All areas of the body that sweat and have hair are susceptible to boils. This includes your intergluteal cleft, commonly known as your butt crack.
Boils are painful, pus-filled bumps or lumps that typically occur in places where sweat pools. They’re a form of skin infection usually caused by bacteria that infect your hair follicles.
Also called furuncles, boils can develop on your buttocks and in your butt crack.
The most obvious symptom of a boil located in your butt crack is a red, painful bump in your skin. It may vary in size from a cherry pit to a walnut.
The boil may feel warm and swell as it fills with pus. Pus is a collection of dead white blood cells and bacteria. It usually appears white or yellowish in color.
Your symptoms might include:
- weeping or oozing of the lesion
- white or yellow center
- swelling around boil
- additional boils in surrounding skin area
- itching around the boil
A cluster of boils is called a carbuncle. This more severe skin infection can cause fatigue and fever.
Boils are caused by bacteria that infect a hair follicle. Usually, the bacteria is Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infection. This type of bacteria is common on the skin.
Similar to pimples, boils occur when pus builds up and pushes up to the surface of the skin. Both infections cause a bump in the skin which may grow as the pus builds up.
The difference between the two is that pimples occur in the first layer of skin (epidermis). Boils occur in the second, deeper layer (dermis).
Common causes for boils include:
- excessive sweating
- lack of proper hygiene
- weak immune system
Certain preexisting conditions can make it more likely that you’ll develop boils, including:
- immune system deficiency
- allergic asthma
- chronic infections
Do not pick or attempt to pop a boil in your butt crack. Popping your boil can allow the bacteria inside to spread through the blood or lymph vessels.
Keep the skin clean and apply moist, warm compresses to the boil for about 15 minutes three to four times a day. This promotes healing.
Most boils go away within 3 weeks. Some rupture on their own. Other boils will dissipate after the body dissolves the boil. If a boil bursts, cover the wound with a bandage.
If pain and swelling get worse after 2 to 3 days, or if you develop a fever, see your doctor. You may need to have the boil surgically lanced (cut open with a sharp tool).
You should not do this at home. A dermatologist or doctor can perform the procedure safely for you.
If boils are severe, don’t respond to home treatment, or keep coming back, they may need to be treated with oral or topical antibiotics or both.
Your boil might not be a boil at all. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin condition that causes bumps that appear very similar to boils. Similar to boils, these lumps are believed to be caused by a blockage of the hair follicles.
Lumps can be very painful and are recurrent. They often rupture, resulting in scarring of the skin.
The cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is relatively unknown, but genetics likely plays a role. People who have obesity and those who smoke are at greater risk of the condition.
There’s no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa, but some medications can help you manage it. These include:
- pain medication
- immunosuppressants, which are usually used for later or severe stages
Boils can occur anywhere there is sweat buildup or hair. Having a boil in your butt crack can make it uncomfortable to wear clothes, sit, and go about your daily activities.
While they can be painful, boils are usually benign and typically go away on their own after a couple weeks.
If your boil does not go away or improve with time, make an appointment with your doctor to have the boil examined. Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics, and they may lance and drain your boil.