Causes of Swollen Armpit Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes of the armpit are known as the axillary lymph nodes. They are usually not palpable (felt by touch) but may sometimes become swollen, hard and/or painful. This can arise from a host of possible causes ranging from minor injuries to infections and even cancer. Apart from the armpit itself, disorders or diseases of surrounding organs may also cause axillary lymph node swelling.

Anatomy of the Axilla (Armpit)

Lymph nodes are small, round or oval glands that are found all over the body and form part of the lymphatic system,. They are an integral part of the immune system. It helps the body to fight against infections while removing interstitial (tissue) fluid and returning it to the blood stream. The lymph nodes act as filters to trap and destroy bacteria, viruses and other harmful substances that enter the body.

Normally the lymph nodes are not palpable but may enlarge as a result of some disorder or disease. The lymph nodes of the axilla (armpit), inguinal region (groin), and neck tend to enlarge more frequently than other areas. Localized lymphadenopathy, where the lymph nodes of a single area are affected, may also be accompanied by lymph node swelling elsewhere. If this occurs, then it is considered as generalized lymphadenopathy and the cause of the swelling may likely be a systemic factor.

The central area of the armpit is surrounded by four walls :

  • an outer (lateral) wall formed by the arm.
  • inner (medial) wall formed by the chest (thorax).
  • front (anterior) wall made up by the pectoralis major muscle.
  • back (posterior) wall made up by the subscapularis, teres major and latissimus dorsi muscle

There are five groups of lymph nodes in the axilla associated with each area – the central, lateral, medial, anterior and posterior groups of lymph nodes.

Hard, Firm or Painful Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes that are swollen due to infections tend to be firm and painful. Enlarged lymph nodes due to cancer are usually firm or hard in consistency, fixed (not freely mobile), usually not painful, and may be matted (stuck to each other). They may also increase in size over time.

In some cases the lymph nodes may be felt, without the presence of any disease, but are usually small (less than 1 cm in size), soft and painless lumps.

Cysts and abscesses under the skin in the armpit may produce lumps which could be mistaken for enlarged lymph nodes.

Causes of Enlarged Axillary (Armpit) Lymph Nodes

Local Causes

One or more lymph nodes in one or both axilla (armpit) may become swollen commonly due to :

  • Injury to the armpit, arm or hand.
  • Localized infection in the armpit or of the arm, hand or breast, which drains into the axillary lymph nodes.
  • Cat scratch disease is an illness which is caused by the scratch or bite of an infected cat. Cats act as carriers of the bacterium Bartonella henselae which causes cat scratch disease although cats do not suffer from the disease themselves. There may be generalized symptoms of fever, headache, loss of appetite and fatigue along with lymph node swellings, especially of the head, neck and axilla. Cat scratch disease normally resolves on its own without any specific treatment. However the infection may be more debilitating in persons who are immunocompromised like in  HIV/AIDS patients or those on chemotherapy for cancer.
  • Tumor in or near the lymph node.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Breast cancer may cause swollen axillary lymph nodes since the lymph vessels of the breast drain into the lymph nodes of the armpit. These nodes become enlarged when cancer cells spread beyond the breast tissue. The condition of the axillary lymph nodes is very important for staging of breast cancer which can help to determine the prognosis and clinical course of the disease, as well as indicate the best treatment option. Axillary lymph node status may be taken as the single most important factor which helps to determine the prognosis and  survival rate of patients with breast cancer.
  • Melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. It may metastasize (spread) to the nearby lymph nodes.
  • Brucellosis is also known as Undulant fever, Malta fever and Mediterranean fever. This disease is caused by the different strains of the Brucella bacteria which may infect animals such as goats, cows, pigs and dogs. It is spread to humans coming in contact with infected animals, eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products. Flu-like symptoms may be present such as fever, headache, backache, joint pain, chills, fatigue and poor appetite. Muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes (including axillary lymph nodes) may be associated with this disease. Brucellosis may present as an acute infection or it may become chronic and can persist for years.
  • Perfumes, deodorants and certain cosmetic procedures like hair removal from the armpit may also cause an allergy or inflammation in the area with or without enlargement of the surrounding lymph nodes. Contact dermatitis, folliculitis or an armpit fungus may also develop on the skin of the axilla and cause swollen armpit lymph nodes.

Systemic Causes

Systemic causes of lymph node enlargement may be involved in causing swelling of the axillary lymph nodes before more generalized lymph node involvement becomes apparent.

