Fat lumps under skin are known as lipomas. These are noncancerous growths that originate in fat cells under the skin. Noncancerous means that lipomas do not spread or invade other body organs and tissues. The fact that they originate in fat cells means that they can develop in any part of the body with a fatty tissue. Bearing in mind that extensive layers fat are located underneath the skin throughout the body, lipomas can therefore develop almost anywhere beneath the skin.
Rarely is treatment for lipomas necessary. But just like it is with other benign tumors, they can become bothersome and therefore call for removal. A number of removal options are discussed in this article.
What causes fat lumps under skin?
It is not clear what exactly causes lipomas. Most people who develop them are between 40 and 60 years of age. Anyone can however get these lumps but rarely in children. Other risk factors include;
- Cowden syndrome
- Gardner’s syndrome
- Madelung syndrome
- Hereditary factors
- Adiposis dolorosa
- Repeated damage or trauma on skin
Symptoms of lipoma fat lumps under skin
You may not even realize that you have a lipoma. This is because they rarely cause any noticeable symptoms. Since lipomas are slow-growing lumps, it can take up to years before a lump that can be felt under the skin develops.
Lipoma lumps are usually round, oval or dome-shaped. Ones that occur deeper in the skin such as lumps in abdominal fat tend to be round while ones in the superficial layer of the skin such as on back, leg or temple tend to be oval. Small lipomas are pea-sized while large ones such as on back can reach up to 2.5 cm.
It can be quite challenging to differentiate between a lipoma and a cyst. For one, both are slow-growing lumps. Also, both form under the skin and are very common. The main difference is that lipomas are soft, rubbery and easily movable. Cysts are slightly harder and a bit firmer compared to lipomas. Some cysts can grow quite large even more than 3 cm.
Normally, lipomas are not supposed to be painful. They neither have nerves nor blood vessels. Pain can sometimes occur if the lipoma pushes against a nerve or a blood vessel. Even if this is to happen, a painful lipoma should not cause symptoms such as lump under armpit due to swollen lymph node, pus formation or fever. These are signs of infection and different causes of lumps under skin. In such cases, treatment is very necessary.
Treatment for hard lumps of fat under skin
Hard lumps of fat under skin are best treated by a doctor. The same can be said about a large lipoma lump near belly button or in belly fat. First, diagnosis will be done to rule out cancer and other possible causes. After that, any of the following treatment options may be used;
Surgery is the most common and effective treatment option for lipomas. This is especially if the lipoma is more than 2.5 cm in diameter. A small incision will be made on the skin. The tumor will then be removed after which the wound will be closed. It is a minor surgery that should not take long.
Liposuction involves inserting a needle and draining the lipoma with a syringe. This reduces the size of the lump significantly. It is recommended for lipomas on areas such as forehead, temple and other aesthetic-sensitive body areas.
Use of steroid injections
Some steroids are used to reduce swelling and inflammation. Such are injected into a lipoma to reduce its size but not get rid of it completely. When using this option, you may be required to go follow-up appointments if the lipoma doesn’t respond to the initial injection.
How to dissolve fat lumps under skin without surgery
Some home remedies are touted as effective when it comes to how to dissolve fat lumps under skin without surgery and medical treatment. However, experts are yet to agree if home remedies such as essential oils can actually get rid of lipomas. For this reason, don’t over-rely on home treatments. Some of which you can try include;
Turmeric is a well known anti-inflammatory remedy. It is in fact in the list of foods that fight cancer. Since it is also loaded with antioxidants, turmeric may prevent abnormal growth of fat cells. The easiest way to use turmeric is by adding a pinch of the powder into a glass of milk and drinking the solution. You can also make a paste with turmeric powder and olive oil and apply directly to the lipoma lump. In its oral form, turmeric can be used for weight loss such as when preventing yellow lumps around eyes due to cholesterol.
Neem has for long been used in Ayurveda to treat lipomas. It is thought that the herb works by increasing the rate at which fat cells are metabolized for energy. Note that increased metabolism will not reduce the size of lipomas. It can only prevent a lipoma from growing larger. This is because lipomas are not available for metabolism.
Chickweed is thought to aid in breaking down of fatty tissues. The weed is available in form of a solution and ointment.
Apple cider vinegar
There have been differing reports on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in treating lipomas. Those who claim to have gotten positive results advise taking 2 tablespoons of ACV, preferably before bed until the lipoma reduces significantly.
Sage is said to fight lipoma in two different ways. Dissolving fat cells and keeping body fluids balanced. Sage is to be applied directly to the lipoma lump.
Essential oils have been traditionally used as home remedies for many conditions. Ginger, clove and Frankincense essential oils are good examples you can try on a lipoma. Note that essential oils can cause skin irritation if not diluted with carrier oil. Coconut oil and olive oil are good examples of carrier oils. You can also use essential oils for a painful lump below tailbone after injury.
When to see a doctor
A lipoma can stay under your skin for years without causing any harm. The challenge is in knowing for sure that it is a lipoma and not a malignant tumor. Even though malignant tumors gradually increase in size, the change may not be noticeable until much later when the tumor is much harder to treat. The best thing is to see your doctor for diagnosis the moment you discover a lump under your skin. After that, you will decide if you want to have it removed or not.
You may also find more information on topics such as lump in my throat meaning, types of breast lumps, causes of body lumps and so on very helpful. Although your doctor is the only one who can correctly diagnose a lump, it is your job to notice changes in your body and report them to your doctor. This can only be achieved if you know what symptoms and causes to be on the lookout for.