Fluid-filled bumps on the skin can be alarming, but in most cases they can actually be a sign of healing. Many times the skin develops fluid-filled sacs in order to soothe and provide nutrients to skin that is burned or worn raw. These bumps tend to be painless, and most go away over time. It is important to know why the bumps have developed, however, and how they should be treated to best protect your skin.
The most common type of water-filled bump that develops on the skin is the blister. This is a water-filled bump often caused by an injury to your skin. Another type of injury-related bump is called a hydrocele, which develops on male sexual organs. Some bumps can also develop due to irritations to the skin. You may also have water-filled bumps appear in relation to skin conditions such as acne.
In the case of blisters, you likely have placed significant wear and/or friction on the spot where the blister developed, or you may have suffered a minor burn. Allergic reactions can sometimes cause fluid-filled bumps on the skin, particularly if you encounter topical agitators such as poison ivy or poison oak. Nodules can be related to acne and/or an infection. Hydroceles, though rare in adult men, are often related to inflammation or an injury inside the scrotum, such as an infection, according to MayoClinic.com. They develop to help the testicles heal.
Water-filled bumps caused by poison ivy or oak should be treated with an over-the-counter medication that topically treats itching and helps the skin dry. Nodules should be treated by cleaning the skin regularly using a gentle skin cleanser and a soft towel. Hydroceles should be left alone, but if the water-filled bump is present after a year medical attention should be sought, according to MayoClinic.com. They also recommend covering regular blisters in an adhesive bandage or gauze wrap.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, MayoClinic.com suggests you do not puncture or pop the fluid-filled cavity on your skin. In most cases, the fluid contained in this bump is there to help in the healing process. Puncturing the bump can lead to pain, infections and potentially scarring. If you do puncture the fluid-filled sac, use a sterilized needle and leave the skin intact over the location to help protect it from further damage.
When To See A Doctor
If you have diabetes or poor circulation, visit a doctor before treating your bumps. Additionally, you should see a doctor if you develop these bumps at a rapid rate over the course of weeks, particularly if you are middle-aged or elderly, or if you develop the bumps while sick. Also visit a doctor if you experience weight loss or night sweats while the bumps are present.
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.