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5 Causes of Armpit Pain

Armpit pain can be caused by various factors such as intense muscle strain, swollen lymph nodes, Hidradenitis suppurativa and in more severe cases may be the result of a lymphoma or breast cancer.

The associated symptoms and treatment depend on the cause of the pain, and may be simple if it is a muscle injury or infection, or more difficult to treat, such as cancer.

1. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit

5 Causes of Armpit Pain

Swollen lymph nodes, usually occur due to an infection or inflammation of the region in which they arise, because the lymph nodes are part of your immune system, helping to fight infections by attacking and destroying germs that are carried by the lymphatic fluid.

The presence of swollen lymph nodes in the groin, neck or armpit is also called adenopathy or lymphadenopathy, which often represents mild and transient inflammation, but may also be caused by more serious diseases such as cancer or autoimmune diseases, when it persists for more than 1 month or grows more than 2 cm.

What to do: Treatment is usually not necessary, with sufficient rest and hydration. However, it is important to identify and eliminate what is causing inflammation and infection, because antibiotics may need to be taken.

In addition, it may be necessary to take a doctor-directed painkillers or anti-inflammatory drug to relieve pain or tenderness in the area.

2. Muscle Strain

5 Causes of Armpit Pain

Overexertion or injury to the chest and arm muscles can cause armpit pain. These can be caused by doing some sports such as tennis, weightlifting, volleyball or baseball, for example.

What to do: To alleviate pain, what can help is placing ice on the affected region about three times a day, muscle compression, and rest. In addition, painkiller medications such as acetaminophen or dipyrone and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may also be taken to alleviate pain and inflammation.

3. Breast cancer

5 Causes of Armpit Pain

Breast cancer is one of the major cancers that affects women, and although in early stages breast cancer does not cause symptoms, the main sign that may indicate the presence of the tumor is the palpation of a hardened lump.

In addition, symptoms such as swelling and pain in the underarm caused by swollen lymph nodes can radiate to the arm, pain, redness or discharge from the nipples, sore breasts, for example. 

What to do: Breast cancer can be cured, depending on the type and stage it is in, so prevention through self-examination and mammography is very important.

4. Lymphoma

5 Causes of Armpit Pain

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects lymphocytes and usually develops in the lymph nodes situated in the armpit, groin, neck, stomach, intestines and skin, leading to the formation of lumps that can cause symptoms such as pain, fever, malaise and fatigue.

What to do: Treatment depends on the type of lymphoma, stage, condition, and general condition of the patient, and may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or bone marrow transplantation. Hodgkin's lymphoma has a high cure success rate than non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and the results are better when the disease is discovered and treated early.

5. Hidradenitis suppurativa

5 Causes of Armpit Pain

It consists of the presence of swollen lumps in the armpit or groin caused by an inflammation in the sweat glands, which are the glands that produce sweat. This disease leads to the formation of several small wounds mainly in areas of the body that produce a lot of sweat such as armpits, groin, anus and buttocks.

Symptoms associated with this problem are itching, burning and excessive sweating, and the affected skin regions become swollen, stiff and reddened. In addition, these lumps can burst, releasing pus before the skin heals.

What to do: Hidradenitis has no cure, but treatment can control the symptoms and consists of using antibiotic creams and injections of corticosteroids at the affected region. Medication that control hormone production may also be prescribed, especially in women, and in more severe cases surgery may be required to remove the defective gland skin and replace them with healthy skin grafts.

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