What Causes Armpit Lumps?

Lumps of any kind in the body that weren’t previously there send out a warning flag. There is some process going on in your body that needs your attention. If you detect a lump under your armpit, a more careful examination by a doctor can reveal what is causing it.

Now, all lumps are not cancerous but you won’t know that without further testing. Lumps can be caused by lymph node enlargement, abscesses, swelling in the tissues, infections or cancer.

Lymph nodes are the tissue in the body that filters the blood. The lymphatic system can be infiltrated by cancerous cells as the body tries to rid itself of anything that is foreign to it. When you have a cold, sometimes the lymph nodes in the neck swell if there is an infectious component, like a sinus infection. There are axillary lymph nodes that are found in the armpit area.

An abscess is an infection. People get abscesses in teeth, tonsil tissue and other areas that have become infected. An abscess is painful unless it is treated. Under the arms, a suspicious lump could be an abscess caused by an infected hair follicle. Abscesses need to be drained and antibiotics given orally, intravenously or topically to clear up the infected area. If the abscess is extensive enough it may require surgery to treat it.

Abscesses could start with deodorants and shaving blades. Some deodorants like roll-ons can be applied too thick and it clogs up the pores under the arm. Any secretions that normally would be excreted are trapped along with the bacteria they contain. Shaving hair under the arms too close or using a dirty razor can infect the hair follicle and lead to infection and abscess.

A fatty tumor called a lipoma may be found in the armpit area. It is a benign adipose tumor that doesn’t have to be bothered unless it is causing you pain or discomfort. A doctor can examine you to determine if what you feel is soft like a lipoma or has firmness like another type of tumor.

When to contact the doctor is a subjective matter. A doctor doesn’t have to see you for hair bumps. Usually if you can break the skin and remove the pus, the pain and problem goes away.

If you are a person who notices changes in their body easily, then a lump under the armpit (which you don’t know the reason for) may be cause to see a doctor. What you are feeling may be a lymph node, a lipoma or a benign cyst, but only a doctor has the expertise to make that determination.