These causes of axillary lymph node enlargement may include :

Viral

  • Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus) which produces symptoms of fever, sore throat and fatigue as well as enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – similar symptoms as mononucleosis.
  • Chicken pox (varicella).
  • Herpes zoster (shingles).
  • Measles.
  • Rubella (German measles).
  • Mumps.
  • HIV/AIDS.

Bacterial

  • Cat scratch disease.
  • Lymphadenitis – infection of the lymph nodes, which may be result as a complication of certain bacterial infections.
  • Ascending lymphangitis.
  • Tuberculosis.

Fungal

  • Sporotrichosis is a chronic skin infection caused by a certain type of fungus found in vegetations such as rose bushes and briars. Small, painless, red lumps appear following an injury, usually on the hands or arms, and may go on to involve the lymph nodes.

Side effects of vaccinations

  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination.
  • Typhoid vaccination.
  • Small pox vaccination.

Malignancy

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer of the lymph tissue present in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow and other sites. It initially starts in a single lymph node , spreads to nearby lymph nodes and then to other organs such as the spleen, liver and bone marrow. Painless lymph node swelling of the axilla, neck or groin may be accompanied by fever, chills, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, itching and various other symptoms.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Leukemia.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Melanoma.

Other causes

  • Allergic reaction to sulfur (sulphur) drugs, penicillin or iodine.

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

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  • Jennifer

    I’m 18 years old. I’m not overweight, I don’t eat fast food a lot, and I exercise regularly. I feel soft swollen lymph nodes in my neck and on my left armpit. I have recently discovered that I have social anxiety disorder and has caused me to have shortness of breath, heart palpitations (in neck as well), muscle twitches, and eye twitches. Sometimes, I even cough when I’m done eating certain things. I have had at least 4 panic attacks so far which included me shaking uncontrollably. I don’t feel pain with these swollen lymph nodes but they are annoying because I’m so afraid. I feel so alone. I’m going to see a medical counselor about this on September 2nd. If I should get medication, will these swells go away for good?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jennifer

      Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of many other underlying problems like an infection (common) or even cancer (rare). Sometimes temporary swelling may occur with no clear cut cause but should quickly go away. So there is no way to prescribe medication for it without identifying the cause. You need to be examined by a doctor and further tests may be necessary before a diagnosis can be reached. Refer to these articles for a list of possible causes :
      Swollen Neck Lymph Nodes
      Swollen Armpit Lymph Nodes

  • erimae24@yahoo.com

    I’m having issues with cintinuous staph infections in my lymph nodes of my armpits they go away and come back I don’t know what to do or what could be causing it

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Erimae24

      You should see a doctor about this. Do not assume it is a staph infection unless a doctor has told you so and has taken a swab or scraping of the skin in the area or done a fine needle aspiration of the lymph node and sent it for laboratory assessment. The causes may vary. This could be related to a secondary infection of a skin rash in the area. Swelling of the lymph nodes can also be related to pathology within neighboring structures like the breast. Speak to your doctor about your problem if you have not already doe so. Further tests and investigations are necessary because antibiotics should have cleared up the infection.

  • Amel

    Hi,
    Im a 35 yrs old and i breastfeed my 16 month old and in my physical exam I was just told I have swollen lymph nodes in my right armpit. I really never noticed but when the dr felt it it did hurt a little. The dr said to do testings- mammogram and chest X-ray. Do I have to wait to wean my daughter? And could it be caused from breastfeeding too? Also I’m feeling a little nubness in my right hand, any relation?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Amel

      Yes it can be caused by breastfeeding. One of the possible causes is mastitis which is a breast infection that often arises in breastfeeding. You should speak to your doctor about your weaning concerns but it should not be a problem once off. Numbness is unlikely related unless the cause of the lymph node swelling is also affecting the nerves of the hand.

  • Shawn

    Hi, I am a 30 y/o male, in the military so I am very healthy, I weightlift 5 days a week and do cardio 3 days a week. My diet is a very healthy, high protein diet. About three days ago I felt a large lump in my armpit, about an inch or so in circumference. It wasnt painful at first but in the last day or so it has become sore. None of my other lymphnodes are swollen and I have no symptoms whatsoever of being sick. The lump is not hard, its ….squishy for lack of a better word. I am assuming I should see my doctor

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Shawn

      Yes, you most definitely need to see a doctor. Without other signs and symptoms, its difficult to even give you a possible indication of what may be causing this. Despite the lack of symptoms, your doctor may be able to detect other important clinical features that you are not able to identify, which may give some indication of the causative condition.

