An enlargement of the lymph nodes under the arm is usually referred to as an armpit lump. These oval shaped glands (lymph nodes) are located in various places in the body and they play a critical role in the body’s immune system. So what causes painful lump in armpit in males? It could be the result of cysts, irritation due to shaving, infection or a reaction to antiperspirants. The lump could also be an indication of a serious underlying problem. You might need to seek medical attention if the lump becomes enlarged, isn’t painful and doesn’t go away. Here are some possible causes of a lump in your armpit.

Possible Causes of Painful Lump in Armpit in Male


​Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hair can cause painful lump in armpit in male. It is usually a consequence of shaving the armpits, whereby the shaved hair grows back and curls into the skin. A lump caused by ingrown hair will have a dark spot at the center. You shouldn’t confuse it with a serious lump as it should go away on its own. However, when ingrown hair gets a bacterial infection, a cyst will form under your armpit. Seek medical attention immediately. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics.


Enlarged Lymph Node

Swollen lymph nodes are common in the neck, jawline, armpits, groin area and behind the ears. It is usually a result of an infection. The lymph glands are meant to fight off bacterial, viral and fungal infections. In the process, they swell and begin to hurt. While the infection could go away on its own, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause. The swelling should go down after you recover.


Antiperspirants, Deodorants and Allergy

Some people react to deodorants and antiperspirants by developing painful lump in armpit. Male's skin react to these products, leaving raised bumps. It is believed that the bumps could be caused by clogged sweat pores since antiperspirants are meant to stop excessive sweating. This is why armpit bumps and pimples are common after a workout especially if you use antiperspirants. Some males develop bumps in the armpits as a result of an allergic reaction to certain drugs. These include penicillin, sulfa and iodine.


Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is an infection that causes painful underarm lumps in teenagers. It is an infection of the sweat glands by bacteria. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the groin area and lead to swelling, boils and bumps that hurt in the underarm area. You can use oral antibiotics to treat and relieve painful lumps. Your doctor might also recommend anti-androgens since this infection is more common in men than women. Immunomodulatory medications are also used to treat this infection. In severe cases, surgery is necessary.



Getting immunized can come with side effects, particularly at the site of the injection. Tdap vaccines can cause the lymph nodes to swell. Hepatitis A vaccine can cause blisters and swollen glands in the armpit and other areas. Flu shots are also a possible cause of painful limp in armpit. It is advisable to seek medical attention since the swollen glands could be as a result of another infection as opposed to the shot you got.


Armpit Cyst, Boil or Zit

Cysts, zits and abscesses can start off as large bumps in the underarm. They are usually the result of infected ingrown hair and shaving bumps. Left untreated, these infections can easily turn into large lumps or boils. Cysts are normally pus filled. If you spot green pus, then it is a sure sign of a bacterial infection.


Viral Infections

HIV-AIDS, shingles, chickenpox, herpes and other viral infections and STDs can cause lumps under the armpit. Lymph nodes help filter out the cells of any infectious pathogens, causing them to swell up. It is important to get tested to determine the exact cause of the swollen lymph nodes.


Thyroid or Hyperthyroidism

The overproduction of thyroid hormones can cause a painful lump in armpit in males. When this happens, the resultant swollen underarm glands can be mistaken for an infected lump in the armpit. Stress and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause underarm lumps. This is due to the overproduction of sebum. It clogs the pores, causing bumps, whiteheads and pimples.

How to Treat Painful Lump in Armpit in Male


Warm Compress

Use a warm compress to ease the pain and inflammation of underarm lumps. Dip a washcloth in hot water to make a warm compress. Give it a few minutes to cool and apply to the painful lump in armpit. However, this will provide temporary relief. You should get medical treatment to get rid of the underlying problem.



If the lump in your armpit is a symptom of a bacterial infection, then your doctor should be able to prescribe antibiotics. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, clindamycin and erythromycin are ideal choices as they act fast. Symptoms should disappear after a course of treatment. Antibiotics will not work if the infection is viral or fungal. 



Another options for removing painful lumps in the armpit is surgery. Large lipomas and lumps are normally removed through a surgical procedure. You would have to consult with a surgeon to determine whether the procedure is necessary.


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