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Found a small painful lump on my armpit. What could it be?

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Question - (26 May 2007) 39 Answers - (Newest, 6 January 2011)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

hi ive recently been having a pain under my arm that started like 2 days ago and ive just found a lump in my armpit. its small but painful if i press it. what could this be? i cant get a doctors appointment before i go on holiday in 2 days time and dont want to spend my whole holiday worrying about it.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (6 January 2011):

I'm 14. i have the smae thing, it may be a cyst, i saw on a site teenagers normally get it from when they start shaving, i've had mine for almost a year and it hasn't done anything, it just tingles when you sqeeze it.

you can have them removed but they are NOT serious and don't do anything. my brother is 20 now and has a liquid cyst in the middle of his back, our local doctor said it could be removed but wasn't really necesary it's only a pouch of tisue usually filled with air or liquid pus.

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A female reader, AnomynousA United Kingdom +, writes (2 January 2011):

Hi im 17 and i have just recently found one in the corner of my armpit its very painful and its not sweating or nothing on it its just an ordinary lump but im still concerned what it could be

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 July 2010):

The same is happened to me, I'm a fourteen year old girl and my mum is a doctor; when I asked her today, she says it's probably a little cyst or inflamed/infected oil gland or something - but it will go away by itself and is nothing to worry about. Well, mine isn't anyway and it sound exactly the same as yours... To anyone else reading this, if it doesn't go away within like a fortnight, I'd get it checked out.

Grace :) xxx

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A reader, anonymous, writes (11 July 2010):

Hi my name is rayvon, And I'm 14 and I seem to have the same problem but this is how it all happened I woke up one morning from sleeping on a very uncomfortable couch so I was sleeping very awkard but anyways I woke and I had a huge lump in my armpit and it hurt really bad it scared me to death I tiired everything I put ice on.!.!.! I even take I.b profen everday nothing happened I currently still have till this very day and very scared I don't recommend popping it because of the toxins can flow threw your body and possibly kill you if its something major

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 May 2010):

When I was 16 or 17, I found I had a lump located in my armpit. At first it was only slightly painful and figured it was nothing more than a rather large pimple, which was common for me. A week later that lump grew larger, more painful, and very warm to the touch. Soon it was too much to handle, day to day, and I found myself unable to make much use of the arm. The first thing I did was get it checked out at the local doc, who drained it somewhat (though with a needle... not fun) and prescribed some antibiotics.

Long story short, the infection came and went over the course of half a year and I eventually caved and went to the ER. After a bit of poking and prodding, they lanced it, prescribed antibiotics (and 400mg tablets of Ibuprofen for pain/swelling), and set me up with a follow-up appointment the following weekend. After that it was another week of draining the infected area; stuffing the wound with a long strip of gauze, changing it two or three times a day, and keeping the area dry. That weekend they did a quick operation to remove the infected tissue--and possibly the sweat gland--and then stitched it up. A week of Tylenol 5 and I haven't had it come back since... On that arm.

A couple of years later the infection came back, only this time in my left arm. I haven't had it removed yet and my health insurance ran out before I had a chance to do such. I've noticed it is indeed related to excessive sweating, so I try and keep myself away from strenuous activities but haven't been very successful. I intend on having the infection and the gland surgically removed ASAP and, if your doctor tells you it's an axillary abscess then you make sure to suggest the same course of action.

I realize the original poster may have long moved on, but if I've stumbled upon this then I'm sure others will too. Best of luck to any and all of you who find yourselves afflicted with the same.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 October 2009):

Those of you who have lumps coming up on a regular basis, sometimes when stressed, usually they are painful, can get warm to the touch, often burst with smelly pus, can leave holes in the skin, found in groin, armpits and under breasts - check out hidradenitis suppurativa. I have had it for 35 years and it took 20 years to get it diagnosed. Not a lot you can do about it. I've taken extra long antibiotic courses but it comes back. Just try and de-stress, soak in a hot bath, often, and ,something that sometimes helps me is tissue salts, silica,(silicon dioxide) which can be taken very often with no side effects.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (8 December 2008):

Hi, i'm gabriel.

i've been experiencing the same preoblem and have done in the past as well. it ususally clears up after a week or two but worth getting a doctor to check it out. most likely a lymph node which is a little organ(there are hundreds of them all over the body. they help filter toxins out of the bloodstream. here is some information on them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymph_node. drink plenty of of water and the swelling should go away withing a week or so.

