Visiting the Doctor for Boils

If you believe that you have boils, it's very important to understand when to seek medical attention. Many boils can be treated at home, and there are a number of effective home remedies. There are times, however, when it's necessary to seek medical attention. Learn more about when to see the doctor and what to expect from your doctor's appointment for your treatment of boils.

When to Seek Medical Treatment for Boils

Usually, you can treat boils on your own. It is time to seek medical assistance, however, in certain situations. If the boil is on your face or your spine, you should go to a doctor. If your boil worsens very quickly or is quite painful, seek attention. You also need to see a doctor if your boil is quite large or hasn't healed in two weeks; if it's accompanied by fever; or if you have red lines radiating from the boil. These could be signs that the boil has become infected or has infected other areas of your body.

What to Expect at the Doctor's Appointment

You'll probably first go to your primary care doctor. Sometimes, when you call to make the appointment, they will send you directly to a dermatologist. You should be prepared for your visit, since your time is important and your visit will, undoubtedly, be brief. Bring with you a list of symptoms and signs that you've experienced from when the boils first appeared. Bring a list of any medications, herbs and vitamins you've been taking. Your doctor is likely to want to know when the boil first appeared and if your symptoms are painful. He'll want to know if you've had boils before and what, if any thing, makes them better. He'll certainly want to know what medications you take.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The doctor will diagnose your boils using your signs and symptoms, your medical history, and his observation of the sores. He may culture the drainage if you have infections that haven't responded to standard treatment or if you have a weak immune system. To do this, your doctor will use a sterile swab to remove a small bit of pus from the boil. The sample is then cultured in a lab to look for bacteria.

Treatment Options for Boils

To treat you, your doctor may drain a large boil by making an incision in the tip. This can relieve any pain and speed up your recovery. Deep infections that can't be drained might be covered with sterile gauze so that the pus will continue to drain on its own. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to help you to heal and to counteract any infections. He may ask you to come back in a few weeks to check your progress.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Make sure to ask your doctor any questions that you have about your boils. You may want him to suggest preventative measures for the future, or you might want to know about the various medical options that you have. Consider a list of questions that you'll want to bring with you to the doctor's office to make this visit easier and more efficient.