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Causes, Related Conditions, Questions & Related Topics

Top 6 Lesions Causes

1. Infection

Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections may all cause lesions to grow on the skin or inside the body. Herpes simplex virus, chickenpox, and impetigo are examples of infections that may lead to the development of lesions.[1]

2. Tumor

A tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue that develops when cells multiply and grow excessively in the body. A tumor may grow when the body’s immune system is compromised and can be either cancerous or benign. Risk factors for tumors include obesity, exposure to radiation, viruses, exposure to environmental toxins, and excess alcohol intake. Lesions caused by tumors may be accompanied by symptoms including fever, chills, loss of appetite, night sweats, pain, and weight loss.[2]

3. Genetics

Having a family history of lesions can lead to the development of one or more lesions on the skin or inside the body. Atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are examples of skin conditions that can run in families and cause lesions.[3] Brain lesions are another type of lesion that can be passed through the genes.[4]

4. Birthmark

A birthmark is an abnormality of the skin that is present when a baby is born. Birthmarks range in a variety of colors and sizes and can be either raised or flat. Some types of birthmarks run in families, such as moles. Lesions caused by birthmarks usually only affect one’s appearance, though certain types of lesions such as moles may increase the risk of skin cancer.[5]

5. Insect Bite

Many types of insects can bite the skin to cause visible lesions. Bites from insects such as gnats, fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders can cause small lumps and lesions to develop on the skin. Lesions from insect bites are often itchy and may grow larger when scratched or further irritated.[6]

6. Scar

Scarring from acne, injuries, and abnormal skin healing can often lead to the development of lesions. Surgery, trauma, burns, vaccination, skin piercing, and infections like chickenpox and herpes are just some common causes of scarring and lesions. These types of scars occur when chronic inflammation in the skin interferes with the healing process.[7]

Possible Health Conditions Related to Lesions

1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by itchy, sore patches of thick, red, raised skin that may have silvery scales. These patches can develop anywhere on the body but are most commonly seen on the elbows, knees, scalp, face, back, hands, and feet. Psoriasis flares may be triggered by stress, dry skin, infections, and certain medications.[8]

2. Impetigo

Impetigo is a skin infection that occurs when staph or strep bacteria enters a break in the skin such as a cut, scratch, or insect bite. This leads to the development of one or more blisters filled with yellow or brownish pus that ooze and crust over. Lesions caused by impetigo may develop on the face, lips, arms, and legs.[9]

3. Herpes

Genital and oral herpes can often lead to the development of cold sores and visible lesions on the genitals, groin, buttocks, thighs, fingers, eyes, and lips. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that spreads through direct contact with an infected person. Other symptoms of herpes that may occur with lesions include headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and body aches.[10]

4. Eczema

Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterized by an extremely itchy rash and blisters or lesions that break easily to leak fluid. Eczema can cause the skin to thicken, dry, and crack, and most commonly affects the insides of elbows, the back of the neck, the backs of the knees, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Risk factors for eczema are exposure to pollution and weakened immunity.[11]

5. Epilepsy

Brain lesions are thought to be the underlying cause of seizures in those who suffer from epilepsy.[12] Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by repeated seizures over time and is caused by factors including stroke, dementia, infections, tumors, and illnesses that destroy brain tissue.[13] The lesions that cause epilepsy are shown to resolve and disappear on their own following seizures.[12]

6. Multiple Sclerosis

Brain lesions are a common characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord—most notably the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerve cells.[14] These damaged areas in the brain are known as lesions and occur in nearly everyone who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Many doctors monitor lesions in people with multiple sclerosis to measure the progression of the disease.[15]

7. Stroke

Small brain lesions are associated with an increased risk of stroke.[16] A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to part of the brain is blocked to result in the death of brain cells and lasting or permanent brain damage. Lesions in the brain may disrupt blood flow to cause a stroke. Common symptoms of stroke include confusion, paralysis, difficulty breathing, and problems with speech, vision, and coordination.[17]

8. Cancer

Some lesions may cause cancer if they are found to be malignant. If you visit the doctor with concern about a lesion, your doctor may perform a biopsy to determine whether the cells in the tumor are benign or malignant. Your doctor may also order a biopsy in the event a tumor is detected during an examination or with tests like X-rays and MRIs. Lesions that are found to be cancerous may be treated using surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy.[18]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Lesions

  • How long have you had the lesion?
  • Is your lesion itchy or painful?
  • What other symptoms are you experiencing with your lesion?
  • How often do you develop lesions?
  • Do your lesions always form in the same spots?
  • Do any of your relatives have lesions?
  • Do you know what triggered your lesion?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?

Lesions May Also be Known as:

  • Tumors
  • Bumps
  • Ulcers
  • Ulcerations
  • Abscesses
  • Sores
  • Cold sores
  • Canker sores
  • Scars
  • Blemishes
  • Moles



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