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Dr. Jerry E
Dr. Jerry E, Doctor (MD/DO)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1085
Experience:  1 yr experience family medicine (adult and children), emergency medicine for five years
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I've had a problem with an aching/sore/burning/ lymph type

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I've had a problem with an aching/sore/burning/ lymph type pain in my left armpit for over 3 years. It sometimes goes away for a few weeks, but then can come back and stay constant for a few weeks. It obviously worries me every time it comes back because I don't want to dismiss it and next time it is serious! In the past 3 years I have had 2 ultrasounds, various manual breast exams and blood tests. Nothing seems to show up...which is good, but doesn't answer what it could be. Do you have any suggestions on what it might be and what else I could try? If it was serious, would my blood tests have shown something?? Thanks
Hello, this is Dr. E. Greetings from New York! I'm so glad you posted your question for me to answer, and I aim to provide you with accurate info

Have you noticed any bumps or lumps under your armpit?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sometimes I can feel a lump, other times I don't seem to feel it. There does seem to be more skin/fat under the left armpit than right one? Breast tissue?
I think you may have a case of MRSA.
MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. Most often it causes mild infections on the skin, causing sores or boils, but it can also infect surgical wounds, the bloodstream, lungs, or even the urinary tract.

Early MRSA Symptoms

Commonly, MRSA infections will originate on the skin. Various symptoms of it resemble other skin problems that are not serious or common staph infections that are easily treated. Symptoms on the skin looks like the following:

  • Rash
  • Bug bite
  • Burn
  • Pimples
  • Boils
  • Carbuncles
  • Impetigo
  • Abscesses

At initial onset of the symptoms, it will not be easy to tell the difference between a less serious condition and MRSA. When the symptoms are from this infection the symptoms will get worse fast and continue to worsen. Less serious skin problems will not do that.

When the bacteria infection occurs from contaminated equipment, it may be more difficult to identify if it is a MRSA infection. The early symptoms will be similar to less serious infections, but will not respond to treatment. A blood test can determine the presence of MRSA DNA and that can be used to identify the specific strain of bacteria. The choice of antibiotics will be matched with the strain of bacteria for the most effective treatment.

Surgery may be necessary to treat advance infections. It may be necessary to lance and drain the infection or to remove infected tissue. To avoid this, it is important to keep an eye on early symptoms and get prompt treatment when the infection is diagnosed as MRSA.

Common MRSA Symptoms

MRSA symptoms are the same as less serious infections and non-resistant staph infections. When the symptoms get rapidly worsen or are not responding to treatment with common antibiotics, it may be suspected. These are some common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Pain at infection site
  • Drainage
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain

When this bacterial infection is not treated, it can spread to organs and other parts of the body. This can becomes serious fast. When MRSA bacteria are in the blood, it is known as sepsis. Septic shock can cause the following symptoms:

  • Drop in blood pressure
  • High fever
  • Breathing problems

Complications can include septic arthritis, abscesses deep in the body, osteomyelitis (bone infection), septicemia, meningitis, endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart), and pneumonia.

mRSA, which is also known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is commonly colonized in the nose. It can also colonize in the armpits, groin, and folds of skin.

This infection in the armpit comes from direct contact with the bacteria.

To prevent this infection in armpits it is important not to share razors or other personal hygiene items and to keep the area clean.

A healthy immune system will help fight off the bacteria.

MRSA Infection in Armpits

MRSA infections in armpits are more common in women than in men because women often shave their armpits.

Shaving can cause breaks in the skin from razor burn or cuts. Sharing a razor can increase the risk of this type of staph infection.

A MRSA infection may start out as a rash and will rapidly worsen. There may also be flu like symptoms.

Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the spread of the bacteria in the body and to others.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
That is very frightening! What blood tests specifically do I need? All my fbc tests have been normal.
If it is in fact MRSA, do not fret, it is very common and manageable. It is not the same strain of MRSA that was deadly throughout the US a few years ago. It is a bacterial infection that many people have had and treated.
Tell your primary care doctor that you suspect you may have MRSA but do not have any open sores. Ask him/her what testing he/she can do to confirm...
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How would this MRSA infection go away but come back on and off for 3 yrs? Wouldn't it have stayed and just got progressively worse?
No, it's symptoms may subside over time as the immune system heals it. However, if it is never treated with the proper antibiotics, it will return time and time again. It doesn't neccesarily get worse if left untreated, it just doesn't go away.
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