Armpit Lump in Pea Size: Causes and Treatments

A pea sized lump in armpit usually means you have a swollen lymph node under arms. Your lymph nodes are parts of lymphatic system and fight off bacteria and infections. If you have noticed a lump developing in your armpit, don't panic. In most cases, this is nothing serious and it resolves on its own in a few days. If it does not, you should go to see your doctor for further analysis because there are some potentially serious cases of these lumps. Keep reading to find out more about the causes and treatment options for a pea-sized lump in armpit.

Pea Sized Lump in Armpit: 6 Causes and Corresponding Treatments

It is possible to list several causes of why you've developed a lump under your armpit. Most of these causes are harmless, but some can be quite serious. Here's what will help you determine the reason why you have a pea-sized lump in armpit.

1.   Swollen Lymph Nodes

As mentioned already, the lymph nodes in your armpit may swell or inflame when they fight cancerous tumor cells or simple germs. These types of lumps are usually soft to touch and are located under your skin. An arm or breast infection may lead to enlarged lymph nodes. This may also happen due to body-wide infections such as herpes, AIDS and mono.

Treatment: You don't usually need a treatment for a pea-sized lump in armpit in this kind of condition because it goes away on its own. You can try some OTC pain relievers and warm compresses to limit the discomfort. You can take oral antibiotics if the swelling is due to bacterial infections.

2.   Cysts or Lipomas

Check your lump with your fingers. Can you make it move around with gentle pressure? Is it just under your skin? If you say yes, it could be a cyst. Cysts are harmless and may make your skin to turn yellow in color, which can also cause the pea sized lump in armpit.

Treatment: Since these lumps are harmless, you don't require a treatment. If these growths cause any trouble or look unsightly, you may consider options like surgery, liposuction or steroid injections. What treatment option works for you depends on the size of your lump.

3.   Ingrown Hairs

Shaving often can sometimes cause ingrown hairs, which may look like lumps under your armpits. These lumps are not harmful and are more common in young girls.

Treatment: Ingrown hairs can cause lumps that look unsightly and are quite uncomfortable too. The good thing is that they aren't harmful. You should just take some care when shaving underarms. Use a clean, single blade razor for the task and put some hot water in your armpits before you begin shaving the area. You should avoid shaving until the bump is gone.

4.   Antiperspirants

Regular use of antiperspirants can sometimes cause lumps under your armpits. This usually happens when you're allergic to or your body reacts to one of the chemicals used in your brand of antiperspirant.

Treatment: The simple treatment is to change the brand and see how well the other works. If you get another pea-sized lump in armpit, you should stop using any type of antiperspirant at all.

5.   Allergic Reactions

Penicillin, iodine and sulfa drugs can all cause allergy reaction. Similarly, smallpox and typhoid vaccines can cause lymph node reactions that will lead to lumps in your armpits.

Treatment: You will have to identify the cause of the trouble and eliminate it from your routine. Think about a drug you may have used recently. If you cannot pinpoint anything, you may consider working with a medical specialist to identify the culprit.

6.   Cancers

Different types of cancers are also related to pea sized lump in armpit. The most common ones are leukemia, breast cancer, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma. The tumor can be of different sizes and is immobile.

Treatment: There are typical cancer treatment options available, such as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and more. Here's a bit more about these treatment options:

  • Surgery: Your doctor may recommend a surgery to diagnose the problem and treat it. You usually need to undergo a surgery to first get rid of the lump and to ensure it doesn't spread to other parts of your body.
  • Chemotherapy: It is the use of certain drugs created specifically to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy is often quite terrifying, but knowing more about what it is and how it works will help calm your fear.
  • Radiation therapy: The procedure involves penetrating high-energy waves into your body to destroy cancerous cells. It is often used with other treatment options to get better results.

When to See a Doctor

As mentioned already, a pea-sized lump in armpit isn't always a cause of concern. In some cases, it can be a sign of certain types of cancer like breast cancer. You should look for other symptoms as well to determine if your lump is harmless or if you need to see a doctor for further evaluation. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Hard growing lymph nodes
  • Confusion and changes in consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Fever of above 101°F
  • Warm, tender lymph nodes that turn red
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
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