Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Armpit Lumps

May 7th 2016


Not all lumps in the armpit are considered serious health concerns and may indicate excess tissue stemming from the breast area or harmless fatty growths. However, armpit lumps can indicate that cysts or infection of the skin stemming from allergies, shaving or antiperspirants. Abscesses under the skin can also produce armpit lumps that are large and painful. Infections in the arm or breast infections may produce a lump in some patients in addition to chickenpox, shingles or mononucleosis. Vaccinations and reactions to certain medications may cause a lump to develop in the armpit as well. In severe cases, armpit lumps can indicate lymphoma, breast cancer or AIDS.


Patients with an armpit lump should have the lump evaluated by a medical professional to rule out potentially harmful, painful or life-threatening conditions from developing or progressing. Health care professionals will question patients about pain in the armpit area, any changes noticed on or near the lump and when the lump first appeared. Additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness or tenderness in the armpit area should be reported to a physician. A medical professional evaluates the armpit lump by gently pressing on the affected area, examining the body and if necessary, ordering blood or urine tests to determine if an infection exists. Patients with signs of a serious disease may need to undergo a biopsy to retrieve samples of the tissue to test further.


Treatment plans for armpit lumps are determined based on the underlying cause. Oral antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections causing armpit lumps to form whereas medication for allergies may be administered for patients suffering from a reaction that produces armpit lumps. Some patients may not require treatment, especially if a skin irritation or excess tissue is causing the lump. Home remedies may include over-the-counter pain relievers or application of a warm compress on the lump. Armpit lumps that are deemed cancerous tumors are treated based on the stage of the disease and the type of cancer. Cancer treatments often include radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery to remove the tumor.


Lumps in the armpit can affect both men and women at any age. Although lumps may not indicate a severe health condition, they should be evaluated by a medical professional to eliminate the possibility of an infection developing or a tumor. The diagnosis and treatment of armpit lumps depend on the cause, the age of the patient and the overall health condition.

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