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A female reader, Kikimama United States +, writes (29 November 2008):

Well I came looking on these sites trying to find out what was wrong I had the same thing. I had to go to the ER I was in too much pain. I was really scared and in tears because I have a history of breast cancer in the family. Mine had a white head over it and the doctor scraped off the white part and gave me anti biotics. So go to the doctors and get it checked. Even if you don't have the pimple you still need it looked at I went today and it's still a little painful so add hot compress

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A female reader, Kikimama United States +, writes (29 November 2008):

Well I came looking on these sites trying to find out what was wrong I had the same thing. I had to go to the ER I was in too much pain. I was really scared and in tears because I have a history of breast cancer in the family. Mine had a white head over it and the doctor scraped off the white part and gave me anti biotics. So go to the doctors and get it checked. Even if you don't have the pimple you still need it looked at I went today and it's still a little painful so add hot compress

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 July 2008):

Hi,

I've had a lump that goes red and painful then bursts with smelly puss like stuff and a little blood, which then leaves a small hole in the skin, every month or so for the past 10 years. Saw the Doc and was refered to the Hospital who checked it out and said it was a blocked sweat gland. Their advice without anti-biotics (I don't take them unless life or death!!!)was a very warm flannel on the area each night for about 5 mins. If I do that it clears up and does not return. Their other advice was to cauterise it but then it may return in another place!!! Unfortunately I stopped for a month and it returned!!! Best thing is to get it looked at as then you can sort it out and stop worrying as it is a worrying thing. Mind you, if you either A: cannot afford to see a Doctor or B: really do not want to go (though you really should) use the flannel method for a week and see what happens.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2008):

i had exactly the same thing. i found the lump 2 weeks ago and fretted over it for ages. i then went to the doctors and they told me that it was an ingrown hair follicle. they treat it with a simple course of antibiotics and everything should be ok. i really wouldnt worry but it is always best to get it checked out. i cried with relief but its worth knowing.

all the best

xx

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 June 2008):

I have suffered on and off with this problem for many years. Sometimes I have had three or four lumps in each armpit that are so painful I couldn't put my arms down by my sides. They seem to go as quickly as they appear and had usually disappeared by the time I got an appointment with the doctor. Eventually I just had to turn up at the surgery as one came up.

The doctors have never found a cause but they always seem to come up when I am suffering badly with stress. I actually have one now and am going through a really stressful time.

Although I would never put off having them examined I would also encourage anyone with one (or more) of these lumps not to think the worst as they are probably completely harmless

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 June 2008):

I have the samee thing and goggled the description and found this page and others like it. People are saying cancer does not feel sore to the touch and yes it does. So Im gonna worry also until I can get to the Doc.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 May 2008):

i have just found the same problem,

am only 16 so didnt think it could be breast cancer,

but i know it can happen any age, but i never really go to the dr's and i dont wana look silly if its nouthing

xxx

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2008):

Although I agree with what the person before me has said, I do not agree with the way she chose to let her opinion be known. Angry advice is rarely taken.

1. Set up an app with your Primary Care Physician (PCP). If you have insurance make sure that you see a General Practitioner (GP) in your network. Please do not rely on the advice from some website. Get seen by a doc.

2. Self-Breast Exam. No one is saying the "C" word, but when a lump is found, sweat gland/lymphatic node or not, conduct a self exam. You should be doing a self-breast exam monthly anyway.

3. Without being seen, you don't know if it is a swollen sweat gland or an irritated (Auxiliary) lymphatic node. Sweat gland problems are more common in active teens and adults. Sweat glands secrete fatty acids and minerals to aid the immune system and to help cool the body. It is not uncommon for the toxins to build and clog a sweat gland causes some discomfort and an increase in size. The main function of the lymph node is to trap infection and foreign material by acting like a sieve. You will find lymph nodes in clusters throughout the body, including the armpit. Lymphatic Nodes usually swell during and after an illness. I won't get too far into why they swell other than this is a detour pit stop so that your body can attach b and t cells to and infection or foreign bodies that may be present in your body.

