Why Are My Armpit Lymph Nodes Swollen?

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We make use of our arms in many activities—may these activities be personal, household related, and those related to work and school. In fact, even as we walk, we make use of our arms to balance ourselves. An impairment in our arm can give us a great hassle in many different ways… and funny as it may seem, one of the hassling things that we may feel with using our arms is the presence of armpit lymph nodes. You might laugh at the thought of it but seriously, armpit lymph nodes are literally small but terrible!

Armpit lymph nodes consists of a cluster of nodes, just a small percentage of hundred other lymph nodes scattered all over our body… in fact, there are about five or six hundred nodes all in all. Lymph nodes are normal structures in the body—in fact they are essential when we speak of our immune system. Lymph nodes are part of our lymphatic system and they aid in trapping the bacteria and viruses that have penetrated into our body system.

Why Do Armpit Lymph Nodes Swell?

Armpit lymph nodes, as mentioned earlier are not an abnormality. They are always there—but there will always be an instance that these nodes may be inflamed. This inflammation takes place for several reasons and the most common is the presence of an infection. With the presence of infection, these nodes swell which indicates that it has caught bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms in it. And this is actually a good sign since these nodes trap these microorganisms for the white blood cells to destroy them subsequently.

Causes of Armpit Lymph Nodes

-          Injury. A wound in the arm or an injury caused by trauma, i.e. fracture, and the like are predispositions to developing a swollen armpit lymph nodes. The reason for this is that the lymph nodes trap all the bacteria that may be starting to infest in your wound or area of affection.

-          Viral Infection. Viral infection, most especially those acquired through the respiratory tract can give rise to swollen armpit lymph nodes. Apart from the cervical lymph nodes, the axillary (armpit) lymph nodes may also be swollen due to the gravity or severity of the infection, i.e. if the cervical lymph nodes are not able to handle the amount of bacteria or viruses that the lymph contains, the lymph will be taken care of by the next adjacent nodes; like a fail-safe mechanism. Examples are chicken pox, shingles, measles and mumps.

-          Bacterial Infection. The response of armpit lymph nodes in bacterial infection is very similar to how they react to viruses. The situation should be similar to the above stated case. Examples are cat scratch disease, tuberculosis, lymphadenitis, and lymphangitis.

-          Malignancy. Malignant diseases, i.e. those which are cancerous in nature can also manifest through swollen armpit lymph nodes. Breast cancer is one of those neoplastic diseases which may manifest through the swelling of the axillary nodes. Similarly, lymphoma or lymph node cancer can also lead to the generalized inflammation of nodes, including those in the armpit.

How To Prevent Armpit Lymph Nodes

There is no clear cut prevention of swollen lymph nodes because it is a case to case basis. It all boils down to preventing the occurrence of diseases, injuries and infections. That way, lymph nodes won’t resort to swelling.

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