Boils (Skin Abscesses)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideBoils: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

Boils: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

What is a boil? What are boil symptoms and signs? (Part 2)

There are several different types of boils:

  • Furuncle or carbuncle: This is an abscess in the skin usually caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. A furuncle can have one or more openings onto the skin and may be associated with a fever or chills. The term furuncle is used to refer to a typical boil that occurs within a hair follicle. The term carbuncle is typically used to represent a larger abscess that involves a group of hair follicles and involves a larger area than a furuncle. A carbuncle can form a hardened lump that can be felt in the skin. The condition of having chronic, recurring boils is referred to as furunculosis or carbunculosis. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 2/19/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

Satter, Elizabeth Kline. "Folliculitis." Medscape.com. Dec. 11, 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1070456-overview>.

Singhal, Hemant. "Skin and Soft Tissue Infections - Incision, Drainage, and Debridement." Medscape.com. May 8, 2012. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1830144-overview>.

IMAGES:

1."Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology"; Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond; Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

2.iStock/Getty IMages

3.MedicineNet

4.Getty Images

5.Getty Images

6.iStock

7.iStock

8.iStock

9.iStock

10.Peggy Firth and Susan Gilbert for WebMD

11.iStock/Getty IMages

12.iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Boils - Effective Treatments

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your boils?

    Post View 52 Comments
  • Boils - Causes

    Has a boil ever become infected? If so, what was the outcome?

    Post View 23 Comments
  • Boils - Location and Symptoms

    Where was your boil located and what were the developing symptoms?

    Post View 20 Comments
  • Boils - Experience

    Please describe your experience with boils.

    Post View 25 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors