A viewer on YouTube asks The Doctors what to do about the large sebaceous cysts under her arm. She says they come and go with her period. Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra tries to answer this without the help of photos or patient history!
Dr. Batra explains sebaceous cysts are common and are derived from an injury to a hair follicle. These little marble-like bumps are often filled with keratin, which is the same protein that makes your hair. They can be uncomfortable but typically treated with injections or excisions. However, Dr. Batra says the mention of these cysts waxing and waning with the menstrual cycle leads her to believe they may be something else.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a disease where painful boils tend to occur under the arms and in the groin area that can wax and wane with your period. They are derived from a different gland and can be more problematic in terms of quality of life. Treatment for these may involve prescription-strength anti-inflammatories or vitamin A derivates. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon notes that bad cases of this could lead to pretty invasive surgery so it’s important to nip it in the bud early and see a specialist.