4. SELF BREAST EXAM AND GO GET SEEN BY A DOCTOR right away. Your life is not worth risking a holiday for! Usually, both a swollen sweat gland and/or lymphatic node will decrease in size and tenderness in 2-4 weeks. I personally have had a swollen lymphatic node under the arm, although not pleasant, it’s not serious. Little less than a month and the swelling had dropped significantly.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 April 2008):

that stupid man who replied to you. yes CANCER DOES DEVELOPE IN THE ARMPIT!!!! read a medical book!!! don't send replies to subjects that you don't have a clue about!

honey go to the doctors and get it checked out, could be a blocked sweat gland, maybe something more sinister. not something to run away from, you check your breasts and you know why! don't delay. GOOD LUCK.XX

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (24 February 2008):

Sounds like a Blocked Sweat Gland, is there even a cancer that would develop in your armpit?!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (4 February 2008):

have the same problem appear whenever i use anti perperant deodrant and then do sport. blatently caused by blocked sweat glands.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 September 2007):

i have the same problem at present,i have been told if it hurts its not cancerous.

I think mine is from shaving so often as i am called a german if i dont ha ha.

go on holiday dont worry and enjoy yourself,its prob where you shaved to close,if it gets bigger then panic if it dont/ THEN hey stop panicking.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 June 2007):

Oh wow I have a really close friend with that had the samething she waited awhile before she went to the doctors.I aint trying to scare you but it was breast cancer.I know under the armpit it sounds dumb to be breast cancer but it was.She had surgury and kemo to get rid of it but it came back and now she is dying.She has about 2 months or so to live.Please get it checked as soon as possiable.Let me know what happenOh" by the way my name is Amanda...

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A female reader, Pork Hock Canada +, writes (6 June 2007):

I don't know how anonymous can state that nobody really knows what they are talking about on this site? For goodness sakes, past personal experience and knowing what and how things feel is paramount so stop passing comment on something you've never experienced. People like you anger me because you generalise and you clearly have no medical background or personal experience - like I do.

Go and see a doctor straight away.

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A female reader, Pork Hock Canada +, writes (6 June 2007):

I don't know how anonymous can state that nobody really knows what they are talking about on this site? For goodness sakes, past personal experience and knowing what and how things feel is paramount so stop passing comment on something you've never experienced. People like you anger me because you generalise and you clearly have no medical background or personal experience - like I do.

Go and see a doctor straight away.

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A female reader, cuttieicy Philippines +, writes (3 June 2007):

cuttieicy agony auntbetter see a doctor

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A female reader, lucygirl United States +, writes (27 May 2007):

it might be nothing, but doctors have found that breast cancer can go all the way into the armpit, so that is a possibility. go to the doctor soon just to make sure. i hope everything turns out ok!

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A female reader, candy00s United Kingdom +, writes (27 May 2007):

candy00s agony auntGo and see a doctor as soon as you can.

It might be harmless however its best to get it checked out as soon as you can.

put your mind at rest.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 May 2007):

Most likely a blocked sweat gland. Hold a warm wet compress on it or take a few steamy showers. These can be painful. Avoid deodorants for a few days too. Also could be a cyst. If you are worried about cancer, you really shouldnt. Those lump generally are not tender to the touch and appear in a day or two.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 May 2007):

hey.

this could be anything. no body on here can really telll you. you need to go to the doctors A.S.A.P. and if you cant get into the doctors then go to the emergency hosital.

hope this helped xx good luck

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 May 2007):

it could be a boil because u can get them anywhere on ur body

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A male reader, Peterk5699 United Kingdom +, writes (26 May 2007):

Peterk5699 agony auntI agree with most of the below. Could be a cyst or maybe even just a spot. I once had a big lump that sounds similar. I wouldn't recommend squeezing it though unless you want a red mirror.

Nah, I wouldn't worry about it. It's probably just a cyst or blocked gland. Nothing to go insane over.

