Cyst is a closed pocket, or pouch of a tissue. This pocket can be filled with air, fluid, pus or other substance. Cysts could occur anywhere on the body. Cysts occurring on the skin region are quite common. Most common reasons behind cysts include infection and clogging of sebaceous glands.
Cysts are mostly harmless and many times disappear without any treatment. Men are at a higher risk of developing cysts than women.
Let us look at the causes and treatment related to armpit cysts.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
Cysts occurring on the armpit can be caused due to shaving or use of antiperspirants . Armpit cysts are commonly observed in adolescents who have just started shaving. Using a shaving gel and shaving in the direction of hair growth can help reduce occurrence of razor bumps.
Lumps can be caused due to bacterial infection-related skin disorders. The bacterial infection can be on the arm or breast. It can also be due to cat scratch disease or due to ascending lymphangitis, which is the inflammation of the lymph vessel. Or it could occur due to lymphadenitis, which is inflammation of lymph nodes.
This condition occurs on skin areas which have many sweat and oil glands. It is mostly observed around the hair follicles. The areas prone to this condition are armpit, anal and groin. The symptoms are dark, tender bumps. These bumps can be hard or they can be leaking which often lead to scarring.
Benign harmless cysts, lipomas (fatty growths) can also look like lumps on armpit. These are small, soft-to-touch lumps that occur just under the skin. If the lump is growing in size or becomes painful you can consult your doctor.
Fibrocystic Breast Changes
In this condition women might feel their breasts are tender or lumpy. This condition can extend till your armpit. This usually occurs before periods. These changes are normal and don't cause any harm.
Vaccinations used for allergic reaction, mumps, measles, smallpox or typhoid can also lead to bumps on armpit.
Fungal and Viral Infections
Fungal infections are another reason one could be getting lumps on their armpit. Viral infection of chickenpox, shingles, and AIDS are other conditions that could lead to form armpit lumps.
Armpit cyst can also occur due to cancer like leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is cancer of lymph tissue or Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is the cancer of lymphoid tissue.
The doctor will perform a physical examination of the armpit cyst, and take notes about your medical history and ask about other symptoms. The physical examination might include palpation, where the doctor might gently press the nodes with his/her fingertips. To find out the underlying cause the doctor might recommend blood tests and certain scans.
- If the cyst is large or filled with a liquid, the doctor might drain out the cyst by using a needle.
- If a cyst becomes too large, painful, causes discomfort, and hinders your daily activities; then it is removed by surgery. If the doctor suspects the lump is cancerous, it is usually removed by surgery and many times a biopsy is required.
- In case the cyst is inflamed, the doctor might inject the cyst with a corticosteroid to reduce the swelling.
- Laser treatment is another method used for treating cysts. When the cyst is on a sensitive area, laser is used to vaporize the cyst. This method helps to reduce scarring.
- Antibiotics can be prescribed if the cyst becomes infected.
- Make sure you don't squeeze, drain or open the lump. As this can lead to skin infection.
- For skin care, keep the armpit area clean by washing the lump and the surrounding skin properly, with an antibacterial liquid.
- If it is a sebaceous cyst, then take a towel and dip it in warm water. Wring out the excess water from the towel. Hold the warm towel on the affected area. This will help to drain and clear it. In case you have an infected cyst, then avoid this home treatment.
- If you have a ruptured cyst, then there is a possibility you might develop a severe infection. For a ruptured cyst, wash it with soap and water. Then apply an antibacterial liquid with a cotton ball and cover the area with a bandage made from a gauze pad. This will keep the dirt away from the affected area, till you visit the doctor.
The reason behind armpit cysts can be as simple as shaving or can be something as serious as AIDS or cancer. Hence, it is important that you see a doctor, if the cyst or lump doesn't go away on its own within 2 weeks.