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Lump in the Armpit: Should You Worry?
19 Jan. 2016

lump in the armpitOnce in a while, some people may find lumps in their armpits. Such lumps can be either a sign of a relatively harmless condition or a symptom of a dangerous disease. Armpit lump is quite a common complaint; tenderness in the armpit as well as reduced motor activity of the arm – it’s the combination that makes it impossible to stand the discomfort and pain caused by a lump for too long waiting until it fades away on its own. So, what are the causes of armpit lumps and are such lumps dangerous?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Armpit lumps can occur during pregnancy due to the natural hormonal changes happening in the female body. In some cases, an unusual amount of breast tissue can be formed in the armpit and at late pregnancy, when the breasts prepare to lactate, this tissue enlarges and forms a lump. Such lumps usually disappear once the woman stops breastfeeding; however, it’s worth showing them to a doctor.

Hidradenitis axillaris
It’s a very common cause of armpit lumps and it can be found equally in men and women. Hidradenitis is provoked by the penetration of pathogenic bacteria (staphylococci or streptococci) into the sweat glands – these bacteria cause inflammation, which results in the formation of lumps. Poor personal hygiene, excessive sweating, incorrect and inappropriate use of antiperspirants and deodorants makes it easier for the bacteria to penetrate skin through the cuts or scratches. Hidradenitis requires antibacterial treatment and, in some cases, pain relief drugs.

Inflamed lymph node
Lymph nodes are the basis of our body’s immune system. They are our biological filters that help the body to get rid of viruses and bacteria. Healthy individuals do not feel their lymph nodes, but they can get swollen due to the weakening of the immunity after a disease (quinsy, influenza, etc.) or if there is a persistent infection in the body (tuberculosis, syphilis, etc.). Swollen lymph nodes can also be one of the signs of breast cancer. Another type of cancer – lymphoma – can cause swelling of the lymph nodes as well.

Lipomawoman at the medical consultation
It’s a benign fatty tumor caused by the overgrowth of fat cells. Lipomas are pretty harmless – their formation is painless, they are doughy and soft to the touch and generally small (less than 2 inches) in diameter. Lipomas usually require no treatment, but if they bother you and cause pain, it’s recommended to surgically remove them.

Thus, keeping in mind all the possible causes of armpit lumps, if you find one in your armpit, it’s worth showing it to a doctor.

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