  • Stephen

    I’m 25 year old male, in what I would consider good health. After work I noticed a lump in my left armpit while taking off my shirt. It’s slightly sore but the gland feels a bit swollen. Is this commonly a minor issue and could this be caused by physical injury, only affecting one arm?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Stephen

      It is unlikely a physical injury would have caused this without some clear sign of trauma on the skin surface (armpit skin). Infections are a more likely cause, either local or surrounding areas, but it can occur with no known cause for short periods of time. If it is persists past a day or so or gets worse, you should see a doctor. Take note of other signs and symptoms that may have appeared around the same time even if these conditions seem unrelated. You will need to report this to your doctor.

  • Anni36

    Hi, I am a 28 year old woman without children so the breastfeeding and related issues can be ignored here. I have a swollen underarm lymph node and have had an itchy rash (not red) over my face, neck and upper arms for the past 2 months. My doctor gave me cortisone with a starting dosage of 6 pills. It isn’t really helping. Only the itching is better temporary for as long as the cortisone is working. I have lost 10 kg in the past 6 months. I usually see the weight difference at the end of my menstruation cycle but I didn’t change any of my eating habits in this time. I am still in a healthy weight range but I don’t know why I keep losing weight. I have also noticed increasing headaches. Only on 1 side of my head at its worst behind my eye. Most of these headaches are on the same side than the swollen lymph node. Should I be worried? Is there anything else I should be on the lookout for or should I ask my doctor for any specific tests?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer this.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Anni36

      Unintentional weight loss with all these symptom may be a cause for concern. You should speak to your doctor soon. It may not be serious but nevertheless you cannot be sure unless you undergo the necessary tests. Your doctor may consider a complete blood count/full blood count as a starting point. This will help to indicate an infectious, autoimmune cause and so on. A mammogram is necessary as well. You say there are other related issues and this may also be relevant to your current symptoms even if you do not think so. Your doctor will able to advise you further. An HIV test is necessary given your symptoms.

    • Ash711

      Have you heard anything about your diagnosis? I am having the same issues.

  • Lisa

    29 year old female. I’ve nursed two children. Noticed a non fixed semifirm/squishy armpit lymph node during a self exam. I sometimes get pangs of discormfort that radiate down my left arm into my hand. I’ve had an ultrasound done to determine the node and several others are plugged. They’ve been this way for about 8 years since I discovered the largest one (about 1 inch in size). Should I have this further looked at or a biopsy performed? They haven’t gotten any larger but I do find the pangs of pain to be annoying.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Lisa

      Yes, a biopsy is definitely recommended even though it may not have grown. This may be contributing to the pain although there could be other unrelated conditions that are also a factor to consider here. The logical step would be to first investigate these nodes and then consider other causes.

  • brandon

    Hello, my name is Brandon! Recently a lump appeared in my left armpit! At first it was soft to the touch, then after ignoring it for a couple of weeks it burst and leaked a cloudy puss! It is still leaking daily but not as much! There are also a couple other lumps that are slightly sensitive to the touch! What is wrong??

  • megan

    I am a 23 y/o female with a painful soft lump in left armpit. It’s not hard or a defined lump. I’m not sure how long its been there but the last few months the pain got worse and it has gotten slightly bigger. Any ideas?

  • Prabhat Maheshwari

    Hi,

    I am 26 year old female. I was having some discomfort in my throat while eating etc and mild fever. I was taking some antibiotics earlier thinking it to be tonsils. However when It didn’t improved, I met a doctor who asked me to get a sonography of my throat. The reports says as follows-

    1. Diffuse enlargement of thyroid
    2. Enlarged left level 3 lymph node
    3. Multiple subcentimeter pretracheal lymph nodes
    Can you please help me understand the exact problem, solution and way forward. Also I am waiting for my thyroid blood report.

    • Hi Prabhat. You need to discuss your report with your doctor who order this ultrasound of your throat. He/she will be in a better position to explain it to you. Information on the internet can be helpful and misleading as well. Enlargement of the entire thyroid gland in this way can occur for several reasons. The way the thyroid activity has been changed will only be clear once your blood report is available.

  • Jerry

    I’m 90 years old, Had trouble swallowing, Lymph nodes in my throat have been enlarged,
    most recent pain has been in my left armpit, feels like it may be lymph node, not constant
    pain. I had shingles 5 years ago, still have the nerve pains on the left side on occasions

    Any recommendations for treatment?

