Should I be worried about a lump on my head?
Have you ever felt a lump on your head and not known what it was? Here are 7 ways to identify head lumps and bumps
I can feel it with my fingers; it’s a small hard lump. My friend has had a look and can’t see much there – should I be worried?
As a general rule, if you find a lump or sore that suddenly appears, becomes painful or changes in appearance then you should make an appointment to see your GP. The lump can then be monitored and possibly even a biopsy taken or further tests may be conducted such as medical imaging.
There are a number of reasons why a lump can occur on the head and here we look at the 7 most common causes:
A head injury
If you are aware that you have had head trauma then the most obvious sign could be swelling and bleeding under the skin. This should gradually get better within 2 weeks.
It is safe to apply ice to reduce the swelling for a minor head injury. If there is a wound then it should be cleaned and covered. If you need a painkiller then paracetamol is safe to use but ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided. Dosage should be as instructed on the packet.
Look out for signs of concussion:
- Double vision or visual disturbance
- Extreme tiredness or drowsiness
- Memory loss
If these symptoms get worse or if you are at all worried then seek medical help.
If the head injury is severe then medical attention should be sought immediately.
A sebaceous cyst
A sebaceous cyst is the name that heads the category for two types of cysts: epidermal and pilar.
Epidermal cysts are made up of keratin and fat and affect the thin outermost layer of the skin called the epidermis. Usually found on the upper part of the body and may be as a result of a mild skin injury or acne:
- They are generally a rounded, slow developing cyst (usually not large than 5cm)
- Not usually cancerous
- Not usually painful unless they become infected
- Likely to disappear without treatment but if treatment is needed then antibiotics (if infected) or steroid injections may be prescribed or excision.
Pilar cysts are made up of keratin and are found in the outer hair root sheath or hair follicle.
- These can be found around the hairline and on the scalp and may look similar to an epidermal cyst
- They are non-cancerous
- They often run in families
- They will usually disappear without treatment (but if needed then antibiotics may be prescribed or excision).
Inflammation of hair follicles (folliculitis)
These occur as clusters of red bumps or white-headed spots around hair follicles. Can affect anywhere with hair but is most commonly found on the scalp. It is usually caused either by a bacterial infection, fungi, viruses or even inflammation from ingrowing hairs.
Diabetics are more susceptible to folliculitis.
It can either be treated by prescribed antibiotics or antifungals and by an improved hygiene regime. Stopping shaving, a build-up of sweat, avoiding friction and perfumed toiletries can help the skin to recover.
A pilomatrixoma is a hair follicle tumour that is uncommon and usually harmless. It occurs due to an overproduction of matrix hair cells.
Pilomatrixoma manifests as a single skin coloured or purple dome-like lesion that can grow to several centimetres. It is usually found in the scalp and neck area and it is predominantly seen in children but also in young adults.
Treatment for pilomatrixoma usually necessitates a biopsy and then complete removal.
This is a soft, fatty, moveable lump under the skin. It grows slowly up to the size of a couple of centimetres. A lipoma is usually harmless and can appear on various parts of the body but is much less common on the scalp and neck.
Most lipomas do not need to be removed; however, if the lipoma is seen to grow or become firmer then a medical appointment should be made so it can be investigated further.
A seborrhoeic keratosis
This is one of the most common non-cancerous skin growths, typically seen in older adults – more than 90% of adults over 60 years have one.
It is usually found on the face, chest, shoulders or back and appears as a scaly brown growth. These can often be left without treatment but if they appear suddenly and in multiples or change appearance then they should be investigated.
If treatment is needed then they are either removed by cryotherapy or excised.
An exostosis (bony growth)
Rarely seen on the head, exostosis is a bone tumour and generally benign.
A bony growth can be caused by osteoarthritis, infection, long-term irritations or trauma and can be chronically painful.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health
Latest posts by AXA Health (see all)
- Best exercises and stretches for your back - April 12, 2021
- Bowel cancer – symptoms, prevention and treatment - April 1, 2021
- What are the health benefits of Turmeric? - March 3, 2021
- The benefits of having a pet in your life - February 22, 2021
- How to recognise, diagnose and manage diabetes - February 10, 2021
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!