Self

What It Means If You Have Bumps On Your Butt

Photo: Dean Drobot, suriya yapin / Shutterstock
shocked woman, jean shorts

Unknowingly having mysterious bumps anywhere on your body can be unsettling. But when these unexplainable bumps make their way south of the border to our rear ends, it can leave us feeling uneasy and worried.

The reassuring aspect of having bumps on your butt is that they're more common than we may think.

According to Beverly Hills-located Dermatologist and CEO of M Beauty Clinic, Dr. Tess Mauricio, there are many different reasons why there could be bumps on your butt. Dr. Mauricio also discusses symptoms, treatments, and the best practices to avoid recurrent outbreaks.

RELATED: 30 Relatable Quotes About Acne Everyone Who's Lived With Pimples Can Totally Relate To

But first it's important to understand why you have bumps on your butt in the first place.

What causes bumps on the butt?

1. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is also known as hot tub folliculitis or rash. According to Dr. Mauricio, folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicle, usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection (like staphylococcus aureus). These bump outbreaks can vary anywhere from infecting one hair follicle to many.

The appearance in the first stages can look like red or pustule bumps around a hair follicle, and can show in clusters that create a rash-like appearance.

Treatment for folliculitis can be as basic as self-care to requiring antibiotics if the bumps do not go away on their own in a few days. But the infection can spread from one hair follicle to the next, resulting in the red bumps turning into crusty sores, which can be more difficult to treat.

Folliculitis is often found in people who wear tight clothing when working out, or have recently been in a pool or hot tub with unregulated pH levels. These bumps can also occur under everyday care with activities like shaving or sensitivity to new soaps or creams.

2. Acne

Just like on your face, neck, and back, you can also get butt acne. Pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads can all cause bumps on your butt and can be treated similarly to those found elsewhere on your body.

Treatment can include using topical benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and, in severe cases, oral antibiotics.

While acne and folliculitis have similar characteristics, says Dr. Mauricio, "The way to tell the difference between the two is by seeing if there is an appearance of a white head or surrounding blackheads." If the bumps have a whitehead, they're most likely acne and not a bacterial or fungal infection.

3. Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris occurs when dead skin cells build up inside hair follicles. This common skin condition causes rough, red, bumpy skin also known as chicken skin.

Keratosis pilaris is caused by genetics, and though there is no cure to completely get rid of it, with certain exfoliants, skin can look a bit better. You can use chemical exfoliants, manual exfoliants, or smooth the skin out using a non-scented moisturizer.

4. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is essentially an allergic reaction. It's a type of rash that occurs when something irritates sensitive skin.

The reaction is often caused by an allergy to the chemical preservative methylisothiazolinone, which is found in flushable wipes. If the bumps are diagnosed as an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis, stop using moistened wipes to see if it gets better on its own.

Other causes include exposure to allergens or irritants, including soap, chemicals, hair products, or cosmetics.

5. Heat rash or sun poisoning

Heat rash and sun poisoning are very different, but both can be caused by overexposure to the sun and heat outside.

Heat rash is caused by blocked pores trapping sweat underneath your skin. The trapped pores are most notably caused by friction from an article of clothing (like a bikini bottom or underwear). Those who have a heat rash outbreak can feel their skin becoming prickly with bumps and very itchy. Once you notice your skin developing a heat rash, it's important to get out of the sun and immediately begin to cool your skin.

While some people are born with a predisposition to sun poisoning, others can develop triggers from another factor (such as medication, new skincare products, or exposure to external plants). Symptoms of sun poisoning include tiny bumps that can turn into raised patches that merge with one another, creating an enlarged rash.

RELATED: What It Means If You Have Bumps Under Your Eyes

6. Staphylococcus Aureus

Giving off the appearance of boils or furuncles, staphylococcus aureus (also known as staph) can create bumps on your butt. These bumps or boils are notably "painful to the touch, with surrounding red, warm skin, and can secrete pus," says Dr. Mauricio.

Staph tends to come in a singular or individual bump, making the infection easier to identify. Surprisingly, staph is a flora that is constantly present in the body but can be dangerous when the bacteria starts to develop toxins.

Treatment for staphylococcus aureus requires antibiotics and, occasionally, a doctor may need to cut and drain the boil or bump to rid the body of the infection. It's crucial to seek medical help quickly. If left untreated, staphylococcus aureus can cause severe symptoms such as pneumonia or even meningitis.

7. STDs

An important condition to talk about that can cause bumps on your butt is STDs. While some are tricky to spot and can go unnoticed if not regularly tested, others make their appearance known and cause bumps to appear on your behind.

One STD is genital herpes, caused by both herpes simplex 1 and simplex 2; it's estimated that approximately one in every six people in the United States have genital herpes. Given this statistic, it's important to practice prevention by wearing protection, or having you and your partner get tested before engaging in sexual activity — for not only herpes, but all STDs.

Herpes can appear as painful and itchy sores that can be located on the buttocks, genital region, and even on parts of the upper thigh. While there is no treatment, the virus can lay dormant or further preventions can be managed with antiviral medications.

Along with herpes, HPV can also cause the body to break out in cauliflower-like bumps or sores on the buttocks region. If you notice these bumps, seek medical attention, as unmonitored HPV can lead to cancers such as ovarian and penile.

8. Moles

Moles are common skin growths caused by skin cells growing in a cluster, rather than those cells spreading evenly across the skin. However, moles on the butt are pretty rare.