    • Hi Jerry. It is difficult tor recommend any course of action without a definitive diagnosis. The possibilities can vary from an acute throat infection to a mini-stroke that may be impairing the swallow reflex to cardiovascular problems. As you can see these are different areas of the body that may be affected in different ways yet account for one or more of your symptoms. Indeed your previous history of shingles could be playing a role here. Speak to your doctor and see a geriatric specialists who will be better equipped to deal with your specific case.

  • Jason Fine (44, 5’6, 175#)

    Hello, 44 yr old athletic male. No infections but have large left lymph nodes. Had 2 Dr’s take a look, one a year ago and another 2 months ago. Had CT Scan done of chest and blood work done. All normal. They said don’t worry about it. I am worried as I can feel it (not paiful, just annoying feeling between my arm and chest with my arm down) and it is about the size of a large grape or more. .
    Who would I see next?

    • Hi Jason. We cannot say for sure what tests your doctor did and what makes them feel that all is fine. Since 2 doctors have given the same opinion then in all likelihood it may not be an issue. But if it is more than 1cm in diameter and growing (even slowly) then it is definitely a cause for concern and needs further investigation like a biopsy. First see a physician specialist and then take it further. Chronically enlarged lymph nodes is seen in a range of conditions and rarely occurs on its own for no reason. Of course it is dependent on whether these are lymph nodes or some other structures. A physician may be able to provide you with further insight.

      • Jason Fine (44, 5’6, 175#)

        What type of DR do I see to have a biopsy done? Thank you.

        • Hi Jason. It depends on the health care referral system in your country and whether you are using public or private facilities. Speak to you general practitioner for a referral to a physician specialist. If you doctor suspects some cause then he/she may refer you to some other specialist. From there the physician may refer you to a general surgeon for the biopsy.

  • rheazy09 rheazy09

    I am 24 y/o female..I recently noticed that theres 5 palpable lumps on my left armpit and two on my right plus 1 on my groin.they are squishy and small, they sometimes decrease in size and grew back again back to the size when i first noticed it…And just as now my left armpit becomes painful, im not sure if its from the lumps…but since then im really bothered if its serious or not. Im hoping its bot lymphona or something..what would u recommend?do i have to go to my ob gyn or to a internal medicine? Tnx for d time..i hope u can help me

    • Hi Rheazy. If the node is smaller than 1cm in diameter and only becomes enlarged for short periods then it may not be too much of a concern. Sometimes it can be due to very serious conditions. Nevertheless it should be investigated as soon as possible. You should see an OBGYN because enlarged nodes in the armpits do raise the concern for breast cancer. It is important to take note as to when the nodes become enlarged and for how long. These details can assist your doctor who may need to also do imaging studies or a biopsy of the node to reach a final diagnosis.

  • jeanette capps

    iam a 38 yr old female whom has been having swollen gland under one arm pit. my left. sometimes i have puss drain from them like a zit. wht causes this and should i be worried.they go away and come back.

    • HI Jeanette. It may not necessarily be a swollen gland. From what you describe this could be a boil or a pustular pimple. It can occur for a number of different reasons. Hair removal is one common cause among women, particularly if they suffer with ingrown hairs. Sometimes deodorants or other skin applications in the area block the pores and bacteria then infects it.

      Of course there is always the concern about an enlarged lymph nose in the armpit area which sometimes in women may be an early sign of breast cancer. According to your description this seems less likely but it is definitely worth having it checked up by a medical professional. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

  • jeanette capps

    i use the same deodrant as always dove and the same razors. im really scared now seeing comments about cancer etc. cancer runs in my family

