Hillary Zinks was experiencing pain on her derrière for weeks, and for the life of her, couldn’t figure out why. Even her mom did a quick inspection and found nothing. When Zinks finally made it to the emergency room, the doctors discovered an abscess on her butt.
Talk about “a pain in the butt!”
Here’s the clincher: The infection was caused by her thong. Not only that, the doctor explained that it was fortunate that she came in “because this can kill you.”
A Tight Thong Created an Almost Lethal Abscess
“One day I was out of town and I noticed my butt started to hurt,” she said in the video. “Right above my crack. I had no idea why. On the plane ride home I couldn’t even sit straight, I kept moving like I had hemorrhoids or something.”
She wanted to publicize her experience to raise awareness of these sort of infections and to encourage people to not ignore physical pain.
“I told the story to let people know that when you have strange symptoms and you have no idea how they started, it’s a good idea to get it checked out,” said Zinks.
As clickbait-y the title may seem, it remains completely true. Here’s how one thong caused so much damage:
“The thong was too tight on me. I remember the exact moment it happened: I pulled up my pants and also pulled my thong, and I pulled it a little too hard/high.”
She continued, “I felt a small pinch, but the pain went away almost instantly. I didn’t connect the incident to the thong until I went to the doctor and he asked me if I wore them. Then I remembered that moment.” 
What is a Skin Abscess?
An abscess, according to dermatologist Angelo Landriscina, MD, is a skin infection that is usually caused by bacteria.
“A primary feature differentiating abscess from other skin infections is that they take the form of a collection of pus walled-off from surrounding tissues,” said Dr. Landriscina. “They can become very inflamed with redness, warmth, swelling, and tenderness at the site.”
Other symptoms can include chills and a high temperature, as well as pain in that area.
Thongs in general aren’t triggers for abscesses, but they are capable of causing a small cut from friction, especially when they are too tight. If this cut becomes infected, this creates an abscess. However, people with diabetes and weakened immune systems are more susceptible to them. Additionally, any injury to the skin, like cuts, injections, abrasions, or even fresh tattoos, is at risk of becoming infected.
“Staphylococcus aureus strains (‘staph’), including MRSA, are a common cause of abscess, and some people may be colonized with staph—they may develop recurrent abscesses,” Dr. Landriscina adds. “This type of bacteria can also be passed from person to person. But for many people, an inciting factor for abscess formation can’t be identified.”
Not only that, abscesses in the groin and anorectal area are pretty common since the naturally warm and moist area easily allows bacteria to grow.
Sometimes, active treatment isn’t necessary; abscesses can drain and heal on their own. However, some require antibiotics and/or to be drained by medical personnel, as in the case of Zinks.
“During this procedure, we numb the skin over the abscess and make a small incision in it in order to let the pus evacuate from the abscess,” said Dr. Landriscina.
Post-surgery care involves keeping the area dry, clean, and bandaged.
How to Prevent a Skin Abscess
- Ensure your skin is overall clean, healthy, and free of bacteria
- Wash your hands regularly
- Don’t share towels
- Don’t share baths
- Avoid communal equipment, sauna, and pools until the abscess is fully healed
- Take care to avoid nicking yourself while shaving
- Don’t share toothbrushes or razors
Additionally, do not pinch the pus out of the abscess on your own since this could spread the bacteria to other areas of your body. If any pus is leaking, wipe it away with a tissue and dispose of it immediately. Wash your hands right after. 
The caption of Zinks’s video explains the moral of her clip: “GET CHECKED if you have new symptoms you have and NO IDEA why! It can save your life.”
Abscesses are more common than others may think; it’s just an infection people don’t like to talk about. This is another reason why Zinks felt it was important to come forward.
“People don’t talk about it because they think it’s gross,” she said. “If you read the comments [in my video], the amount of people who can relate is insane. I did not expect that at all.”
She also got many private messages thanking her for sharing her experience. Best of all, some admitted to setting up medical appointments to examine similarly painful symptoms.
- Hillary Zinks. TikTok.
- “This Woman Ended Up With an Abscess on Her Butt Thanks to Her Too-Tight Thong—But What Is That, Exactly?” Claire Gillespie. Health. October 29, 2020
- “Overview: Abscess.” NHS. November 4, 2019