Can stress cause boils?

Stress is prevalent among people in today’s unpredictably chaotic society. Both emotional and physiological changes may take place when stress is present.

Hormonal imbalances, poor sleep, and even skin changes may be part of these unwelcome changes.

Boils, commonly referred to as skin abscesses, are skin ailments that can occasionally be brought on by stress.

Stress’s side effects can hurt. To discover the treatment for stress boils, educate yourself on what they are, why they happen, and how to avoid them.


When bacteria invade and irritate one or more of your hair follicles, a painful, pus-filled swelling under your skin known as a boil develops.

A carbuncle is a collection of boils that join to produce an infected region beneath the skin.

Typically, boils (furuncles) begin as sensitive, reddish, or purplish lumps. Before they rupture and discharge, the lumps quickly fill with pus, enlarging and becoming more painful.

The face, back of the neck, armpits, thighs, and buttocks are the regions most prone to be impacted.

A single boil may typically be treated at home. However, avoid trying to prick or squeeze it because doing so could spread the infection.

Signs and symptoms of boils

Boils can arise anywhere on your body, but they are most common in hair-bearing areas like the face, back of the neck, armpits, thighs, and buttocks where you’re most likely to perspire or come into contact with something.

Typical indications and symptoms of a boil include:

  • a small, painful, red lump that can grow to be more than 2 inches in diameter (5 centimeters)
  • swelling, reddish or purple skin surrounding the lump
  • the bump getting bigger over a few days as it swells with pus
  • the formation of a yellow-white point that eventually bursts, allowing the pus to drain out


A group of boils that are joined and produce an infection are called carbuncles. Carbuncles are more likely to leave a scar and to induce a deeper, more severe infection than single boils.

People with carbuncles frequently feel under the weather in general and may have a fever and chills.

Causes of boils

Staphylococcus aureus, a species of bacterium frequently found on the skin and inside the nose, is the main cause of boils.

As pus builds up beneath the skin, a lump develops. Sometimes, boils form where the skin has been split open by a minor wound or an insect bite, allowing the germs easy passage.

Can stress cause boils?

Boils may develop in an environment where stress is present. There are various reasons why stress and boils go along.

There are numerous ways in which stress can impact the body. A person’s immune system may be compromised, making them more prone to illness. Additionally, stress can make fighting the infection more challenging.

Additionally, hormone changes brought on by stress make the skin more reactive and sensitive. This could cause skin irritation, itching, or rashes.

The skin may rip or break as a result of scratching, allowing microorganisms to enter the body. Boils may develop in this environment because of the mix of factors.

The staphylococcus aureus bacteria, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), frequently induce stress boils. These bacteria naturally inhabit the skin’s outer layer, but they can infect the body if they go inside.

The infection can establish a foothold and develop after it has entered the body. Staph infection is the term used to describe the illness.

The staphylococcal bacteria, which is the main cause of boils, can infect stressed skin because it becomes drier, more brittle, and more vulnerable to infection.

High levels of cortisol and other stress chemicals, according to the American Psychology Association, can cause a subpar immunological response.

Tiny skin cracks are more vulnerable to infection from the bacterium that produces boils when combined with erratic skincare routines, which are frequent during times of high stress.

The American Dermatological Association advises learning stress reduction strategies to strengthen the skin’s defenses against staphylococcal infection. Utilizing stress reduction tactics can help the skin look better overall and strengthen the immune system.

Treatment options for stress boils

Several treatments may help you feel better once a stress boil develops by reducing the infection.

Alleviate stress

Reducing your level of stress can help you get rid of stress boils since stress can create an atmosphere where skin problems could appear.

Throughout the day, make an effort to reduce stress-causing variables. Consider scheduling stress-reduction techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises into your routine. Or, if at all possible, lessen your burden.

Receive medical care

Even though stress boils typically go away on their own, it may be beneficial to discuss treatment options with your doctor, especially if you are in discomfort.

If numerous locations require treatment, you might also wish to get in touch with your doctor. Boils occasionally cause a fever or swollen, painful lymph nodes. Also possible are fatigue and weakness.

You should get in touch with a doctor if you notice any of these signs.

Drain the boil

It might be time to drain after the boil reaches its peak. Visit a doctor if the boil is larger so they can perform a minor incision, drain and clean the lesion, and bandage it to prevent infection while the incision heals.

Smaller boils typically stop draining on their own after using the warm compresses or drawing salves that doctors have advised. Once more, never try to pop or drain a boil by yourself.

Apply Warm Compresses

Several times daily application of a warm, moist compress can assist to improve circulation and draw healing cells to the area around the boil. Some relief may be offered by applying gentle heat to the area.

Additionally, avoid crushing, bursting, or stabbing the stress boil because doing so could increase the transmission of bacteria via the infection. Additionally, it can make it more likely for surrounding skin regions to get another infection.

Antibiotic use

A doctor may recommend antibiotics when the stress boil is accompanied by extra nearby skin illness and a temperature.

In conjunction with draining the boil, antibiotics help. It may also be advised to apply a topical antibiotic treatment to the skin around the infected areas.

Prevention of Stress Boil

People can take a few simple measures to prevent or lessen the occurrence of stress boils. Keeping bacteria under control is one method.

Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands and skin thoroughly, covering cuts, and avoiding sharing personal objects like razors that could be contaminated with bacteria.


In order to maintain a robust immune system and lessen the likelihood that a stress boil will develop, reducing stress is also crucial.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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