  • Ariana

    I’m now 44, but starting at about age 37 or 38, I began getting enlarged lymph nodes in my armpits and groin areas. This coincided with what I referred to at the time as a “general health decline”. About that time, I also developed a very serious case of adult cystic acne on my face, which was very disturbing to me, as I was a professional. I also suffered severe tooth abscesses in four teeth that was one of the most painful I’ve ever been through. Antibiotics didn’t work well enough and I had to miss 3 weeks of work. My feel also swelled so much that I had to stay in bed for days with my feet lifted on pillows. It turned out of course it was my blood pressure had begun to rise. Prior to all of this, my health had been just fine. I had pink eye a couple of times, and other miscellaneous symptoms. I began to have debilitating all over body pain and debilitating fatigue. I had constant insomnia, I was miserable trying to sleep, often staying up for two or three days at a time, and once it was 4 days. That was a special kind of torture. I couldn’t remember the words for common things that first graders know. It was “brain fog”. And I’m a college educated person who was always the best writer in my class. I couldn’t do anything productive. I had to scale back my housework other responsibilities to bare minimums and take them in little chunks throughout the day in order to prepare supper or take care of my son. I also made sure clothes were washed, & so on, cause of course I was no longer able to work. I had no earthly idea what was wrong with me, and I finally went to the doctor. He believed I have fibromyalgia. I had only heard of it once, my aunt said she had it, but since I didn’t see her on a daily basis, I still couldn’t imagine what it really was. I went home and looked up the symptoms and such, and I obviously had a classic case of fibro. No doctor ever referred me to a rheumatologist or anything, so when I applied for disability, the judge could not consider my fibro as a disability, although it was the worst of all! I did have a couple of other issues that I may be approved on (don’t know yet), but those conditions were secondary to the fibromyalgia. My point in all this is pointing out that the swollen lymph nodes were there in the beginning very much so, and I still get them from time to time, but I had so many things going on, it seemed like just another symptom. I guess a red flag should’ve went off that something was really going wrong, but I did go to one doctor appt a couple of years before I found out I have fibro, but he paid no attention to the lymph nodes. No doctor I’ve ever been to considered it any kind of warning signal. Breast cancer runs very strong in my family, and I did not know the information concerning this until I read this article. I also have fibrocystic breast disease and consists of benign lumps, but sometimes they’re malignant. It scares me to death, cause this condition is hereditary and every single one of my aunts had or have it. I have 3 aunts right now with stage 4 breast cancer and one who’s died. I really appreciate the article, as information concerning the swelling is not hard to find, and this seemed to be good information. Come to think of it, when I was 15, I had a cyst so large in my armpit that it had to be lanced. It was so painful. It got so large, I couldn’t move my arm without it rubbing up against it and it caused it be red and very very sore. It was also getting so large, that in and of itself was becoming painful. My mother finally took me to the doctor, and because we had no money, the doctor performed the procedure after hours pro-bono – I am about certain. I was so grateful, but it was one of the most painful experiences of my life, believe it or not. Pus shot across the room, people holding me down gasped, and I screamed in pain and cried like a baby. He could have used some kind of local anesthesia, LOL. Anyway, wanted to share my experience. Maybe it will help someone else one day.

    • Hi Ariana, Thank you for sharing your experience and for your compliments about our content. Your experience will undoubtedly prove helpful to some of our readers. Everything of the best with your health in the future.

    • Beckie Cann

      I suffer Gulf War Illness (GWI), a subset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). GWI is caused by vaccines, aggravated by battlefield exposures. Second leading cause of CFS is vaccines. Top leading cause of CFS is viral infection of unknown etiology which never improves. Your description is the closest I have ever read as to what happened to me overnight — 26 years. Fibro is almost always a symptom of CFS or the Big Picture. And it’s almost impossible to land disability with a Fibro claim, since many victims can take Lyrica and go on back to work. So I never tried. I also thought it was impossible to acquire disability on claim of chronic Epstein-Barr virus. So I never tried. I DID file my claim for CMV or cytomegalovirus, a green African monkey virus acquired through all vaccines cultured on monkey kidney tissue. Anyone who has ever received childhood vaccines has been exposed to CMV: Lying dormant in their deep tissues until an incurable virus comes along to reactivate live viruses in all vaccines, plus Infectious Mono, which becomes Epstein-Barr virus. None are curable. Most can be pushed into remission with the right treatment. CMV is the lone exception. I’ve suffered through 26 years of chronically active CMV. In me thus far, CFS or GWI have reactivated EBV to become chronic EBV; CMV to become chronic CMV; polio, and mumps. I have been fighting reactivated polio for the past 6 years. I lost one of my major leg muscles and all of my major muscles in both arms. I am otherwise unable to aerobically exercise. So I perform my own fashion of Physical Therapy to build up surviving muscles around those that died: I can’t bear the thought of bedfast and housebound due to reactivating and shedding viruses. CFS is not genetic, does not run in families, does not lead to cancer. Toxic factors of system-wide infection tear down the body’s natural ability to fight cancer. Hard as it might be, I would put cancer on the back burner until you see a CFS physician, who can better answer your very valid questions. A CFS physician, not an Infectious Diseases or any other medical specialty, will be the only type of doc who can write letters of disability to accompany lab test results to SSA for disability. In 2014, Social Security Administration wrote a regulation that really helps you come up with blood tests AND SYMPTOMS that SSA judge will recognize and approve for disability due to CFS. Social
      Security Ruling, SSR 14–1p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluating Claims Involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). More than half of your disability claim for CFS is based on symptoms of 1.) fatigue, your very first, most persistent symptom; 2.) sleep disorders; 3.) co-morbid infections of all kinds, including dental, respiratory, viral, bacterial, fungal, and microbial (parasites); 4.) fevers, chills, and / or subnormal oral temperatures that accompany cold sweats with weakness to the point of collapse; 5.) Sore throat or vocal cords so raw that you cannot speak without coughing; 6.) subnormal body temperature and inability to tolerate cold or heat; etc. The best legal / medical description of CFS – plus signs and symptoms that must persist for 6 months before the diagnosis of “Fatigue” can develop into a diagnosis of “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” – is on CDC / NIH Office of Women’s Health webpage for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Please notice on that webpage that mental illness – such as Somatoform Disorder, depression, anxiety – and Fibro are “separate” medical issues that should be “diagnosed separately”. One reason is because mood-altering drugs will make you much, much sicker; “brain fog” develops into comatose. Another is because once you receive appropriate treatment for CFS, most symptoms that cannot be confirmed by blood test go away or modify to become a symptom of CFS that you can identify. Best example is “depression” and “anxiety”. Auto-immune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis causes depression and anxiety. Patients who suffer hypothyroiditis as a major part of CFS should also be screened for Hashimoto’s. Most patients recover from mental symptoms once they receive adequate treatment for all types of hypothyroiditis.