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A female reader, Cateyes United States +, writes (26 May 2007):

Cateyes agony auntIt could be various things...my first thought though is a blocked sweat gland. This is common in many people. However, I would not let it mess up your weekend, but as soon as you can make it to a doctor's appt, let them check it out. Always to be better safe then sorry!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 May 2007):

Almost certainly a cyst given location, but your doctor will be able to diagnose.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 May 2007):

its probably deoderant that is in a pore-you were probably sweating or something and the deoderant got into an open pore its nothing to worry about at all. I highly doubt its cancerous lol so dont panic

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A female reader, DrPsych United Kingdom +, writes (26 May 2007):

DrPsych agony auntIt could be a whole host of innocent and not-so-innocent problems. You have lymph glands in your armpits that swell when you are unwell or have an infection. You can pop into A&E before your holiday or request an emergency appt. with your GP.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 May 2007):

It's a gland lol, I had the same and went to the docs, and throughout the years it sometimes becomes painful and tender but usually subsides after a few days, probably hormonal changes, but nothing to worry about. Go to docs for reassurance if you like as always best to. I also had a lump behind my knee a few years ago, went to docs and it turned out to be a fatty tissue deposit lol he said it would disperse on its own and it has. Most lumps and bumps are nothing to worry about, but best to get them checked by a professional.

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A female reader, Pork Hock Canada +, writes (26 May 2007):

There is no sense worrying about this painful lump? Rarely hurt in the beginning? A cyst I am sure it is.... But yes they do and you do notice lumps/bumps and they can appear and be painful or be an obvious part you notice. It is with great alacrity that Rhythm and Blues seems to make her prognosis? I won't go into your affirmation of your opinion in this response, but it has angered me. Please email me privately.

Take it from someone who knows...I agree no one will be able to give you professional advice from this website unless qualified, but even then, seek a second opinion. I am not frightening you. I've had breasts that were seen as lumpy all my life and I've ensured that whomever I have been examined by have done blood tests and an ultrasound test. I have tested negative for a genetic gene. Do me a favour, go the whole mile and eliminate everything. Please it is worth the worry and sheer dread of fearing the worse...Be smart and look after yourself.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 May 2007):

There is no sense worrying about this painful lump. Serious conditions like cancer, lukemia, etc, rarely hurt in the beginning. More than likely it is a cyst, caused by a bacterial infection in the skin....wait until you see the doctor for a proper diagnosis, no one on this site will be able to give you the answer that you seek, but until you see a doctor, do not stress!

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A female reader, Confused_Kitty Canada +, writes (26 May 2007):

Confused_Kitty agony auntIt could be a blocked sweat gland. Of course, it could be the unspeakable but that isn't usually painful. Stop touching it and wait to see your doctor. There is no point in worrying about it right now. No point but hard to do I know. Ask your doctor for an immediate scan, X-ray or CT. If you are truly scared, then go to Emergency. They will see you because it's painful. It might help if you really complain about the pain while visiting Emerg, even if it only hurts when you touch it. It's sneaky but they'll be more likely to see you and give you an interim diagnosis. So, in the meantime, stop touching it!! I'll hold a good thought for you.

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A female reader, Pork Hock Canada +, writes (26 May 2007):

Hi, My advice is that you walk into your local ER and tell them you have a unknown painful lump under your arm. As you an adolescent and you are presenting with an issue that is only considered by ER doctors as a 'non-emergency case', tell them you aren't leaving until you've had the following:

1.) Ultrasound scan of the lump NOT X-RAY

2.) biopsy (fine needle)

3.) Blood tests - full biochemistry, immunology

You will wait a long time but PLEASE do not forgoe or get fed up with waiting. Ask for exactly the above and be absolutely adamant. I am not trying to scare you but asking for the right tests, asking the right questions is key.

Before you go anywhere do me a favour and spend the day before your holiday in the ER and ask for the above...hope I've helped.

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A male reader, DV1 United States +, writes (26 May 2007):

DV1 agony auntIt could be a growth. Wait the two days, and check it out. Don't think about it until then.

DV1

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