This is a common problem. We’re probably all found a lump in our armpit at some point, and that should not cause you much anxiety. Here we will explain what steps you should take the moment you find the next one.
What can cause a lump to form in the armpit?
Eighty percent of cases are normal and should not cause any problems. The first thing you should do when you find one of these lumps is not to be afraid, because it is probably due to a type of furunculosis. And what is furunculosis, you may ask? Here are some basic guidelines for understanding this concept:
The most common cause of a lump in the armpit: furunculosis
The most common cause of the formation of a lump in the armpit is furunculosis. This is simply an inflamed hair follicle. It is painful and can be scary when discovered. It is usually due to an infection of a sweat gland caused by an ingrown hair. When sweat cannot escape the hair follicle, bacteria accumulate quite quickly. Larger or smaller lumps can result.
Although harmless, this can be very annoying. Sometimes it goes away on its own, but other times very serious cysts form that require proper treatment. A doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics to protect against a staphylococcal infection. However, if this does not resolve it, more will be needed to remove the cyst.
What can you do to prevent these cysts from forming under your arms?
Unfortunately, some people are just more exposed to them than others, and if you’ve had them once, they will most likely reappear.
There are some antiseptic creams that can help slow down their formation, but the best solution is to be extra careful with hair removal methods – especially shaving. When you shave, you run the risk of these small pests appearing, because the hair can get caught in the hair follicle.
Try washing and peeling the skin under the arms first to open the pores. Do not use aggressive chemical deodorants as they may damage this sensitive area.
In general, this is the most common cause of a lump in this area.
The second most common cause: swollen lymph node
Do not be afraid. Inflammation of a lymph node is known as lymphadenitis. As you are probably aware, there are many lymph vessels under the arm, which move the lymph fluid through the blood to cleanse and filter. This helps the body fight infections.
Sometimes, when our defenses are weakened or we have contracted a virus, our lymph nodes can become inflamed or swollen. Hence a lump in the armpit. Lymphadenitis can especially occur after skin infections or other bacterial infections.
So what do you do when you find out you have a swollen lymph node? Well, the first step you should take is to take a small analysis of the lymph fluid to determine the cause of the inflammation and any bacteria that are present. This is done by drawing some fluid out of the gland. The area may be a bit numb so this procedure is not painful.
Your results will tell you what caused the inflammation and indicate what treatment you should follow to solve the problem.
Cause number three: lymphoma
This is a possibility. When you find a lump in the armpit, there is a small chance that the cause of an inflamed lymph node is due to lymphoma. Among the types of lymphoma are “non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” and “Hodgkin’s lymphoma”. These are both types of cancer, and the treatments are very effective. Survival of non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphomas is 90% and 70%, respectively. Both types of lymphoma are generated by a type of white blood cell called B lymphocytes (or B cells), and this is how doctors test to find out if anyone has one of these diseases.
This type of cancer requires several sessions of chemotherapy, but of course each person is unique, and not everyone will require the same number of sessions or the same length of recovery time. Today, there are many advances in the science of cancer, and we must remember to have hope – this is a disease that requires a lot of personal effort, courage and support from family and friends. You can overcome it.
How do I know if my lump is due to furunculosis or lymphoma?
The first thing you need to do is stay calm and not stress yourself out. When you find a lump under your arm, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Lymphomas are also commonly associated with a low- grade fever, difficulty sleeping, night sweats and weight loss.
However, because you may not have any of these other symptoms, see your doctor first. And do not worry – most cases are due to the formation of a simple cyst.
It is best to find out to be completely safe by going to your doctor. And do not worry, most cases are caused by a simple cyst caused by a hair follicle.