A Research Guide for Students by I Lee
Translate this page to another language of your choice:

To translate a block of text or web page, click Bing Translate or Google Translate

Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
The Web This Site Only

      Site Search by Freefind

 Amazon Round Logo
  Useful Links 1
  Useful Links 2

Why Do I Keep Getting Red Lumps in the Armpits?
(Cysts or Hidradenitis Suppurativa or Acne Inversa)

By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D.

Article printed on page 27 in the October 25-26, 2003 issue
Reprinted under title: Red Spots May Be More Than a Simple Boil
on page 35 in the October 13, 2010 issue of
The Mississauga News under the feature: Health & Beauty, Medicine Matters.
Dr Peter W Kujtan

There is a medical term for those lumps, cysts or abscesses that can progress into large draining painful lumps. It is a condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa or Acne Inversa in some parts of the world. It is a debilitating form of inflammation that is occurring in your armpit. As well, it can appear in the groin or under the breasts. The problem centers on sweat or apocrine glands, and is influenced by hormones. A cycle of inflammation and swelling ensues in the area around the glands. Females are affected more often, particularly after the onset of puberty. Flare-ups tend to occur around the menstrual period. Infection is not the primary cause but is often co-existent in severe cases. It sometimes results after clandestine efforts at home treatments fail, be it squeezing or employing the needle-candle-alcohol back-alley special trick. The cysts can become large, painful and most embarrassing. They lead to time lost from work and school.

Many patients present themselves with the misleading belief that a simple lancing or surgical excision will result in a cure. For an isolated lesion, surgery may help but can result in disfigurement through scarring. Further frustration ensues when a new nodule subsequently appears in the area adjacent to the excised one.

Persons with Hidradenitis Suppurativa often have slightly raised circulating androgen levels along with lowered progesterone levels. The apocrine glands are the sites of another common problem called acne and some people suffer both. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic and remitting condition. Support groups have been established to educate and help sufferers.

Treatment is difficult and requires a collaborative effort between family doctors and specialists. Antibiotics, hot compresses and analgesics are often used first. Other approaches are more calculated and involve medications such as isotrentinoin (Accutane), dexamethasone or birth control pills, all in an effort to modify the hormonal influence. There are instances of even more desperate measures such as radiation therapy and botox injections which have been tried with varied success. Persons afflicted with Hidranitis Suppurativa require a great deal of support and understanding. It is often much more than a simple boil under the armpit.

Related resources:
Acne Inversa. Hidradenitis suppurativ (HS), from NYC Acne Treatment Center. "Hidradenitis suppurativa is an inflammatory skin disease that is characterised by recurrent boil-like lumps (abscesses) that culminate in pus-like discharge, difficult-to-heal open wounds and scarring. It commonly occurs on apocrine sweat gland-bearing skin such as in the groin, the underarms and under the breasts. It is also known as ‘acne inversa’."
Hidradenitis Suppurativa from MedlinePlus. "No one knows what causes HS. It is more common in women, African-Americans and people who have had acne. It usually starts after the teenage years."
Hidradenitis suppurativa from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Hidradenitis suppurativa (also known as Verneuil's disease, Pyoderma fistulans significa, and Acne inversa) is a skin disease that most commonly affects areas bearing apocrine sweat glands or sebaceous glands, such as the underarms, breasts, inner thighs, groin and buttocks."
Cysts from MedicineNet. What is a cyst? What are the causes of a cyst? What are the types of cysts? What are the signs and symptoms of a cyst and how are they diagnosed? What is the treatment for a cyst? Patient Discussions: Cysts - Effective Treatments.
Cyst from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Benign vs malignant cysts.
Types of Cysts from Wrong Diagnosis.com. Kidney cysts, Ovarian cysts. Causes of Lumps and Skin infections.
Common Causes of Cysts. Acne.
Hidradenitis suppurativa from MayoClinic.com. (hi-drad-uh-NI-tis sup-u-ra-TI-va) is a chronic skin inflammation marked by the presence of blackheads and one or more red, tender bumps (lesions).
Hidradenitis suppurativa from FamilyDoctor.org. People with hidradenitis suppurativa develop painful red bumps or sores in the armpits and groin that leak pus. Hidradenitis suppurativa can also occur under the breasts in women. Hidradenitis suppurativa is considered a severe form of acne. Causes. Treatment. How can I stop flare-ups of hidradenitis suppurativa?
Acne Resources.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa from the Doctor's Doctor.

Previous Article     Next Article     Other Articles by Dr. Kujtan