      If you will think back, your very first symptom was “unusual” fatigue, feeling like you were coming down with a viral infection. It might have accompanied dizziness so bad that you developed chronic nausea; disorientation to the point you couldn’t drive or walk down stairs without pitching forward; symptoms of hypotension or changing blood pressure as you rise from seated. Perhaps you even thought you caught something “going around” but recovered only moderately. But your absolute top level of functionality is less than 50% of how you felt at 36 years old. Your disability judge WILL approve you for CFS if you see the right type of doc. I highly recommend that you go outside your health insurance plan to see a CFS doctor – usually listed as Anti-aging medicine, or hormones, or Longevity and Fatigue, or Fibro & Fatigue. Several are listed as thyroid specialists who “balance hormones”. That’s what anti-aging docs do, too. But CFS docs treat EVERYthing simultaneously – multi-faceted treatment for a broad-spectrum “syndrome”: set of diseases, signs, symptoms. I currently suffer 20 different diagnoses, signs and symptoms. Endocrinologists and rheumatologists are useless narcissists. Fibro & Fatigue Centers of America are sprinkled across the nation. F&F accepts insurance or will provide you with itemized statements so that you can file your own insurance claims for reimbursement. F&F Centers also have in-house labs with Quest Diagnostics, who also accepts insurance. Sounds like you suffer hyper-coagulation defect, specifically in Caucasians, as our mutation for survival. English and Welsh fought with narrow, razor-sharp swords, and would have died by them. Except that our immune systems detected “invasion”, and laid down a layer of fibrin protein (not a clot) at the site of sword injury. In CFS, system-wide infection(s) triggered your immune system. And it cannot be turned off. Inside every vessel, fibrin protein continues building up, attempting to protect your immune system from all infections you are fighting. That explains the acne, abscesses, swelling in feet. I fight my own over-active immune system with a daily dose of guaifenisen or generic Mucinex, plus injections into my belly fat with heparin sodium. I also inject with B12 to help with memory and fatigue, bypassing the blood-brain barrier. B12 is a vitamin, which is hard to sufficiently accumulate through diet, and which does not survive gastric acids. With CFS, your digestive tract usually does not absorb as well as it did before you got sick. Hope my research of 26 years helps you and everyone else who is “underdiagnosed” with Fibro.

      • Hi Beckie. Thank you for sharing your experience. It will undoubtedly be helpful to other readers

      • Ariana

        Omgosh! You are so knowledgeable! Thank you! The essence of what you wrote really resonates with me. I’ve had serious issues with fatigue since i was a young teen, but I never knew how to communicate what i was going through, and I certainly didn’t understand why I was so fatigued all the time – to the point of nausea or similar descriptions your wrote. Very familiar to me. It seemed to come and go throughout my life, but I’d say it was there more often than not. I’m sure it was mistaken for laziness, but that really wasn’t true. But you can’t tell other people that. They call it as they see it. No sense in defending myself against something that’s going to count against me anyway. Gotta conserve that energy, Lol. It has always seemed I had digestive issues also. I’ve seen similar things in family members that has had me thinking it has to be relevant in ways that our doctors are not recognizing. There seems to be almost no acknowledgment of how our digestive tracts reflect the status of our health in any way. I think that goes completely against common sense. I appreciate your mention of that. For me, it lends credibility to all you say. Interesting comment, full of information that I will be sure to re-read. Thank you for taking the time to raise my awareness. I’m sorry you’re so ill! I wish you well. You’re a soldier!

