What Your Underarms Reveal About Your Health
Your underarms can reveal a lot about your health. Who knew that such a small area of your body could impact so many aspects of how your body functions. It’s a big deal because your underarms can help you understand your health on a larger scale.
Underarm health may not be talked about often, but it can be the gateway to being aware if you have minor or serious health conditions. It can give you warning signs that you may have a serious health issue. Darker underarms, specifically, can tell you if you have allergies to certain products, may be prone to diabetes or have hormonal disorders.
You may have observed or personally experienced having dark underarms. The scientific term for this disorder is acanthosis nigrican. There are many people who suffer from this skin issue. This condition can result from minor skin irritants, shaving or be indicative of something bigger.
Dark underarms can be evidence of you not being able to manage your insulin levels, which can lead to you having diabetes. It can also be attributed to you having an ovarian cyst which can cause your hormones to be off balance. Dark underarms can also signal that your thyroid is underactive or not functioning properly.
Here is a quick reference guide to see if your underarms are signaling other health problems:
Abscess – By pushing on this warm, tender abscess with a finger, there is a sense of fluid (pus) that can be felt within the abscess. An abscess is an infection characterized by a collection of pus underneath a portion of the skin. Bacteria commonly causing abscesses are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. These bacteria enter the skin through any cracks or injury to the skin. That area of skin then becomes red, tender, warm and swollen over days to 1–2 weeks and a fever may develop. Abscesses can sometimes form if minor superficial skin infections are not treated appropriately and in a timely fashion. Most abscesses resolve quickly once appropriately treated.
Erythrasma – Erythrasma is a common chronic skin condition affecting the skin folds. The slowly enlarging patches of pink to brown dry skin are caused by an infection by the bacterium Corynebacterium minutissimum. Erythrasma can affect people of any age or ethnicity, but it is more common among individuals who live in warm, humid climates. It is also more common in dark-skinned people. Although both sexes are equally affected, men tend to have the groin infection more often than women.
Irritant contact dermatitis – This is an inflammatory rash caused by direct chemical injury to the skin. Unlike allergic contact dermatitis, which appears 48–72 hours after exposure to an allergen, the symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis can result within a few hours if the exposure is a strong irritant. Patients typically present complaining of a burning or stinging early in the course of irritant contact dermatitis. As the irritation becomes chronic and the skin becomes continually inflamed, itching can become a predominant symptom. In chronic cases, affected areas may develop scale and cracks.
Hidradenitis suppurativa – a chronic condition of the sweat glands. The sweat glands become clogged due to a variety of reasons, leading to enlargement (dilatation) of the ducts behind them. This dilatation predisposes the area to inflammation and infection by a variety of bacteria. Those with hidradenitis suppurativa typically have multiple large, red bumps on the armpits, but they can also form on the buttocks, breasts and groin. The bumps gradually get larger and drain pus. After multiple bouts of this cycle of enlargement and drainage, there may be scarring