A lipoma is a fatty lump that grows under your skin. It is soft and can move with even the slightest pressure from your fingers. Although classified as a “tumor,” it rarely causes harm.
How does it develop and what can be done to treat it? Is there any truth to treating it using aloe vera? Let’s examine each question.
What Causes Lipoma?
There isn’t an exact cause of lipomas. However, there are certain known facts about them:
- they tend to occur in people in their middle ages
- they tend to occur in families
- they can appear after an injury, but the reason they form isn’t exactly clear
- they can be brought about by inherited conditions, like Madelung’s disease
A lipoma can appear in any part of the body. However, they are usually found in these areas:
How To Determine If a Lipoma Has Formed?
When you feel a soft bulge on your skin while applying lotion or in the shower, that bump you felt could very well be a lipoma. There are two ways to be certain:
- assess the growth by feel
- have your doctor check it
It can be frightening to find a bump anywhere on your skin. Although lipomas are fairly harmless, it can still be a cause for alarm. To verify whether the lump you felt was truly a lipoma, check for the following characteristics:
- it is soft to the touch
- it moves with just the slightest touch
- it is located under the skin
- it is pale and colorless
- it grows slowly
Also, a lipoma can appear in multiple parts of the body. Meaning, there can be more than one of them.
When Should a Visit To The Doctor Be Necessary?
Any unusual formation on the body can give you pause for concern. That’s true even if most medical sources will tell you that a lipoma is rarely harmful. In short, you just want to be sure if it isn’t something else.
The appearance of soft bumps like a lipoma can send you immediately to your doctor. At the doctor’s office, they do any of the following to diagnose a lipoma:
- perform a physical exam
- remove a tissue sample for examination in a lab
- perform an X-ray or imaging tests, like an MRI or CT scan
An MRI or CT scan is usually requested if the lump is large, has unusual features, or appears to be located deeper than the fatty layer.
A lipoma also resembles a form of cancer called liposarcoma, which are tumors that form in fatty tissue. The difference between them is that the cancerous version doesn’t move and is painful. Performing a biopsy, MRI, or CT scan can confirm if this is the case.
Generally though, lipomas don’t cause much trouble. Then again, you can’t be faulted for wanting to be certain. While you can always see your doctor at the presence of bumps, it is recommended that you go see them if:
- you find there are changes in your skin
- it is causing pain or affecting muscles (in this case, it might have to removed)
Although a lipoma is rarely harmful, there’s nothing wrong with seeing your doctor to be certain.
How Is A Lipoma Treated?
A lipoma goes away in time, but if it is bothering you, there are different treatment options available depending on several factors.
Your doctor will have to look at the size of the lipoma. A large one can be cause for concern, and a biopsy or imaging tests can be ordered to verify what it really is.
Another factor they look into is the number of tumors present in your body. It is normal for there to be multiple lipomas and a test can figure out whether or not all of them are benign.
Whether or not you or your family has a history of skin cancer factors into the kind of treatment you can receive.
Lastly, more checks need to be done if you find the lipoma to be causing any pain.
That said, here are the usual treatment methods for lipomas:
- Surgery. This is the most common method used, especially when the lump is large and continues to grow.
- Liposuction. Since lipomas are the growth of fatty tissue, this method helps reduce its size.
- Steroid injections. This is done on the affected area. While it can reduce the size of the lipoma, it doesn’t remove it completely.
Can A Lipoma Be Treated With Aloe Vera?
A lipoma is a benign tumor. There is a rare chance for it to be something harmful. In short, it isn’t exactly life-threatening. As such, there isn’t a treatment recommended for it.
However, you can always seek medical advice if the bump is bothering you. Most likely, your doctor will treat the lump through surgery, liposuction, or steroid injections.
But what about natural remedies? What is the truth behind using aloe vera to treat lumps like lipoma?
Some people, especially those into natural medicine and treatments, swear by the use of aloe vera since it can shrink lipomas. Here’s a recipe for a mixture used to treat lipomas:
- 4 tablespoons organic aloe vera gel
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- small bowl
- plastic wrap
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Apply about 1cm of the mixture to the affected area.
- Cover the area with plastic wrap. Make sure to secure it.
- Leave it for 36 hours.
- Remove the wrap and repeat the procedure again (usually lasts the entire week).
Why do some swear by this treatment? It is believed that the anti-inflammatory components of aloe vera gel, like salicylic acid and vitamin E help shrink the lumps. Also, the high magnesium content of aloe vera gel is believed to be an anesthetic, especially if the lumps are of the kind that causes pain.
While you might think that treating lipomas by yourself using natural methods can save you money, it is still best to ask your doctor if this is a good idea. After all, most medical advice suggests that lipomas be left alone, with treatment only to be done if the bumps are causing pain.
Why aloe vera?
Aloe vera gel has been used to treat sunburn and wounds for many years. Its use for medicinal purposes date back to ancient Egypt. Although it is native to the Canary Islands, North Africa, and Southern Europe, it is now grown in tropical climates around the world.
Not only is the aloe vera plant helpful for medicinal reasons, it can be used for decorative purposes too. In other words, it is both a cure and a decoration.
How did aloe vera come to be used as a cure?
The polysaccharide sugars contained in aloe have healing properties. They are able to help the white blood cells, which make up the immune system, be more effective at its job. In other words, they are able to fight off different kinds of infection.
The gel and the latex are two of the most useful parts of the aloe plant. The former is extracted from the center of the leaf while the latter is taken from beneath the skin of the leaf. These are applied topically to provide relief from inflammation and as a cure for wounds.
Is Using Aloe Vera Safe?
The short answer is that it is most likely safe, especially the gel if applied topically. This is also the usual method preferred. However, there are some aloe treatments that are taken orally, but you really do need advice from your doctor before you start taking them, no matter how others deem them to be safe. Doing so ensures that you won’t have any reactions that could endanger your health.
Is It Safe to Use Aloe Vera to Treat Lipoma?
Given the evidence, you would think that it would be just fine to swab a natural product onto your body. After all, how could it possibly cause any damage given you’re using it in its raw form?
While it’s tempting to do so, especially if you have your own aloe vera plant. It’s advisable to refrain from doing so unless your doctor has given you the okay. It’s always best to consult before you go trying some natural remedies that may potentially be harmful for you.
Besides, a lipoma is a benign tumor. Many doctors will tell you that it is harmless, and is only a cause for concern if the lump doesn’t subscribe to the usual characteristics of a lipoma. In that case, your doctor will suggest the appropriate treatment but not without putting you through a few tests to really determine what kind of lump you have.
Finding a lump on your body can truly be a scary moment. If it happens to be a lipoma, there isn’t a lot to fear but you do need to see your doctor if the characteristics are unusual for a lipoma and it causes you pain.