11:13 am - 07/18/2012

Darkened skin in groin and under arms- does it ever go away?

I'm 24 and I've notice for about a year that the skin near my groin (going out about two inches down the insides of my legs to the point where I can't wear a bathing suit) is a lot darker than the rest of my skin. I also have similar dark marks under my arms which keeps me from wearing tank tops. They go down the sides of my body to my breasts. The crease at where my leg and vulva meet is so dark in spots it looks like bruising. I know that this can be caused by insulin resistance, but I don't really have any other pre-diabetic symptoms except for skin darkening. I'm not overweight although I'm also out of shape and don't eat too well, so I will get checked anyway when I get the chance. If this is caused by insulin resistance can it be reversed by exercising more and eating better? I am also on birth control, I don't know if that can factor in, and I've never been pregnant. Has anyone else experienced this, and has anything helped in lightening it, or is this permanent?

Thanks.
kirstenlouise 18th-Jul-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Pub Med has some information, including a note that acanthosis nigricans (which sounds like what you're describing) can be caused by HBC.

I have it as well and mine is connected to my thyroid problem.
atomiccake 18th-Jul-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Hmm, that's interesting. I wonder if going off of birth control would make it go away. Birth control has been the only thing that keeps my face from breaking out. I guess I have to choose between embarrassing skin problems on my face or on my body.

What kind of thyroid problem do you have? I sometimes think I have thyroid issues but haven't been checked for about 10 years when my chronic pain problems started, and they said I was normal then. Chronic pain and fatigue are what keep me from moving as much as I should, which is why I wouldn't be surprised if I were pre-diabetic. I sleep like 9-10 hours a day, am in my early 20s and barely have energy to leave my house. I don't really know what other symptoms of thyroid conditions there are.
kirstenlouise 18th-Jul-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
It might, but then again, it might not. It really depends on what's causing it in the first place and although it could be the birth control, it's not definitely the birth control. Mine didn't get any worse when I was on HBC, for example.

I'm hypothyroid due to Hashimoto's. I think it's definitely worth getting your levels checked again, because my major symptom, aside from weight gain, was sleeping for 10+ hours and still being too exhausted to do anything else. Symptoms are pretty diverse---hypothyroidism can cause depression and poor circulation, constipation, joint pain, brittle nails... here's the Pub Med entry.

Some doctors are still using outdated ranges for what constitutes a "normal" TSH, so it's important to find one who will treat your symptoms and not say that you're fine if you don't feel fine. That can take a bit of trouble, but it's worth it. It's definitely not normal to be getting so much sleep and still feel exhausted, so even if it doesn't end up being your thyroid, it's obvious there's still something going on.

Good luck!
atomiccake 18th-Jul-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I just scheduled a physical for tomorrow because I haven't seen a doctor in ages and will definitely ask about these things and hopefully have some tests done.
bastets_place 18th-Jul-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Wierd, slightly off topic (ok very off topic) question - "suddenly" my thyroid is causing me to be hypothyroid. However you say it. I got put on medications, but I noticed that my numbers hadn't changed since I was an older teen. does this mean that I should have been diagnosed with this 30 years ago (before I put on 200 pounds, slept my whole life away, have been depressed for most of that time, and developed diabetes and gall stones as a result of the obesity) or does this mean that something is abruptly wrong with my thyroid, and - is there some other cause for alarm? I mean, I am not used to body parts suddenly not working.

Oh, and I have had darkened skin under my arms and in my groin area my whole life, since puberty, and I presumed everyone's was like that.
kirstenlouise 18th-Jul-2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
Hah, no problem! I'm not a doctor, but it does sound to me like you should have been diagnosed a long time ago. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of labs still use the "old" ranges, which would have been the current ranges (or perhaps the new ranges?) when you were in your teens, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Alternatively, I really don't know any of the comparative statistics for hypothyroid diagnoses now versus thirty years ago.

It's not impossible for your thyroid to abruptly throw itself out of whack, but it's fairly unlikely. It does happen during pregnancy and after pregnancy sometimes, but I don't know any other likely scenarios off the top of my head.

