Painful Lump in Armpit

Question

I found a painful lump in armpit yesterday. I have no idea how it developed as I did not observe it as a tiny lump. I don’t know what caused it. Maybe it is a swollen lymph node, or maybe it is an infection. Whatever the reason, I am in pain. I am female and 36 years of age. I cannot help but worry about cancerous growths. What do you think is causing this armpit lump?

Answer

You are right. An armpit lump in female or male can always be due to a swollen lymph node. Lymph nodes can be found throughout the body. They are vital for the body’s immune system. Swollen lymph nodes are a result of the body fighting any harmful germ such as bacteria, viruses and other infections. If the lump under the armpit is larger than 1cm, there is a very high likelihood of it being caused by swollen lymph node. Painful lymph nodes may require medication. As fever is a common symptom associated with swollen lymph nodes, prescription medication may also have to be taken to combat the infection while paracetamol and ibuprofen will be needed to lower the fever. If the lymph nodes are swollen due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. If it is due to a viral infection, antiviral medications will be prescribed.

Could It Be Cancer?

An armpit lump in a female or a male can also be an indication of cancer. Cancers that are most susceptible to swollen lymph nodes are leukaemia, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Do not panic! There are also many more benign reasons for the lump under armpit that are painful. However, you should always consider medical advice as soon as possible when you feel a lump under the armpit or any other area of the body for that matter.

Can It Be a Cyst?

Lump under armpit female painful can be due to a cyst. A cyst can develop anywhere in the body. The most common reason for the development of a cyst is the blocking of a sebaceous gland. However, most often, a cyst that develops in the armpit is due to the application of antiperspirants or shaving. A cyst is a small sac that is filled with a type of protein called keratin. Most cysts heal without any problems. However, sometimes, armpit cysts may become large and will result in a painful lump in armpit. This may require surgical removal of the cyst. However, if the cyst is not removed in the proper manner, it can recur. A cyst can also change into a malignant growth.

What Are the Benign Tumours That Develop in the Armpit?

The most common benign tumour that results in a lump in the armpit, is a lipoma. This is a growth of mature fat cells that develop below the skin. Lipomas do not cause any problems to the affected person. You can have more than one lipoma lump in any part of your body. Lipomas are most common to the neck, torso, armpit and upper thigh area. If the lump in the armpit has a rubber consistency, is moveable and is slow to grow, it can be a lipoma. However, lipomas are not painful, unless it is located in an area where it may cause discomfort. If your lump under the armpit is a lipoma, and it is giving you pain due to its location, you can have it surgically removed.

Is the Lump Related to a Boil?

Another reason for a painful lump in armpit is a boil. Generally caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, boils can also be caused by other bacteria and fungi. Boils can occur anywhere where there are hair follicles. If the lump in your armpit is tender, pink, swollen and firm, you could be having an infected boil. Boils often heal without any treatment. However, any pain or infection resulting in the boil may have to be treated medically. A topical antibacterial cream can be tried out initially to aid the healing.

A painful or painless lump in the armpit must always be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Since lumps and bumps are irregular and abnormal, they always carry a risk of being malignant. Hence, we cannot resort to guessing games and wait for the condition to aggravate beyond treatable levels.