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Underarm discomfort, stingy feeling, itching, pain. Cause?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
Hello, My question is concerning underarm discomfort. I'm 6'2, 225 lb man, 50 yrs old. A couple extra pounds, but in ok shape. For quite some time I have been having mild discomfort under my armpits (both) at times. Sometimes it feels as if my hair is pinching or being pulled... so I rub my armpit and it goes away for awhile. Then will itch again. Sometimes it is a mild ache or pain as if it is a muscle issue. I have been for a few months doing alot of distance cycling preparing for a bike ride across Iowa. This could be contributing to the issues. I am an EMT and have done some personal feeling of the lymphnodes and I can't feel anything enlarged or abnormal. I would say that if I push and poke at the discomfort alot the area becomes more irritated and bothers me more until I go to sleep. Whenn I wake up, the irritation is minimal until later when I start messing with my underarms. Irritating is what I would call this...irritating enough for me to be here asking. Have any thoughts?
Posted Mon, 7 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 3 hours later

Thanks for posting your query. In view of the symptoms which you have described, there are 2 possibilities.

1) This itching and discomfort can be due to chafing or friction rub between the arms and the upper outer part of the chest. Chafing is basically skin irritation and redness which occurs when skin rubs against skin or clothing.
2) Second possibility is of 'intertrigo' skin. It is a skin condition caused by inflammation of the skinfolds aggravated by heat, moisture, maceration, friction, and lack of air circulation and is caused by two skin surfaces rubbing or pressing against each other.

I suggest you to get the diagnosis confirmed from a dermatologist and get a KOH examination of the skin scrapings to rule out any fungal infection which may resemble both the above mentioned possibilities.

Follow these methods for a quick relief from this redness:
1) You can use some antiperspirants which should help in reducing the perspiration and preventing the intertrigo.
2) You can apply some calamine lotion at the rash as it will help in soothing the skin.
3) Application of mild corticosteroid cream and oral antiinflammatories after a prescription from your doctor are helpful in reduction of the redness and inflammation.
4) Using some anti-histaminic drugs like levocetrizine should help in reducing the itching.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
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