Swollen Glands in the Armpits: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

You woke up, got into the shower, and noticed what appear to be armpit bumps?

The truth is, you are probably suffering from swollen lymph nodes in the armpits.

As for what causes them, it can be many things. But don’t worry, we have a beginner’s guide to swollen lymph nodes.

Causes of swollen lymph nodes in the armpits

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits can develop for a number of different reasons, some of which have more serious consequences for your health than others.

  • Cat scratch disease : Cat scratch disease, also known as cat scratch fever, is when Bartonella henselae, a bacteria that is carried by cats, is introduced to humans through a scratch or bite from a cat.
  • Injury : Injuries to areas such as the armpit, hand, or arm can lead to swollen lymph nodes.
  • Cancer : Unfortunately, there are multiple forms of cancer that can cause swollen lymph nodes. Breast cancers, melanoma, and lymphoma can cause swollen lymph nodes.
  • Brucellosis : Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that is generally found in animals but is transmitted to humans through contact with infected animal products (milk, meat, etc.).
  • Silicone implants : Silicone implants can cause swollen lymph nodes for a number of reasons. The body can have a reaction to the foreign element that causes swelling, and a leaking implant can produce a similar effect.
  • Allergic Reaction : Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by an allergic reaction to something. The most likely culprits tend to be deodorants, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.
  • Viruses: There are several viruses that can cause swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, including measles, chickenpox, shingles, mumps, and HIV / AIDS.

As you can see from the above causes, there are many things that can cause swollen lymph nodes, making self-diagnosis difficult.

Fortunately, a doctor can identify the cause of your swollen lymph nodes, and a course of treatment can begin.


The person has lumps or bumps located along the arms, chest and breasts.


The doctor will first review your recent medical history to determine a diagnosis. This allows the doctor to decide what may have caused the swollen lymph nodes and to rule out other causes so time is not wasted.

A discussion about the lump itself is likely to follow (i.e., how long has the lump stayed under the arm ? Has there been a noticeable change in the size of the lump?)

Finally, a physical exam will be done to determine if it is the lymph nodes or something else that has swollen in the armpit. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment can begin.

Treatment of swollen glands in the 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 doctor will most likely prescribe medications such as antibiotics to kill the invader.

Once the bacteria or virus is removed, the lymph nodes will likely return to their original size. If cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be done for verification.

If cancer is confirmed, cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, and possible surgery may be suggested, depending on the type of cancer and how severe it has become.

However, if it is not cancer, there are some home remedies that can help you with your swollen lymph nodes.

Simple home remedies you can try

While many of the reasons behind swollen lymph nodes should not be taken lightly and should be addressed with medical treatment.

Non-cancerous causes of swollen lymph nodes can be treated or even alleviated with some home remedies on armpit lumps.

Along with medical treatment, these home remedies can speed up the process of shrinking swollen lymph nodes.

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

Warm compress – A warm compress can help increase blood circulation, which in turn can help reduce swollen lymph nodes.

Take a cloth and dip it in warm water. Squeeze out excess water and place the hot cloth on the swollen area for 5-10 minutes. Repeat this process a few times a day for a few days.

Garlic – One of the easiest methods you can try to reduce a swollen lymph node is to eat garlic. Garlic has some anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling.

Eat two to three cloves of raw garlic (or a garlic supplement) to help with swelling, or you can also massage the swollen area with garlic oil for a few minutes, two to three times a day.

Apple cider vinegar – A home remedy, apple cider vinegar can also help reduce swollen lymph nodes.

Take equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and soak a cloth in the mixture. Rub the cloth over the swollen area and leave it for five to six minutes before wiping off the concoction.

You can also drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (feel free to mix it with a little honey and water) to try and help reduce swelling.

Honey has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling of the lymph nodes.

The easiest method to reduce swollen lymph nodes is to simply apply honey to the inflamed area. Let the honey sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with a warm cloth.

The alternative is to take a tablespoon or two of honey and mix it with some fresh lemon juice and drink the mixture.

These home remedies could reduce swelling in the lymph nodes, but it should be noted that this is due to certain mild causes of lymph swelling.

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 the armpits may be nothing, but there is always the possibility that it is the symptom of a much larger tumor and therefore a more serious problem.

Fortunately, this guide has given you some ideas on what to look for when axillary lymph nodes are swollen and how you can treat them with home remedies until a full medical diagnosis and treatment is available.

Just be sure not to ignore underarm swelling or lumps as they can have disastrous results for your health.