Does Diabetes Cause Boils?

Skin infection is not an unheard complication in the case of diabetes patients. In the case of diabetes patients, the immune system of the body becomes weak and as such, a number of infections in the skin develop. These infections could also take the form of boils. In this article, we analyze and study the relationship between boils and diabetes. So, join in for the article “Does Diabetes Cause Boils?”

Table of Contents

What are Boils and What are Their Symptoms?

Boils are also known as skin abscesses and are mainly a skin infection. The area of the skin which is infected due to several causes such as poor nutrition, inadequate hygiene, diabetes, etc. becomes red and is characterized by the development of a lump in the area.

It is also defined as a collection of pus in one particular area of the skin and the more common areas where such an infection develops include the face, shoulders, armpits, and buttocks, amongst other places.


The signs and symptoms of boils include the following:

  • A red color bump in the area.
  • The skin around the area becomes painful, warm, as well as swollen
  • The patient may end up developing a fever.
  • The lymph nodes may swell up.

What are the Risk factors for Boils?

There are various risk factors which could lead to the development of boils in different parts of the skin. These factors include the following:

  • Kidney failure or any kidney related condition
  • Any weakness caused in the immune system of the body
  • Any other reason due to which the immune system of the body becomes weak
  • Condition where the body produces inadequate number of antibodies
  • Medicines and drugs that might lead to an improper functioning of the body’s immune system. Examples of such medicines include prednisone, prednisolone, etc.

The above risk factors increase your chances of developing boils. Having said that, it is possible that anyone could develop boils on different parts of the body.

Relationship Between Diabetes and Boils:

Let us now understand the relationship between boils and diabetes and how does diabetes lead to the patient developing boils in different parts of the skin.

Boils are generally caused by different types of bacteria. The most common type causing boils is known as Staphylococcus aureus. The other bacteria which also leads to the skin condition include methyl resistant staph aureus. Following are different ways in which a person suffering from diabetes can get affected by the above-mentioned bacteria:

  • As we know, diabetes leads to high blood glucose levels in the body of the patient. When a body is affected by high levels of sugar, even for a short period of time, you tend to get infections very easily. Boils are mainly caused by the infections which in turn are caused by different types of bacteria.
  • The weak immune system makes it really difficult for the body to fight against bacteria and germs. Diabetes is essentially caused by a weak immune system of the body. Hence it is very easy for the boils causing bacteria to infect different skin areas causing boils and swollen lymph.
  • Besides, most people do not take appropriate care of hygiene when they are diabetic. Bacteria flourish in unhygienic areas making you prone to getting boils
  • If you have uncontrolled diabetes, it is very common that you will have to deal with various types of yeast as well as fungal infections.
  • Finally, diabetic people are mostly under a lot of physical and emotional stress. Stress reduces and finally weakens the immune system of the body to a great extent. This, in turn, leads to bacteria and spreading infections in the form of boils and pus.

When to Show to a Doctor?

Patients often do not take boils seriously. However, they might be highly contagious and showing to the medical expert becomes absolutely necessary, particularly in the following circumstances:

  • The pain is extremely severe
  • The skin around the boil becomes too red
  • You have fever
  • The lymph nodes have swollen up
  • There is a second boil which has suddenly appeared around that area.
  • If the boil does not drain up.

It is absolutely necessary that you show to the doctor and take medical advice, particularly if you are suffering from a condition like diabetes or other conditions which are related to the immune system of the body.

Treatment of Boils

There are various treatments available once you develop boils. Following are the ones which prove to be extremely helpful:

Medical Treatment

There are different ways in which a doctor will look into and treat your boil in different skin areas. Following are the various ways:

  • If you develop boils on a frequent basis, the doctors usually conduct a blood test to determine the root cause.
  • Antibiotics are used to prevent any other type of bacterial infection in those already afflicted with boils. Examples of antibiotics are Cleocin, Mupirocin, Keflex, amongst others.
  • Once the boil has been burst out, the doctors may do a culture in order to ascertain what is the type of bacteria that was responsible for the boil in the first place and whether an appropriate treatment of the same has been done.
  • Besides, there could be a special case where a boil develops between the buttocks. The condition is also known as apilonidal Doctors treat this special case with medical treatments known as drainage and packing.

Home Remedies for Boils

The following are the home remedies which help in the successful treatment of boils:

  • Take a cloth, dip it in warm water, and apply the same on the boil. This works well to decrease the pain and also allow the flow of pus to the surface of the skin. After around 10 to 11 days, the boil will start bursting and give out pus. The same can be removed with a cloth dipped in warm water.
  • Do not just leave the boil after it starts bursting. The entire area is to be cleaned with an antiseptic or a soap and all the pus needs to be cleaned completely. You should also preferably apply a bandage in the area.

Apart from the above medical and home treatments for diabetes, you need to remember that you should never prick a boil with a needle as that is extremely contagious and harmful.

How to Prevent Boils That Are Caused by Diabetes?

Boils, as we see above, can be really painful and you would want to prevent them from developing. Follow the following simple tips which will go a long way in helping to avoid painful diabetic boils:

  • If you have wounds which seem to be minor in the first place, try not to ignore them completely. You need to take care of such wounds as well.
  • You should keep yourself clean by using proper and cleaned up clothes. Keep the bedding and towels clean and all washed up.
  • Keep the blood sugar under control. When you have high levels of blood glucose, the immune system of the body becomes too weak as a result of which, bacteria and infections flourish all the more.
  • Eat a low fat and low carbohydrate diet as that will help to give an overall boost to your immune system. Try to include a lot of berries, green tea, etc. in your regular diet.
  • When you have boils, make sure that the pus is not spread in different skin areas. Boils are very contagious and doing so will worsen your problems. Wearing loose fitting clothes could be a possible solution.
  • If you have diabetes or any other chronic condition such as diabetes, do not hesitate to consult your medical expert as soon as you develop a boil.
  • Try to stay healthy and manage conditions like diabetes effectively.

The above-mentioned tips although simple to adopt go a long way in helping you to avoid boils and other related infections.

We hope that the above post has been helpful in increasing your understanding of boils caused by diabetes. Although the skin condition can affect any individual, those with diabetes stand at a higher risk of developing the same. Hence, extra care and medical precaution are highly recommended!

2 thoughts on “Does Diabetes Cause Boils?

  1. The study performed determined that most diabetics have poor hygiene? I am type 1, and this sounds like a personal opinion or old wives tale. Similar to the saying that people suffer from diabetes because they ate too much sugar. Ridiculous!

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