  • Frank Houseman

    I have several swollen lymph nodes under my right armpit and two of them have burst and a pus fluid came out. Then several more grew and now Hurt badly and I have a head cold and sore throat. What kind of dr should I see? I hope that it is now lymphoma cancer.

    • Hi Frank. There is no reason to suspect a lymphoma just yet. In fact the swellings may not even be lymph nodes. It could be an infection of the hair follicles (folliculitis) or an abscess. However, lymph node swelling in this area is not uncommon. It could be associated with the current cold and sore throat that you have although swelling in these instances is usually isolated to the neck lymph nodes. It’s unlikely that the burst lump with pus discharge is a lymph node but a doctor has to confirm that. Speak to your doctor about it.

  • Laura

    I am a 53 year old female. I have been experiencing intermittent low-grade fevers (99-99.9) accompanied by body aches and feeling like I’m coming down with the flu. It lasts maybe 2-3 days, and then I feel better. 2 days ago, after my shower, I noticed both armpits appear to have swollen and tender lymph nodes (above the crease closer to my back than chest). I have a lot of joint and muscle pain, and wonder if my symptoms might be related to some kind of autoimmune disorder. I have one very persistent lesion of psoraisis on my shin (never biopsied), and hypothyroid (off meds for about 6 months due to move and former PCP wouldn’t renew rx)…if any of that matters. I am otherwise healthy. I’m trying to find a new doctor accepting new patients with my insurance plan, but there are not many in my area… Any thoughts?

    • HI Laura. I would advise that you find a doctor as soon as possible. A fever and non-specific aches can be related to autoimmune disorders but it is also important to get evaluated for other conditions. Some serious conditions like cancer and HIV infection among a host of others can also account for these symptoms. Your doctor will have to look at your case in its entirety and based on the clinical examination as well as further tests he/she will eventually reach a diagnosis. Only then can the appropriate medication be prescribed.

  • Tammy Troup

    Hi I am 48 and had a few bad parrot bites on my hands and within the last 2 weeks have had sore throat, sore muscles and joint pain, headaches, swoellen glads in neck and arm pit and fatigue. What should I do?

    • Hi Tammy. You should see a doctor. There are many zoonotic diseases that can be spread from a bird to human. It is possible that the symptoms you are experiencing has nothing to do with the parrot bites. Most of these symptoms are similar to the the seasonal flu but similarly many infections passed on from animals present in the same way. Psittacosis is one of the diseases that you may have to look into. It is commonly known as parrot fever disease. You can read more about it here http://www.healthhype.com/psittacosis.html but there are also other diseases that may be responsible for your symptoms. Your doctor will have to conduct further tests to reach a final diagnosis.

  • Brittney Wrabek

    I don’t normally see the doc so I am doing a little research. Palpable lymphnodes I believe in right groin area and right anterior medial elbow above crease. Both are large and firm/rubbery. Fixed location..a little tender but not painful. Haven’t been feeling the best..constant headaches and ringing in ears. Fatigue and trouble sleeping as well. Help?

    • Hi Brittney. If all the symptoms you mention (enlarged lymph nodes, unexplained fatigue, persistent headaches and ringing in the ears) are related to the same condition then it is concerning. It needs to be assessed by a medical professional as soon as possible. Needless to say that some of the causes of these symptoms can be potentially serious, even life threatening. Waiting for too long can lead to complications and worsen the prognosis. Please consider conducting your own research after first seeing a doctor. If you are adamant that you are not going to consult with a doctor then please visit a primary health clinic in your area (if available) for voluntary testing of conditions like HIV, diabetes and so on.

  • Kathy

    I am a 52yo female and just noticed a pea sized lump in my left armpit. It is not painful but I am concerned. Any idea what may be the cause?

    • HI Kathy. It is difficult to say for sure. Given your age and gender there is always a concern that symptoms like these may be indicative of breast cancer. However, there are often more common causes which are less serious. It can also occur with systemic infections, folliculitis (infection of the follicles) and so on. The lump needs to be assessed in person by a medical professional for a diagnosis to be reached. Only then can the appropriate treatment be prescribed.

  • HyunW

    Hi, my mother is 52 now, and she has a swallen lymph node in her left arm pit. She also has lump like something in her breast so she went to see a doctor and did biopsy and the result was fine. But this lymph node doesn’t disappear over a month and I worry about it. I do the research and She says that the node is soft and isn’t fixed but not painful. So I think it might be ok but It may better to consult with you. English is not my native language so it might be hard to understand what I’m saying, sorry about that.

