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When to call the doctor for tenderness in the armpit area?

Updated July 20, 2017

As one of the more vulnerable parts of the human body, the armpit can be subjected to discomfort caused from rashes, fungal infections and pain from infected or enlarged lymph nodes. Most of the time pain from under the armpit will easily go away on its own; however, in some serious cases knowing when to call the doctor is important.

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Common Reasons for Armpit Tenderness and Pain

There are several circumstances that can result to tenderness in the armpit. Most of which are not serious and tend to go away on their own or after being prescribed an antibiotic. Rashes and cysts can occur after shaving or using soap and deodorant to which the body is allergic. To prevent rashes, some doctors recommend using special shaving cream, razors that are not dull or other methods, such as hair-removal creams.

When it comes to tender lumps under the armpit, there can be various causes. Cysts and abscesses sometimes produce tenderness due to shaving or from wearing antiperspirant deodorant. To treat this, doctors recommend not shaving and using non antiperspirant deodorants, at least until the lump heals. Another reason for a lump appearance could be from infected sweat glands that are draining from the armpit or breast. Physicians will often prescribe an antibiotic in such instances.

Reason for Concern

Lumps can also form from infected lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small organs of the immune system that contain white blood cells which help the body fight infection. Sometimes, lymph nodes can form an infection and enlarge causing inflammations which can results in pain and tenderness in the armpit. A heightened form of this occurrence is called lymphadenitis. Lymphadenitis will cause tenderness under the armpit, in the groin and around the neck. It also forms red painful streaks just under the skin. If left untreated, the infection can eventually find its way to the blood stream and can lead to death.

Lymph nodes can also swell from tumours located in the armpit or in the breast. Because lymph nodes work with the immune system, they may become enlarged due to an infection or even breast cancer.

If you feel a tender lump under the armpit it is a good idea to consult with a doctor. Most of the time there will be no need for alarm, and there is a simple process of healing, but it is best to put those worries to rest after seeking a professional opinion.

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About the Author

Lori has written articles on health and fitness, alternative health and medicine and small business development over the last 20 plus years. She has a B.S. in Zoology and has had a number of professional licenses including: Securities broker, health and life insurance, mortgage broker and real estate. She has received training in hypnosis and NLP as well.

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