armpit pain

Should I Be Concerned About Armpit Pain? 

Many women experience some sort of pain or discomfort in their armpits (the medical term is axillary area) at some point in their lives.

Most of the time, this pain is nothing to be concerned about and will go away on its own.

However, there are a few instances when armpit pain can be a sign of something more serious.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the possible causes of armpit pain and when you should seek medical help.

Possible Causes of Armpit Pain

There are a number of potential causes of armpit pain. Some of the most common include:

Excessive Sweating and Friction

If you sweat a lot or if your clothing rubs against your skin, you may experience irritation and pain in your armpits…or even a rash.

This is especially common during hot weather or when you exercise. Shaving can also make this area more sensitive.

Hair follicles can become infected if you shave too closely. If you are experiencing irritation or burning in the armpit area that you believe is from friction or shaving, you can try using an anti-friction stick or cream.

These products can help to create a barrier between your skin and clothing. Wearing clothing that is lose and breathable can also help with the irritation.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Many people find that deodorants and antiperspirants cause irritation in their armpits. This is more likely to happen if you have sensitive skin or if you are allergic to an ingredient in the deodorant.

If you have recently started using a new product and are experiencing pain or irritation in your armpits, it’s best to stop using the product and see if your symptoms improve.

You may also want to try a hypoallergenic or natural product.

Hormonal Changes

Many women experience some pain or discomfort in their axillary area during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

This can be due to hormonal changes that cause the breasts to grow and/or fluctuate in size. You should always talk to your doctor about breast pain.

Pulled Muscles

If you’ve recently engaged in physical activity that you’re not used to, such as lifting weights or working out, you may have pulled a muscle in your armpit.

This type of pain is usually sharp and manageable with over-the-counter pain medication.

If the pain is severe or persists for more than a few days, you should see your doctor. 

Lymph Nodes

Your lymph nodes are located throughout your body, including in your armpits. These nodes swell when they fight off infection.

While swollen lymph nodes can be uncomfortable, they’re usually nothing to be concerned about and will go down on their own within a week or two.

However, if the nodes remain swollen for more than two weeks or are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chills, or weight loss, you should see your doctor immediately.

Breast Exams

Breast tissue extends up under the arm. This includes the duct system used in lactation. It is not unusual for benign lumps to exist in this area.

Many times a new pain in this area is related to a cyst, infection, or other changes in the breast tissue. A breast exam by your healthcare provider can help determine the cause of your pain.

As a general rule, you should always perform a self breast exam once per month. Preferably about 3 days after your period begins.

Try to do the exam on the same day of each month (whether you are still cycling or you are menopausal). If you find any lumps or tender areas, speak with your doctor immediately.

They will likely recommend a mammogram or an ultrasound of the area. It is also important to get a yearly mammogram (this usually starts at age 40, but that depends on your breast cancer risk so talk to your doctor).


While it is rare, pain in the axillary area can be a symptom of breast cancer. If

you are experiencing pain in your armpit that is not related to any of the other causes listed above, it’s important to see your doctor right away.

Most of the time, armpit pain is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own. However, there are a few instances when armpit pain can be indicative of something more serious.

If you’re experiencing severe pain, persistent pain, or any other symptoms such as fever or chills, you should see your doctor right away.

Early detection is key to treating any underlying conditions that may be causing your armpit pain.

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