    • Hi HyunW. Yes, enlarged lymph nodes particularly in the armpits can occur sometimes for no clearly identifiable reason. It may be short lived and return to a normal size on its own. While there may be nothing to worry about at the moment, it is advisable that she has this monitored regularly especially since she has a breast lump as well. Her age group does put her at a higher risk for certain breast-related conditions and an enlarged armpit lymph node can be one of the accompanying symptoms. Keep having it monitored on a regular basis and also take note of any other symptoms that may arise, such as pain, abnormal breast discharge and so on. It’s also possible that the enlarged lymph node is unrelated to the breast.

  • Derek

    Hi, I’m a 25 yr old male. I have several enlarged lymph nodes in my right chest that I’ve had for years(none in my left). Results from my ultrasound came back good the general surgeon stated. But the ultrasound found one enlarged lymph node in each armpit. Going in for a biopsy in the next few days. My main question/concern is why would the general surgeon choose not to remove the enlarged lymph nodes in my chest?

    • Hi Derek. Firstly it is important to verify whether your surgeon confirms that these lumps are in fact lymph nodes. Secondly the chest area is not a region one would want to operate on unnecessarily as vital organs such as the lungs and heart are located here. You have lived with these lymph nodes for years as you say and it has not caused any problem. Wait for the biopsy results and speak to your doctor then. The treatment will depend on several factors.

  • Derek

    I’m a 25 yr old male. I have several enlarged lymph nodes in my right chest, that Ive had for years (none in my left). Ultrasound found one enlarged lymph node in each armpit. The dr said the ones in my chest were ok. My main concern/question is why would the dr choose not remove the ones in my chest?

  • Barb Birovsek

    Swollen left arms fingers stiff. Swelling goes up arm..Had surgery on paotid mass in neck can this cause edema

    • Hi Barb. It depends when you had the surgery and if the IV line was inserted in the affected arm. Sometimes an infection or clot could arises thereafter. Swelling of the peripheral parts of the body can follow after surgery (even if the surgery did not occur on the swollen part) and with prolonged rest. However, it is also possible that the swelling has nothing to do with the recent surgery. Consult with your doctor for a definitive answer.

      • Barb Birovsek

        Hi its been years since surgery so I don’t know why it swells like it does

  • Honey Fe

    My axillary lymph nodes in my right armpit is swollen and its really painful, I’ve started feeling it last december but it just goes away after 2 days and it went back again last february, it became bigger and very painful yet after 3 days it was okay and now this is the third time it came back and its really paining me, I’ve experienced the pain for 3 days now, what do you think is the diagnosis? Will this be lead to breast cancer? I just have 6 month old baby and Im still breastfeeding until now during the night. please help.

  • JussMee

    what??? Have you all gone mad? Why are you writing a web page asking them for a medical diagnosis??? Get some insight, then CALL YOUR FRIGGING DOCTOR LOL!

  • Erin

    Hello, Am a a 30 year old women and currently have swollen lymph nodes in arm pits. I am concerned bc I was originally supposed to have a mammogram but bc I am breastfeeding they told me to do the ultrasound. The radiologist saw the scans from a different location but spoke with the technician and they said it all looks good but my lymph nodes are swollen. I wouldn’t be so worried but my sister was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer and my aunt died last week from breast cancer. They did tell me to follow up with my doc but there was no concern. Should I pursue this further? I am concerned bc of the slight pain in my armpit and the family history.

    • Hi Erin. Yes, it would be advisable that you monitor it closely but swollen armpit lymph nodes can be due to a host of causes. Breast cancer is not the most common cause. However, given your family history it is understandable that you are concerned and you should have regular examinations. It may not be necessary to investigate it further just yet but speak to your gynecologist about your concerns so that you can be monitored in the long term.

  • jemaimah elnar

    I am 28 years old now, I remember my right arm having lymph nodes when I was 15 years old. So I already bringing this more than 10 years now. Is this cancer???

  • Jack Leong

    Hi I’m a 15 year old male, i have an underarm lump, just asking is it possible for an underarm lump to spread, if so is that anything bad

    • Hi Jack. It really depends on what the cause of this lump is. Often a lump in the armpit is due to an enlarged lymph node. This is not uncommon when there is an infection. However, another possibility is that a hair follicle in the armpit has become blocked and infected. Whether this will spread or not is difficult to say. You will need a doctor to examine the area and make an exact diagnosis.