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Swelling on One Side of the Butt Symptom, Causes & Questions

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Last updated June 17, 2022

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Swelling in one side of the buttocks may point to several underlying conditions, including a bruised buttocks, cellulitis, and more. Read more below to learn about 4 possible causes of swollen buttocks.

7 most common causes

Tailbone Pain
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Skin Abscess
Anal Fissure
Cellulitis
Illustration of a doctor beside a bedridden patient.
Tailbone bruise
Illustration of a doctor beside a bedridden patient.
Bruised buttocks

Butt swelling quiz

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4 swelling on one side of the butt causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced swelling on one side of the butt. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Tailbone bruise

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the tailbone are common, given the location on the body.

You can treat this at home with rest (exercise as tolerated) and ice (10-20 minutes at a time).

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant butt pain, tailbone pain, tailbone pain from an injury, tailbone injury, butt bruise

Symptoms that always occur with tailbone bruise: tailbone pain from an injury, tailbone injury, constant butt pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

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Coccydynia

The tailbone, called the coccyx, is the lowest part of the spine. Coccydynia is pain around the area of the tailbone, which is triggered by activities that cause pressure on the tailbone such as sitting on a hard chair. Symptoms get better with standing or walking. Doctors are not completely sure what causes this pain.

You can safely treat this condition on your own. This condition has no directed treatment, so you are advised to take over-the-counter pain medication and take pressure off the tailbone by sitting on a soft cushion whenever possible.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: back pain, lower back pain, painful sex, back pain that shoots to the butt, constant butt pain

Symptoms that always occur with coccydynia: constant butt pain

Symptoms that never occur with coccydynia: warm and red tailbone swelling

Urgency: Self-treatment

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most common on the feet, lower legs, and face.

The condition can develop if Staphylococcus bacteria enter broken skin through a cut, scrape, or existing skin infection such as impetigo or eczema.

Most susceptible are those with a weakened immune system, as from corticosteroids or chemotherapy, or with impaired circulation from diabetes or any vascular disease.

Symptoms arise somewhat gradually and include sore, reddened skin.

If not treated, the infection can become severe, form pus, and destroy the tissue around it. In rare cases, the infection can cause blood poisoning or meningitis.

Symptoms of severe pain, fever, cold sweats, and fast heartbeat should be seen immediately by a medical provider.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment consists of antibiotics, keeping the wound clean, and sometimes surgery to remove any dead tissue. Cellulitis often recurs, so it is important to treat any underlying conditions and improve the immune system with rest and good nutrition.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain

Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis: facial redness, area of skin redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Bruised buttocks

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the buttocks are common, given the location on the body.

You can treat this at home with rest (exercise as tolerated) and ice (10-20 minutes at a time).

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant butt pain, butt pain, butt pain from an injury, recent buttocks injury, butt bruise

Symptoms that always occur with bruised buttocks: butt pain from an injury, recent buttocks injury, constant butt pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Ankylosing spondylitis

"Ankylosing" means a joint has become stiffened and fixed in one position due to injury or disease. "Spondylitis" means inflammation in the joints of the spine.

In ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation has damaged the vertebrae of the low back and caused a form of arthritis, leaving the lower spine inflexible.

The exact cause is unknown. It is thought to be an inherited, abnormal immune response that is triggered following damage to the lining of the intestines.

Most susceptible are those with a family history of ankylosing spondylitis and a history of intestinal damage from illness. However, anyone can be affected at any age.

Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the back and hips, and sometimes in the neck and shoulders. The pain will be worse during sleep and rest.

Early treatment can help to manage the symptoms, prevent complications, and improve quality of life.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and x-rays.

Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; new forms of biologic medications; physical therapy; and, in some cases, surgery to repair damaged joints.

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a break, or tear, in the mucous membrane lining of the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool leaves the body.

A fissure is caused primarily by constipation, which leads to straining to pass large hard stools; trauma caused by insertion of objects or by anal sex; and illnesses such as any type of inflammatory bowel disease or sexually transmitted disease.

Symptoms include pain and bleeding during and after a bowel movement; discomfort and difficulty with urination; and a visible tear, resembling a crack, in the anal tissue that may have a foul-smelling discharge.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment primarily involves relieving constipation, and the straining it causes, by adding fiber and more fluids to the diet; and easing anal irritation by soaking in a warm bath and gently cleansing the tissues of the anus. In some cases, medicated creams or suppositories may be prescribed.

Butt swelling quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your swelling.

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Questions your doctor may ask about swelling on one side of the butt

  • Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Do your symptoms worsen when sitting?
  • Do you have a history of constipation?
  • Do you have a rash?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Swelling on one side of the butt symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced swelling on one side of the butt have also experienced:

  • 11% Lower Back Pain
  • 10% Butt Pain
  • 5% Butt Pain

People who have experienced swelling on one side of the butt were most often matched with:

  • 66% Cellulitis
  • 16% Bruised Buttocks
  • 16% Coccydynia

People who have experienced swelling on one side of the butt had symptoms persist for:

  • 38% Less than a week
  • 23% Over a month
  • 21% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

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