Most of the time, the lump in the armpit is something not worrisome and easy to solve, so it is no reason to be alarmed. Some of the most common causes include the boil, inflammation of a hair follicle or sweat gland, or an enlarged lymph node, also known as lymph node.
However, in some cases, it may also indicate dermatological changes, such as suputive hydrosadenitis, and only in rarer cases may indicate serious diseases such as immunological, infectious or even cancer, which is only suspected when nodules appear that grow over time or that are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, weight loss, and night sweat.
To identify the cause of a lump in the armpit, it is recommended to seek a dermatologist, general practitioner or family doctor, for clinical evaluation and, if necessary, the request for tests that help determine the change.
Folliculitis is inflammation of hair follicles, which can be by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection of the region, or even arise when the hair is ingrown. It can cause one or more small pimples, which can be painful, reddish or yellowish due to the presence of pus, and cause itching.
What to do: after evaluation of the region by the doctor and observation of the severity of the injury, he may indicate anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce discomfort and antibiotics to fight the infection, which can be in ointment or tablet. It may also be indicated to avoid scraping the skin until inflammation improves.
To prevent folliculitis, it is indicated to keep the skin always clean, dry and hydrated.
The boil is also caused by the infection of the hair follicle, however, it is deeper and causes inflammation of the surrounding area, causing a larger lump, more reddish and with production of large amounts of pus.
What to do: it is necessary to seek medical help to assess the region and indicate whether the boil should be drained. You can also guide antibiotics in ointment or tablet, as well as warm water compresses to speed up recovery.
During the treatment of the boil, and to prevent new infections, it may be indicated to use antiseptic soap, wash with soap and water daily and after bursting, in addition to washing with boiling water clothes that are in contact with the region.
3. Suputive hydrosadenitis
Suputive hydrosadenitis of the armpit is the inflammation of the glands that produce sweat in this region, causing the blockage of sweat passage out of the gland and the formation of painful lumps and leaving scars on the skin.
What to do: it is necessary the evaluation of the dermatologist, who will indicate treatments to decrease the symptoms of the affected region, such as antibiotic creams or corticosteroid injection in the affected region. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the affected area and replace it with a graft.
Keeping the region clean, avoiding wearing tight clothing and making warm compresses in the region can also help with treatment.
4. Sebaceous cyst
The sebaceous cyst is a type of lump that arises under the skin, and that contains the accumulation of sebum, and can arise anywhere in the body. Generally, it is not painful, except when it is inflamed or infected, when it can become sore, hot and reddish.
What to do: treatment is indicated by the dermatologist, and consists of performing warm water compresses and use of anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, minor surgery may be required to remove the cyst.
5. Lymph node
lymph node is the enlarged lymph node, which may arise due to any inflammation or infection of the arm, chest, or breast region. This is because the lymph node is part of the immune system, and can increase in size to produce more defense cells, to attack any germ that may bring problems to the body.
Most often the lymph node is not worrisome, and can arise for various causes, such as an ingrown hair, folliculitis, boil, lymphadenitis, but can also indicate a systemic disease such as autoimmune disease or cancer, especially when they grow too much or are located in various parts of the body.
The main causes include:
- Inflammation or infections of hair follicles;
- Infections, such as sporotrichosis, brucellosis, cat scratch disease, ganglion tuberculosis, among others;
- Autoimmune disease, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis or sarcoidosis, for example;
- Cancer, such as breast cancer, lymphoma or leukemia.
Some signs that may indicate that the lymph node is worrisome are growing more than 2.5 cm, having hard consistency, adhered to deep tissues and not moving, persisting for more than 30 days, being accompanied by symptoms such as fever, weight loss or night sweat or when it arises in various places of the body.
What to do: usually, the lymph node disappears alone after a few days or weeks of resolved inflammation. The doctor’s observation may assess whether it is really a lymph node and whether more tests are needed to investigate the cause.