Though the majority of adults have between 10-40 common moles, they are usually above the waist and/or on sun-exposed areas of the skin.

Because moles rarely occur on the butt, it's important to keep an eye on these bumps, and seek medical attention if you experience a change in color or size of the mole, become itchy, or it begins to bleed.

9. Hidradenitis Suppurativa​

Also referred to as acne inversa, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a serious disorder of the apocrine glands. The infection causes bumps, pustules, fistulas, and can eventually lead to scarring that can become permanent and build up over time.

With the presence of acne inversa on the butt or groin area, the infection can even lead to difficulty walking from the thick scarring. "This condition is difficult to treat once scarring is present, so early intervention is a must," advises Dr. Mauricio.

While the infection can be mistaken for many different conditions (like acne or folliculitis), people with HS have been known to ignore premature symptoms thinking it would go away on its own. If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to a dermatologist to get a clear diagnosis and prevent any permanent damage.

10. Epidermoid cyst

An epidermoid cyst, also known as epidermal inclusion cyst, can occur as solitary bumps.

"There is an invagination of the epidermis (also known as a movement of cells within the skin), causing a sac to form that continuously produces keratin, which is the same whitish material that you would find in whiteheads," Dr. Mauricio states.

These cysts can develop after the skin experiences trauma; for example, acne, excess exposure to the sun, or an HPV infection. Adds Dr. Mauricio, "Cysts have to be cut out surgically to remove the sac; otherwise, it can continue to recur even if the content is squeezed out of the cyst."

11. Lipomas

Just when you thought that the much-unloved muffin tops were the most dreaded part of fat on your body, lipomas came in for the win! According to Dr. Mauricio, "Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that can usually cause a solitary, well-circumscribed, painless, mobile subcutaneous growth."

While lipomas are rarely cancerous and oftentimes painless, sometimes lipomas can grow in size and become dangerous if left on the body. When this occurs, the lipomas have to be surgically removed.

12. Carbuncles, boils or abscesses

Boils are pus-filled bumps that form as a result of bacteria infecting the hair follicles. Boils can grow to be large and painful and are common on the butt. Though they can rupture and drain on their own, it's best to see a dermatologist to prevent further infection.

Carbuncles are a cluster of boils that are deeper, more severe and more painful, feeling similar to an acne cyst. These clusters of boils are often a result of untreated folliculitis.

Abscesses are similar to boils, where the skin bumps up when pus formulates underneath it. Abscesses are caused by bacterial infections that can be treated with medication.

RELATED: What It Means If You Have A Tiny Hole Above Your Ear

How to Treat Bumps on the Butt

1. Try antibiotic creams or antibacterial washes.

Most bacterial infections go away when using an antibacterial wash or topical cream on the affected areas.

Look for products that contain 10% benzoyl peroxide. This helps reduce inflammation and cleanses the body of most acne-causing bacteria by gently exfoliating the area.

2. See your doctor for prescription medication.

Some infections are tougher to get rid of and will need prescription-strength medication. These medications range from oral to topical creams. Prescription medications are often given for carbuncles or folliculitis.

3. Use tea tree oil.

Due to its antibacterial properties, a possible at-home treatment could be tea tree oil. In fact, tea tree oil has long been used to treat acne, bacterial infections, and even dandruff.

Studies have also shown that the anti-inflammatory properties can treat acne; however, there are no studies that have measured the treatment of using it on the butt.

4. Use zinc.

Though there is much to still be studied about the effectiveness of zinc on treating acne, specifically, researchers found that people who suffer from acne have lower levels of zinc in their blood. Oral zinc has also been found to be more effective of a treatment.

4. Exfoliate

Mildly exfoliating your skin removes the dead skin cells and helps prevent clogging of the pores. However, it's essential to not use an exfoliator that is too rough, as this can lead to minor cuts on the skin.

You can use an over-the-counter gentle exfoliator, or you can just use a loofah in the shower.

5. Apply a warm compress.

Whether it's with a warm washcloth or using a sitz bath, the water will help to remove bacteria, open pores, and give you some iota of soothing. Simply hold the wet, warm washcloth over the affected area, making sure it's not too hot.

How to Prevent Bumps on the Butt

While bumps on our butts are not a unique occurrence and can happen to anybody, it's our responsibility to take care of ourselves and take proper steps to keep our skin healthy and bump-free.

One way to avoid and prevent bumps on your butt is to wash the area often. That means showering when you sweat, and removing any sweaty clothes as soon as possible. Avoid wearing tight clothing to prevent friction, and wear cotton underwear for a more breathable fabric.

Additionally, be mindful of how you treat your skin. Don't pick at the bumps; otherwise, you may cause more damage and inflammation. When cleansing, be sure not to scrub; instead, gently clean your skin and avoid products with too many chemical irritants.

When to See a Doctor

If you're unable to treat the bumps on your butt at home, your symptoms worsen, or the bumps become incredibly painful, it's time to see a doctor.

Also seek medical attention if you experience other symptoms associated with some causes of these bumps, including a fever, chills, or just genuinely not feeling well.

RELATED: How To Prevent And Cure Ingrown Hairs (Ouch!)

Elizabeth Blasi is a New York-based lifestyle and travel writer who is often seen with a suitcase in hand, jet-setting to her next location. Her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Yahoo Lifestyle, Good Housekeeping, and more. Follow her on Instagram or visit her website.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!