I would say that there's a range of pigmentation differences that's pretty normal, but acanthosis nigricans is usually more than just a little darkening of the skin, so it could be normal and it could not be, depending.
bastets_place 18th-Jul-2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Well, my pregnancy was strange and my delivery odder, but I doubt strongly that it ushered in a new era of thyroid problems. I weighed 300 pounds when I got pregnant, and weighed 270 pounds when I delivered, and my weight has not fluctuated more than five pounds since then unless I really TRY to diet.
I will say that being on thyroid medications has lead to me suddenly feeling full sometimes. Before being on the medication, I only went from "hungry" to "sick". "Full" seems to happen at about half the intake that "sick" requires. It's been fascinating.

I was so worried about thyroid cancer, personally, but if this is something that could have been going on since mid-adolescents, I will stop worrying.
kirstenlouise 18th-Jul-2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
Right, and it's usually temporary if it's related to pregnancy, like how some women experience gestational diabetes. It's not unusual for people with thyroid problems to have a difficult time judging when they're no longer hungry. I know just what you mean!

Well, the only way to really rule out a cancerous thyroid is to have an ultrasound and follow it up with a biopsy if you have any suspicious nodules, but a doctor should be able to feel at your thyroid a bit and see if they think it's any cause for concern.
xwitchymagicx 19th-Jul-2012 01:32 am (UTC)
I have chronic pain and fatigue too, weirdly enough exercise (30 mins each day moderate activity) has been of a great help to me as well as taking nortriptolyne and eating a diet with lots of fruit veg limited gluten, dairy etc etc.

:) Just thought I'd share my experience with the condition, as I know everyone is different!

It was a struggle at first though, literally having to exercise whilst feeling I was moving through solidified treacle!

Personally I still feel being diagnosed with "chronic pain & fatigue" is just another way for the doctor to say "We have no clue what is wrong with you". lol
six_dollar_baby 18th-Jul-2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
it CAN be caused by HBC combined with excessive sun exposure- 10 years of HBC use (and total laziness/ignorance about sunblock use) caused dark spots on my face, but nowhere else. and they did not go away after i quit HBC.

charissa 18th-Jul-2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
Darkened skin is associated with a bunch of things (thyroid/PCOS/diabetes). Have your doctor get some blood work done.

I have it as well (sides/thighs/armpits), but I checked out to be healthy after tests - however I'm overweight and me losing some weight and eating healthier made most of it go away, except the arm pits so far.

For under your arms, if it's your armpits - it could be simple as the culprit being strong antiperspirants or shaving. Switch antiperspirants and try epilating/waxing your arm pits. Epilating made my armpits lighten, but still kinda dark.
misheymo 18th-Jul-2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
i have darkness on my inner thighs and around my neck from pcos.
annabelle64 18th-Jul-2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
ok, i'm feeling so stupid. i have pcos and i've been trying to scrub the dark skin around my neck, under my arms and my inner thighs for years! i thought it was dirt that wouldn't come off. i even asked a dr once about why the dirt wouldn't come off my skin. thank you for this info.
catwallada 18th-Jul-2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
I haven't had this problem but I have had good experiences using turmeric paste to lighten a blemish.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/355046-how-to-use-turmeric-to-lighten-skin/
It does make skin more sensitive to sun damage though so always use sunscreen and I recommend adding yogurt to the mix, it can be a little burny otherwise.
randomtasks 18th-Jul-2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
I only have it at the crease at where my leg and vulva and according to my gyn, it was bruising due to my underwear rubbing against that area all of the time.
auryn24 I had this problem too...18th-Jul-2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
...in my axila and groin. Mine did go away, though, after my insulin resistance went away with weight loss.
blackpuddle 18th-Jul-2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
I have it on my armpits, I've never been diagnosed with anything that would cause it. I've had it for as long as I can remember too. I always thought my skin was just darker there.
gyulchetay 19th-Jul-2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
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