I'm a 23 year old female. I have had a small pea-sized lump in my left armpit for... a long time. I really can't remember for how long I've had it now, it could be as much as a year, or as little as 4 months. At first I though it was just an ingrown hair from shaving/waxing and as I do for other bumps of this kind, I've been waiting for a sign of the hair to surface or a 'whitehead' so to speak, to form so that I could clear it out with a needle if it didn't go on it's own.
Until now, it had been very small, very hard, not at all painful, unnoticeable unless directly felt with my fingers and moved with the skin, not underneath it. It still feels quite hard and moves with the skin but yesterday morning I noticed that it had become quite swollen (very noticeable just by looking when i raise my arm) and tender, and today it has become more pinkish than the surrounding skin. I also started to experience moderate itching under my skin, though not in my armpit, allover the rest of my body - arms, chest, neck, shoulders, face, even eyelids! The itching was gone when I woke up, but I started to feel it again early afternoon and have felt it up and down mild-moderate since it returned in the afternoon. I know I am probably just being paranoid, however I spent the better part of last year caring for someone who was receiving chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma and got a little scared. I went to the walk in centre at the hospital as soon as I started to feel the itching again in the afternoon and the nurse that saw me said she she was quite sure it was a boil and prescribed me flucloxacillin antibiotics. I agreed to the prescription because she said the only alternative was an incision, but that wouldn't be possible as there is no discernible 'tip', and she scared me a little with what could happen if it went 'untreated'.
During the past 6 months, I have removed all chemicals from my surroundings. I don't even use 'normal' shampoo anymore. I really don't want to take the prescription, especially considering it was prescribed on a trial and error type of diagnosis... 'if it doesn't work, go see your gp'. I was hoping just for a simple diagnosis so that I could find some natural remedies myself, but after doing some research on boils since I got home, I don't think she diagnosed it correctly. The lump has been there for a really long time and from what I've read, boils tend to get to the swollen state quite quickly. Also, I've read that tea tree oil can be used as a natural remedy but I have been using tea tree oil as part of my deodorant for the past 6 months and it's done nothing to improve the lump. I'd rather not go to my GP - he's generally quite quick to write a prescription for everything and doesn't really understand aversion to chemicals, particularly 'medicinal' ones. I would really like to treat it with something natural, but I don't know what to use because I don't know what I'm treating.
Apologies for the essay-length post.
Many thanks for reading and for any assistance.
From the symptoms it can be a boil, sebaceous cyst or a swollen lymph node. Since it has been present painless for so any days, even the possibility of any benign skin growth needs to be ruled out. A sebaceous cyst is a closed sac occurring just under the skin which contains a "pasty" or "cheesy" looking substance called keratin.
Generally no treatment is required but they become painful then it means they are infected,Then surgical excision by traditional wide excision, minimal excision, and punch biopsy excision may be required. It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your dermatologist. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Thank you very much for your response to my post.
The itching disappeared within 2 days of submitting my post - I normally use soap nuts to do the washing but my cousin recently washed his bed sheets with a store bought washing detergent and I think sitting on his bed may have been responsible for the itching.
As for the lump, it remained enlarged for 4-5 days but the pain and redness subsided 3-4 days after it first became enlarged and was just large and, still, quite hard. The area became itchy (for the first time) the day before yesterday which was an ambivalent change considering I noticed a small reduction in size at the same time. However the itching stopped yesterday, thinking about it now it was very similar to the itching you feel when a wound is healing, and today it is distinctly smaller.
If it was infected it seems by body it dealing with it, I can only hope it completely disappears.
Thank you once again for your help, I will definitely make an appointment to see a dermatologist if it worsens again.
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