Hi, I'm a 41 year old woman in good health. I do have a mildly hypoactive thyroid and mild high cholesterol, but other than that, my health is good and I feel fine.
Every once in a while (it's happened a few times over the last few years), my left armpit gets swollen, tender and quite painful. It feels like swollen lymph nodes. If I wear something like a fitted tank top, it irritates it. I do not feel sick, have no infection that I am aware of (though I did get a "card board" cut the other day from a box of rice). I had a mammogram done last year (and I'm due for one soon again) and it was fine. No breast symptoms and no cancer in my family. The fact that it is painful makes me feel a bit better since cancerous lumps are usually not painful. The area looks raised and a bit swollen. It usually lasts a few days and goes away on it's own. This has happened a few times over the last few years or so.
Any thoughts? I'm trying not to wig out and as I said, I feel fine.
This happened to me a few times aboout a year ago. I went to my doctor the third time it flared up, and he looked at my bloodwork results from the previous few months and saw that I had tested positive for Epstein-Barr Virus. He asked me if I had been unusually tired, which I definitely had been, so he gave me another bloodtest (which again came out positive for EBV), and told me I was having a flare-up of the virus, and instructed me to take extra B-Complex Vitamins to get my energy up. It definitely worked, and helped for the swollen lymph nodes in my armpit, too (I think because the vitamins boosted my immune system also). Are you very tired recently? Have you been tested for Epstein-Barr? It's definitely something to look into. Bloodwork in general could be a good start, because swollen lymph nodes can indicate a number of different infections/viruses in the body.
Happened to me a couple times as a teenager for no reason I could discern. Then it went away and hasn't come back. Scared the dickens out of me, but did me no other harm that I was aware of. My father thought it might be a muscle.
Swollen nodes usually indicates an infection, especially if they hurt. When it's cancer, it usually doesn't hurt, if that makes you feel any better. Of course, there are other things that could cause armpit pain, like infections from shaving, skin tags, or muscle or bone issues in the arm/shoulder area. You wouldn't necessarily feel sick from an infection in your nodes--it's not always going to be some obvious illness. And I think (I don't think there's any medical basis for this) that some nodes can just be troublesome, perhaps from previous infections, and cause issues that are essentially out of whack with what's actually happening. But I'd see your doctor, anyway, so you know.