Painful Lymph Nodes Under The Armpits

What Causes Painful Lumps Under Armpits?

Painful lumps under armpits can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'critical'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose painful lumps under armpits, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "painful lumps under armpits" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities:
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Lymphatic Congestion
  • Vasectomy Side-Effects
  • CLL Leukemia
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • Sarcoidosis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
shortness of breath when at rest
low lymphocyte count
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
vision disturbances
elevated lymphocyte count
loss of appetite
frequent painful inguinal nodes
frequent unexplained fevers
red palms/fingertips
unusual current rash
rapid pulse rate
moderate unexplained weight loss
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of painful lumps under armpits:
Cause Probability Status
Lymphatic Congestion 97% Confirm
HIV/AIDS 22% Unlikely
Vasectomy Side-Effects 19% Unlikely
Sarcoidosis 5% Ruled out
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 5% Ruled out
Infectious Mononucleosis 5% Ruled out
CLL Leukemia 1% Ruled out
Enlarged Lymph Nodes 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate recent swollen/painful lymph nodes, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
UNDER ARMPITS: Do you have any tender or painful lymph nodes here?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Often, but not right now
→ 1-2 lymph nodes painful
→ 3 or more nodes painful
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no painful axillary nodes, frequent painful axillary nodes, painful axillary nodes or multiple painful axillary nodes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Enlarged Lymph Nodes also suggests the following possibilities:

... and also rule out issues such as:
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