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Causes of Syringoma

A syringoma is a benign, or non-cancerous, growth caused by overactive sweat glands.
Syringomas usually develop on the neck, upper cheeks, and the lower region of the eyes, but occasionally they grow on the abdomen, armpit, scalp, bellybutton, and genitals.

In most cases, syringomas are harmless and do not cause symptoms. Rarely, however, some individuals with syringomas experience extreme pain and itchiness, especially when sweating.

Causes of Syringomas

The name “syringoma” is derived from syrinx, the Greek word for tube or pipe.

Syringomas are benign tumours of the sweat ducts (eccrine glands). These tumours lie in the mid to deep (dermal) layers of the skin.

Syringomas can be caused by any activity that increases sweat gland productivity, which may lead to tumor growth. In addition, some conditions affect the sweat glands and may mean you’re more likely to develop syringomas. These include:

  • genetics
  • Down syndrome
  • diabetes mellitus
  • Marfan’s syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Fast facts on syringomas:

  • Syringomas mostly develop in early adulthood, between the ages of 25 and 30.
  • Syringomas are linked to several different medical conditions, including diabetes
  • Though rare, some people have a genetic predisposition towards developing them.
  • Though rare, some people have a genetic predisposition towards developing them.

Signs and symptoms of syringomas

Syringomas usually appear as small bumps that grow between 1 and 3 millimeters. They are either yellowish or flesh-colored. They typically occur in symmetrical clusters on both sides of your face or body.

Eruptive syringomas are usually found on your chest or abdomen and appear as multiple lesions occurring at the same time.

Syringomas aren’t itchy or painful and are usually asymptomatic.

A syringoma is a skin coloured or yellowish firm rounded bump. It is well-defined and sized one to three millimetres in diameter. Syringomas usually first appear at puberty, but additional lesions can develop later. They do not itch or cause pain.

The condition usually appears as a crop of multiple lesions typically around the eyelid. They can also appear on the forehead, upper cheeks, armpits, chest, lower abdomen or genitalia. The clusters normally distribute on both sides of the body in a symmetrical fashion.

Abrupt occurrence of syringoma in a group on the chest and abdomen is called eruptive syringoma. Clinically, it may be mistaken for acne vulgaris, sebaceous hyperplasia, milia, lichen planus and granuloma annulare on the trunk.

What do syringomas look like?

Syringomas are multiple skin-coloured small lumps measuring 1 to 3 mm in diameter. In people with skin of colour (pigmented or dark skin), they may appear as yellowish or pale bumps. Syringomas are more common in women and most frequently appear during or after adolescence. The most common location is around the eye area. In eruptive forms of syringoma the trunk, chest and abdominal areas are involved.

  • milia
  • lichen planus
  • xanthoma
  • sebaceous hyperplasia
  • acne vulgaris
  • flat warts
  • basal cell skin cancer

Usually, syringomas develop over time, but some people, especially younger individuals, may experience sudden, or eruptive syringomas. Eruptive syringomas often cause intense itchiness as well as redness and pain.

The majority of syringomas are not associated with symptoms. Some people may experience itching with sweating.