Painful Lumps in Armpits

Image of painful lumps in armpits

Image of painful lumps in armpits

An armpit lump usually refers to the enlargement of a minimum of one of the lymph nodes under your arm. Lymph nodes are small, oval-shaped glands that lie throughout the body. They play an essential function in your body’s body immune system.

The lump may feel small. In other cases, it might be very obvious. Armpit lumps may be triggered by cysts, infection, or irritation due to shaving or antiperspirant use. Nevertheless, these lumps may also indicate a major hidden health condition.

Seek medical attention if you have an armpit lump that gradually becomes enlarged, isn’t really painful, or does not go away.

Causes of Painful Armpit Lumps

The majority of lumps are harmless and are typically the outcome of irregular tissue growth. However, armpit lumps can be associated with a pain and a more serious underlying illness. You must have your doctor evaluate any uncommon lumps you have.

The most common causes of armpit lumps are:

  • leukemia (cancer of the blood cells).
  • lipomas (harmless fat tissue developments).
  • a breast cancer reaction.
  • lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).
  • lupus (an autoimmune disease that targets your joints and organs).
  • fungal infections.
  • a fibroadenoma (noncancerous fibrous tissue development).
  • allergic reactions.
  • unfavorable responses to vaccinations.
  • bacterial or viral infections

Painful Armpit Lumps in Women

Armpit lumps can happen in men and women of all ages. Nevertheless, a lump under the arm might suggest breast cancer. Women should perform regular monthly breast self-exams and report any breast lumps to a doctor right away.

Note that breasts go through hormone changes during the menstruation and may tend to feel more tender or bumpy during this time. This is completely normal. For the most precise outcomes, perform breast self-exams about one to 3 days after your period ends.

Dealing With Painful Armpit Lumps

The course of treatment your doctor recommends depends on the underlying reason for the lump. Bacterial infections can be treated with oral antibiotics. After a number of days, the armpit lump need to start to vanish as your body fights the infection. If the lump does not respond to oral antibiotics, you may have to be hospitalized for intravenous (IV) antibiotics.

If your lump is connected with allergies, it needs to go away when you start medication and learn how to avoid your allergy triggers.

In most cases, armpit lumps don’t require any treatment, just easy observation. If your doctor determines this holds true, you can use natural home remedy such as warm compresses and non-prescription painkiller to reduce any discomfort. Lumps that don’t require treatment include those related to:

  • lipomas.
  • viral infections.
  • fibroadenoma (noncancerous breast lumps).

If your armpit lumps are cancerous, your doctor may refer you to a professional for additional care. Treatment will depend on the type of cancer and what stage you’re in, and it might include a mix of:

  • chemotherapy.
  • radiation therapy.
  • surgery.

Answer to Following Questions if You Have Lumps in Armpits

Have you been ill recently?

The aforementioned lymph nodes are your body’s cleansing system; they filter out and fight any irregularities in your lymphatic system, including cancer cells, infections, and even cells harmed by negative drug responses.

So, if you’ve had the flu or some other systemic infection (e.g., shingles, mononucleosis, chickenpox); or if you injured the area (a bug bite, a nick while shaving, even severe sunburn), you may very well have a swollen lymph node or more as an outcome of the “battle” going on in between your lymph cells and the alien invaders. If certainly you’ve been ill or hurt, wait a number of weeks to see if that lump begins to diminish; if it was illness-related, it’ll eventually vanish.

Have you had a current vaccination? Are you allergic to any medications?

Vaccines for smallpox, typhoid, and MMR (measles/mumps/rubella), in addition to reactions to penicillin and iodine, can cause underarm lumps. If you’ve recently been immunized, or might have had an allergic drug response, let your doctor know – but it’s most likely safe to simply wait it out.

Is the lump red and painful? Is it growing visibly, day by day?

Cancer does not grow nearly as rapidly as an infection, nor does it cause skin inflammation. If the lump you have feels and imitates a pimple – then that’s probably what it is, a localized infection. Keep the area clean and dry, and apply warm compresses; if it doesn’t begin to ease off in a few days, see your doctor for treatment.

What does the lump seem like?

An infected lymph node will usually be fairly soft, painful, and moveable; you can push it around a bit with your fingers. A malignant lump is more likely to be hard, pain-free, and repaired in location. It may also feel like it’s linked to other, smaller lumps.

So, bottom line: If the underarm lump you feel is red and/or painful, and growing visibly, see your doctor. Or if you have a new lump of any kind that does not vanish within a few weeks, see your doctor.

However if the lump you feel doesn’t grow bigger, and then vanishes by itself within a couple of weeks, it’s most likely safe not to pursue medical diagnosis and treatment.


Last modified: November 8, 2017

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