Lump in Armpit- What Could it Mean? Diagnosis and Treatment

What is a Lump in Armpit?

Ever felt a bump like structure in your armpit? That is a swollen region that appears like a ball. This is exactly what we call a lump in the armpit. It is the round form of tissues that pop up like a ball in your armpit and often may even cause pain to you armpit. In this article we shall attempt to reflect towards the causes of the lump in the armpit and the different solutions that can be offered for the same.

Causes of Lump in the Armpit:

Most times, the lumps in your armpit are harmless and do not indicate any serious complications. However, some times they may be a symptom of Breast Cancer.  It is important to examine these lumps well in order to determine that they are not completely harmful. The few possible causes of lumps are as under:

1. Bacterial or Viral Infections:

The actions of bacteria or virus can sometimes lead to formation of lumps. These lumps are sometimes painful and sometimes do not cause any pain at all. However, painless or otherwise, these lumps need to be treated with anti bacterial medications.

2. Lipomas:

These are harmless fat tissues that grow in your lumps. These lumps are made of fat tissues. It can be developed at any age but children usually do not have it. These are also known as benign growths or non cancerous tumors.

3. Fibroadenoma:

These are yet different kinds of growths that develop under your skin. These are made of fiber. The lumps are noncancerous fibrous growths. They are also non harmful and are not painful either. However they may cause discomfort to you.

4. Allergic Reactions:

When exposed to a few things, people develop allergies which manifest themselves in different way. These allergies can be developed due to pet reaction, certain foods, medications, exposure to certain flowers or plants. The allergy can lead to lumps in the armpit. Once the allergy is treated, the lumps also settle.

5. Adverse Reactions to Vaccinations:

Vaccinations are administered for prevention against diseases. However, due to vaccinations, the body may develop lumps in the armpit as an adverse reaction to the medicine that is administered. These too are temporary and will heal in a few days when the body begins to accept and adjust with the medicine.

6. Lump in Armpit due to Fungal Infections:

If a person fails to maintain proper hygiene of the body, at times, he/she may develop fungal infections under the arms. This happens due to sweat, unhealthy lifestyle, not bathing for a few days or any kind of reaction against deodorants or soaps. You must get these lumps treated from a dermatologist. The dermatologist will prescribe medicines and ointments to clear the fungus that has developed.

7. Symptom of Breast Cancer:

There are various symptoms for breast cancer which are easily identifiable. One of the symptom is development of lumps in the armpits. They may be a cluster of lumps in the area near your chest, breast and those which also spread to the armpits. They may be non painful in the beginning but as the cancer grows, they may begin to cause pain and discomfort. If you are a woman and seem to have developed the lumps, it is not to be taken lightly. Any slightest chance of breast cancer should be wiped off with a proper medical examination. Hence, it is advised that the development of lumps in the armpits is taken seriously.

8. Lumps in the Armpit due to Lymphoma:

The cancer that affects the lymph nodes and eats the healthy cells of the region away, is known as lymphoma. A person with lymphoma will develop cancerous or malign tumors in the armpit. These are very painful.

9. Leukemia:

Leukemia usually affects children but even elders are not spared from this life endangering illness. Leukemia is the cancer of blood cells. Cancerous cells feed on the healthy cells of your blood and kill hem. They deplete the oxygen carrying capacity of the healthy blood cells which eventually leads to death of the patient. Lump in the armpits is also a sign of leukemia. When the lumps develop in the armpits of your children, it especially calls for concern and some immediate medical expertise must be availed.

10. Lupus:

Lupus is a very rare condition. It is an auto-immune disease which affects the joints of your hands and legs. The patient slowly becomes incapable of holding even a glass of water. This disease targets the immunity of the patient causing various other medical problems also.

Diagnosis of Lumps in Armpit:

If you see the lumps in your armpits, do not try to do anything at home. Rush to a doctor. The doctor will first physically examine the lump. He may also rub the region to investigate the pain that it is causing you. If the doctor finds the cause to be a simple inflammation, he may advise you to lightly rub the region and also put a cloth dipped in hot water on the lump.

If the lump is due to fungal reaction and is also  accompanied with rashes and redness, you must go to the dermatologist.

The doctor will ask you if the lump is painful and shall also examine and ask for other related symptoms. He will check for palpitation, massage effects, changes in the shape and size of the lumps as well. All of these things are only to be done by doctor. Do not try to self examine yourself with any of the above methods.

Benign lumps are detectable through physical examinations and are also not harmful to your body. They cause no pain to you. However, if they lead to inconvenience, the doctor suggests to remove it through treatments. However, if physical examinations do no suffice for the doctor to understand the cause of your lump, he may suggest a few tests as under:

  • A complete Blood count is done to measure the number of white blood cells and the red blood cells. This is to examine if the patient has leukemia.
  • X-Ray of the Chest or Breast is done in order to examine the area for cancerous developments in the breast region. This is suggested when the patient is a woman.
  • Biopsy is also recommended. It involves taking a sample of the tissue to examine if the cells growing in it are cancerous or non cancerous.
  • The doctor also tests the lump in order to determine if it resurfaces due to an allergy. If allergy is the cause of your lump, it will happen repeatedly. To be precise, the lump will appear as soon as you are exposed to the agent that causes you the allergy.

Treatment for Lump in the Armpit:

The cause of the lump shall decide the treatment. If the lump is due to bacteria or virus, antibiotics will be prescribed by the doctor to treat the same. The fungal infection too can be treated by application of ointment that fights the fungus. For more serious diseases like lupus, lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, the treatment shall vary. If the cause is simple inflammation due to rigorous exercise, resting for some time and application of hot water cloth shall relieve the pain.

Whatever be the cause and the corresponding treatment, it needs to be brought to the attention of the doctor before it is too late. Maintaining personal hygiene also helps to keep all these problems at bay.


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Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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