The discovery of a lump in your armpit can be an unsettling experience. Suddenly, your mind is racing with questions: what could it be? Is it serious? How do I get rid of it? Before you panic, take a deep breath and know that armpit lumps are a common occurrence, and there are many possible causes.
One of the most common causes of armpit lumps is lymphadenopathy, or swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are part of your body's immune system, and they can become enlarged in response to an infection, inflammation, or cancer. When lymph nodes in the armpit become swollen, they can feel like hard or tender lumps. In most cases, lymphadenopathy is not serious and will go away on its own as your body fights off the underlying condition. However, if your armpit lump is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss, it's important to see a doctor right away to rule out a more serious underlying condition.
Also read: 4 Breast cancer symptoms other than breast lump you should watch out for
Another common cause of armpit lumps is hidradenitis suppurativa. According to Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational dermatology, it is a chronic skin condition that causes painful bumps and boils in the armpits, groin, and other areas of the body. Hidradenitis suppurativa is believed to be caused by clogged hair follicles and sweat glands, and it can be triggered by hormonal changes, stress, and other factors. If you have hidradenitis suppurativa, you may notice that your armpit lumps are painful and filled with pus.
An armpit lump may be a sign of breast cancer. Breast tissue extends into the armpit, and cancer cells can spread to the lymph nodes in this area. If you have a lump in your armpit that is accompanied by other symptoms like nipple discharge, breast pain, or a change in breast shape, it's important to see a doctor right away. Breast cancer is a serious condition, but early detection and treatment can improve your chances of a full recovery.
While armpit lumps can be alarming, there are many possible causes, and most are not serious. In addition to the causes mentioned above, armpit lumps can also be caused by cysts, lipomas (fatty tumors), and reactions to medications or vaccines. In some cases, armpit lumps may be a symptom of a systemic condition like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, ask about your medical history, and may order imaging tests or a biopsy to determine the cause of your armpit lump.
If you have an armpit lump, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms and promote healing. Doctors recommend avoiding squeezing or picking at the lump, as this can cause infection or further inflammation. You can apply warm compresses to the area to reduce swelling and discomfort. If your armpit lump is caused by an underlying condition like hidradenitis suppurativa or lymphadenopathy, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan that may include medications, surgery, or lifestyle changes.
Also read: The first sign of breast cancer is not always a lump
Armpit lumps are a common occurrence, and while they can be scary, they are usually not serious. However, it's important to see a doctor if you have an armpit lump that is accompanied by other symptoms or is causing you significant discomfort. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your lump and recommend correct course of action.