Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped structures which are present within a capsule of connective tissues. They are a part of the lymphatic system and found throughout the body, particularly in the groin, the armpits, and either side of the neck. The lymph nodes perform the important function of filtering the lymphatic fluid, as well as capturing viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms travelling across the body via the lymph fluid. Therefore, they are an essential component of the immune system and responsible for guarding the body against diseases and infections.
Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit refer to enlargement, inflammation, or swelling of the lymph nodes occurring in the armpit. These nodes are also called axillary lymph nodes. The nodes are not palpable and cannot be felt. However, under certain situations they can become swollen, leading to increased tenderness and pain. Most cases of swollen lymph nodes in the armpit are caused due to minor reasons, and the condition generally resolves in due course of time. However, swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can also be caused due to injuries, infections, or severe underlying conditions like cancer. It is therefore important for all patients to consult a doctor whenever they experience swollen lymph nodes armpit.
Causes of swollen lymph node in the armpit
Bacterial infections: One of the major causes of swollen lymph nodes armpit is infection by various bacteria like streptococci, salmonella, E coli,and staphylococci. Bacterial infections can affect the performance of the lymph nodes, thereby resulting in enlarged armpit lymph nodes.
Hyperthyroidism:Another cause of swollen lymph nodes armpit is hyperthyroidism. It is a disorder which is caused due to excessive production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. The condition may be caused due to increased iodine intake, thyroid gland enlargement, or presence of certain disorders like adenoma, Graves’ disease, etc. In addition to swollen lymph nodes armpit, the patient may also experience irregular heartbeat, fever, fatigue, weakness, sweating, etc.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can also be a symptom of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that affects the immune system. The tumors of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma form in lymphocytes. Lymph nodes are a component of the lymphatic system which is a part of the immune system. Thus, the cancer results in swollen armpit lymph nodes, and other symptoms like pain in the abdomen, etc.
Connective Tissue Disease: Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can also be caused due to deterioration of connective tissue, or presence of connective tissue disease.
Other causes of swollen lymph nodes armpit: Reactions to some medications, glycogen storage disorders, allergies, Kawasaki disease, certain kinds of arthritis, and sarcoidosis can also result in enlarged armpit lymph nodes. Hormonal changes occurring in the body during pregnancy is another possible cause.
Treatment of swollen lymph nodes in the armpit
Cases of swollen lymph nodes in armpits are treated as per the underlying causes. In a few instances, the condition resolves on its own after a week or two. However, swollen lymph nodes armpit caused due to infections, cancer, etc. have to be treated with medications and other treatment methods.