Swollen Lymph Nodes in Armpits: Common Causes, Treatment, and Home Remedies

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Swollen Lymph Nodes in ArmpitsYou’ve woken up, stepped into the shower, and noticed what appears to be “armpit lumps.” Does this mean you have cancer or some other major health issue? Is there anything that can be done about it? The truth is that you’re probably suffering from swollen lymph nodes in armpits. As to what causes them, a great many things. But don’t worry; we’ve got a beginner’s guide for swollen lymph nodes. We’ll cover swollen lymph node in the armpits causes, how swollen lymph nodes are diagnosed, swollen lymph node in the armpits symptoms, and swollen lymph node in the armpits home remedies. By the time we’re done, we hope you will be armed with enough knowledge about armpit lumps to benefit your health.

Cause of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Armpits

Swollen lymph nodes in armpit can develop for a number of different reasons—some of which have heavier consequences for your health than others.

1. Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease, also known as cat scratch fever, is when Bartonella henselae, a bacterium that is carried by cats, is introduced to humans through a scratch or bite from a cat. It can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, and the swelling of the lymph nodes.

2. Injury

Injury to areas such as the armpit, hand, or arm can lead to swollen lymph nodes.

3. Cancer

Unfortunately, there are multiple forms of cancer that can cause swollen lymph nodes. Breast, melanoma, and lymphoma cancers can all cause the lymph nodes to become swollen.

4. Brucellosis

Brucellosis (which is also referred to as Malta fever, undulant fever, and Mediterranean fever) is a bacterial infection that is usually found within animals but transmitted to humans via contact or contact with infected animal products (milk, meat, etc.).

5. Silicone Implants

Silicone implants can cause swollen lymph nodes for a few different reasons. The body can have a reaction to the foreign item that causes swelling, and a leaking implant could produce a similar effect.

6. Allergic Reaction

The swollen lymph nodes can be caused by an allergic reaction to something. The most likely culprits tend to be deodorants, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.

7. Viruses

There are several viruses that can cause swollen lymph nodes in armpits like the measles, chicken pox, shingles, mono, mumps, and HIV/AIDS.

As you can see by the above causes, there are many things that can cause swollen lymph nodes, which makes self-diagnosis difficult. Luckily, a doctor may be able to identify the cause of your swollen lymph nodes and a course of treatment can begin.

Diagnosing Swollen Lymph Nodes in Armpits

The doctor will first go through your recent medical history to determine a diagnosis. This allows the doctor to rule in what may have caused the swollen lymph nodes as well as to rule out other causes so time isn’t wasted. A discussion about the lump itself will likely follow (i.e. How long has the lump been under the arm? Has there been a noticeable change in the size of the lump?) Finally, a physical examination will take place to determine whether the lymph nodes or something else that has swelled in the armpit. Once a diagnosis is made, armpit lumps treatment can begin.

Treating Swollen Lymph Nodes in Armpits

Swollen lymph node in armpits treatment options, in a medical sense, depend on the source of your discomfort. If the swollen lymph nodes are caused by a bacterial infection or virus, your physician will more than likely prescribe medication such as antibiotics to eliminate the invader. Once the bacteria or virus is cleared out, the lymph nodes will probably return to their original size. If cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be performed for verification. If cancer is confirmed, cancer treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and possible surgery may be suggested depending on the type of cancer and how bad it has become. However, if it is not cancer, there are a few home remedies that may be able to help you with your swollen lymph nodes.

Simple Home Remedies You Can Try

While many of the reasons behind swollen lymph nodes are not to be taken lightly and should be addressed with medical treatment, the non-cancerous causes for swollen lymph nodes may be treated or even relieved by some armpit lumps home remedies. In conjunction with medical treatment, these home remedies may be able to speed up the process of shrinking swollen lymph nodes.

1. Massage

A simple hand massage can help stimulate the swollen lymph nodes to function properly. If this is successful, the swelling may begin to subside.

2. Warm compress

A warm compress can help increase blood circulation, which in turn can help reduce the swelling of lymph nodes. Take a cloth and dip it into warm water. Wring out the excess water and place the warm cloth onto the swollen area for five to 10 minutes. Repeat this process a few times a day for a few days.

3. Garlic

One of the easiest methods you can try to reduce the swelling of a lymph node is eating garlic. Garlic has some anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling. Eat two to three cloves of raw garlic (or a garlic supplement) to help with the swelling, or you could also massage the swollen area with garlic oil for a few minutes, two to three times a day.

4. Apple cider vinegar

A home remedy mainstay, apple cider vinegar may also be able to help reduce the swelling of lymph nodes. Take equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and soak a cloth in the mixture. Rub the cloth on the swollen area and leave it for five or six minutes before you wipe off the concoction. You can also drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (feel free to mix it with a little honey and water) to try and help reduce the swelling.

5. Honey

Natural honey has many anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling in the lymph nodes. The easiest method for shrinking swollen lymph nodes is to just apply the honey to the swollen area. Let the honey sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with a warm cloth. The alternative is to take one or two tablespoons of honey and mix it with some fresh lemon juice and drink the mixture.

These home remedies could potentially reduce swelling in lymph nodes, but it should be stressed that this is for certain mild causes of swollen lymph nodes. These remedies are not cures for cancer and should not be treated as such.

If You Have Swollen Lymph Nodes, Be Careful

Swollen lymph nodes in your armpits may be nothing, but there is always a chance that it is the symptom of a much larger and more severe issue. Hopefully, this guide has given you a few ideas on what to look for when those underarm lymph nodes become swollen, and how you may be able to treat them with home remedies until full a medical diagnosis and treatment is available. Just make sure that you do not ignore the swelling or lumps in your armpits as it may have disastrous results for your health.



Sources:
Dr. Chris, “Causes of Swollen Armpit Lymph Nodes,” Health Hype; http://www.healthhype.com/causes-of-swollen-armpit-lymph-nodes.html, last accessed May 17, 2017.
“Swollen Lymph Nodes,” WebMD; http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/swollen-lymph-nodes-topic-overview#1, last accessed May 17, 2017.
Kim, S., “Armpit Lump,” Healthline, August 24, 2015; http://www.healthline.com/health/armpit-lump?m=0#overview1, last accessed May 17, 2017.
“How to Treat Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Armpit,” Symptomfind, May 7th 2016; https://www.symptomfind.com/health/how-to-treat-swollen-lymph-nodes-in-the-armpit/, last accessed May 17, 2017.
“Home Remedies for Swollen Lymph Nodes,” Top 10 Home Remedies; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-swollen-lymph-nodes.html, last accessed May 17, 2017.




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Brent Chittenden

About the Author, Browse Brent's Articles

Up until the end of 2016, Brent Chittenden had been a freelance researcher and writer, writing about everything from entertainment—including pro wrestling and stand-up comedy—to health and nutrition, to culture and lifestyle. In 2017, he joined the Doctors Health Press full time and couldn’t be happier about it. With a graduate certificate in Radio and Broadcasting, Brent brings extensive experience as a communicator and researcher, adding to the many talented health authorities and professionals on whose expertise Doctors Health Press... Read Full Bio »