured 5 grams of phenol crystals, into a big 500 gram pot of Aqueous Cream. Mix in and stir very thoroughly. The crystals will dissolve in the cream.
It may help the mixing, to heat the Aqueous Cream in a basinful of hot water first, - it takes a while, but the aqueous cream softens into almost a liquid when hot. You don't have to weigh the aqueous cream, because it comes as exactly 500 grams net.
You have to be careful of phenol crystals, - don't let them touch your skin, because they are caustic, and try not to inhale they vapour they give off, - and if you are not into DIY perhaps you should ask a pharmacist make this up for you! Please be safe on this.
Do not let the weak phenol cream get into your eyes, mouth, or vagina. Wash out if it does.
Could a prolonged carbuncle lead to other problems? - I don't think that is very likely, if your general health is good?
If the pus drainage is inadequate, as you say, then a boil could form a persistently draining sinus-track to the surface of your skin.
But internal spread of the Staph into your blood (called blood poisoning, or septicaemia), only takes place usually in individuals with impaired immunity, - like diabetics, patients on cortisone or steroids, and patients on anti-cancer drugs.
There is no suggestion that you have a damaged heart valve, - but if you did it would be important to avoid a septicaemia at all costs, because germs dissolved in the blood can attach themselves to damaged heart valves (this is called sub-acute bacterial endocarditis).
Hope this helps.
retired uk GP
- 6 years ago
Put some turmeric on that and it will clear it right up. You could make a turmeric paste and cover; change 2x / day to find relief. It wouldn't hurt to eat some turmeric spiced food either.
- Mary KontrarryLv 76 years ago
It's definitely not normal and it's good you've got a doctor appointment. You could call your doctor's office and ask if they think you should get it looked at sooner. Tell them everything you just wrote here.