Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons

By Max. D Gray. Updated: August 2, 2020
Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons

Although it's not the most common type of pain, the armpits may suffer from pain for a variety of reasons. The fact that it's such a sensitive area and is close to the breast may make you worry if you feel sharp pain or notice the area is sore. Whether there's a lump under your armpit or not, you will want to clarify your doubts in order know the best treatment required to releive the pain, which is why oneHOWTO will give you all reasons so you can find out: why do I feel pain under my armpit?

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Pain under armpit with lump

Does your armpit hurt and have noticed a lump in the area too? First of all, don't panic, there are a number of reasons why this may happen, although it's highly important you get medical attention to be properly diagnosed.

Lymph node inflammation

One of the most common causes for pain under your armpit is inflammation of the lymph nodes, they are small organs that make up the lymphatic system. In turn, this system acts in order to defend your organism, producing antibodies.

Since the armpits have a high concentration of lymph nodes, the chances of the pain in the region being caused by an infection in the area, which can originate due to the contamination created by bacteria and fungi, are high. In this case, it is common to also feel intense itching and burning sensation, and the area may present redness.

When armpit pain is caused by infections you will notice a small swollen area, which is usually the size of a pea and will feel hard or have a rubbery texture when you touch them. In addition, the area becomes swollen and will grown, as the lymph nodes keep swelling and become sore. You may also have night sweats, sudden weight loss and fever as the lymph node grows.

Infections and inflammations of the lymph nodes that cause underarm pain can be caused by viruses such as mononucleosis, human immunodeficiency (HIV),rheumatoid arthritis, as well as Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and leukemia.

If you notice the lymph node grows during two weeks, it's highly important to see a doctor so he or she can find the underlying reason for this condition.

Breast cancer

Pain under your armpit may also signal breast cancer, which is more common in women, although men may also have the disease. In this case, in addition to pain, a nodule may also in the region, which increases sensitivity in the underarm area. Swelling will also appear evident in the breasts and you'll notice common symptoms of breast cancer.

Gland infection

The glands under the armpit may get infected, especially if you don't look after this part of your body hygienically or if you live in a highly humid climate, certain armpit glands can become infected due to bacteria. You will notice the lump is also accompanied by itching sensation and redness or inflammation. If it is a more serious infection it may also cause boils and hard patches, which will give you a sharp pain under your armpit.

Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons - Pain under armpit with lump

Pain under left or right armpit (no lump)

You may feel pain under the armpit but have not detected any lumps in the area. Here are the most common reasons if there is no lump but feel pain under the right or left armpit:

Ingrown hair

An ingrown hair is another reason for pain under your armpit, and the area becomes swollen as well. This problem is called folliculitis, which is an inflammation in the hair root. Waxing, shaving, tissue friction and microorganisms are some of those responsible for an ingrown hair. If this is the case, the area may darken, you may find small papules and you will notice embedded hairs under the papules and skin.

If you notice you have ingrown hair, you may want a professional beautician to take care of it, as it will be very difficult to get rid of it if it's located on your armpit. Make sure you exfoliate the area so they don't reappear again.

Cat scratch disease

Less common, but one possibility is the pain brought on by cat scratch disease. It occurs if the animal scratches or bites the armpits. This disease is transmitted only if the cat has the Bartonella henselae bacteria, and it proliferates infecting the blood vessels.

In addition to pain, stiffness and armpit swelling, other symptoms are red blisters, fever, headache, lack of appetite, vision problems and swelling of the brain. So it is important to keep your cat vaccinated. As for treatment should be prescribed by a specialist.

Heat rash

If you feel a burning sensation under your armpit, accompanied by itchiness and soreness, then you may be suffering from heat rash. if your skin under your armpit is flaky, feels warm and blotchy, this may mean that the ducts in your armpits have become blocked and cannot perspire properly to get rid of the sweat. If this is your case, apply some calamine lotion and make sure to wear clothes made of fabric that helps the skin breathe. Therefore, you should avoid fabrics that make you sweat more.

Pulled muscle

Have you been using too much weight when working out or have undergone unusual physical activity lately? If so, this may have caused a tear of a muscle or tendon fiber. If you have a pulled muscle, you will notice a sharp pain under your armpit. The armpit may also present a sensation of burning and will be stiff. In this case, use a cold compress to ease the muscle pain and, if after 24 hours you still notice the pain, it's best to go to the doctor so he can prescribe some anti-inflammatory pills to help you with this condition.

Herpes zoster

Herpes zoster is a viral infection that can appear on your left and right armpit. Early symptoms of herpes zoster include a rash in the area, yellowing of the skin, scabby skin and possible dimples in the area. If this is the case, it's best you visit a doctor and make sure you know how to treat herpes zoster on your armpit to recover as quickly as possible.

Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons - Pain under left or right armpit (no lump)

Pain under both armpits

If you are feeling pain under both armpits and feel no lumps at all, there are also several reasons why your armpits may hurt too. Let's take a look at the most common:


If in addition to pain under both armpits, the armpit is itching a lot, and you notice you also have a rash, the source of the problem may be allergic, caused by deodorant, antiperspirant or even shower gels. In that case, it is necessary to change products or even make use of homemade formulas, like using milk of magnesia. Alcohol-free and perfume-free products may be less aggressive on your skin and can avoid allergic reactions.

Menstrual cycle

The beginning of your menstrual cycle is another cause for armpit pain in women. The reason is because the whole female body becomes more sensitive during your period, but this pain should end as soon as the menstrual cycle comes to an end.

Pain under armpit and chest

If you not only have pain under your armpit but in other areas of your body such as your chest, which is the most common, then there may be other underlying reasons that don't have much to do with the conditions mentioned above.

Cold or flu

Although you may be surprised, a common cold is also a pretty common cause for pain under the armpit. Especially if you have mucus and the cold focuses on your breathing system, you may feel pain in both your chest and underarms. Moreover, you should also notice other symptoms of the flu or a common cold. If this is the case, your symptoms will disappear in a couple of days.

Strained pectoral muscle

As we've mentioned above, pain under your armpit may be due to muscle tear. You should know that if you feel pain under your armpit and your chest, then you may have a strained pectoral muscle. In this case, it's best you visit your physician as soon as possible so you can be treated accordingly.


Anxiety is basically a physical reaction to a psychological trigger. When you get an anxiety attack, your whole body will stiffen, your chest will hurt and your armpits may also hurt too. You will also be able to notice a rapid heart beat, shaking and will probably be sweating more than usual, which in turn may cause itching or a burning sensation under your armpits.

Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons - Pain under armpit and chest

As soon as you notice the pain persists under your armpits it is important to seek medical help as the treatment you need will vary according to the cause of the problem. When it comes to infections, the specialist usually prescribes antibiotics, a remedy that will depend on the source of the inflammation.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do I Feel Pain Under my Armpit - All Possible Reasons, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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