The Real Reason Your Armpit Hurts

Chances are you haven't thought about your armpits much, except for making sure that they don't get too sweaty or smelly. In fact, armpits may just seem like an annoying body part that has no meaningful purpose except to cause you public embarrassment when you are least prepared. Why couldn't armpits be less obtrusive like the bendy part of your of elbows?

As it turns out, your armpits do serve an important function. According to the experts at Healthing, your armpits not only help to regulate your temperature through the emission of sweat, but they also sound the alarm when your body may be in need of medical attention. Also known as the axilla, your armpits help to regulate lymph, a fluid that helps fight infection through the transport of white blood cells, or lymphocytes. Lymph is stored in lymph nodes, which can be found in your groin, neck and, yup, your smelly, sweaty armpits, perĀ Cleveland Clinic.

Because your armpits are home to over 20 lymph nodes, this is just one reason you should take notice when your armpits hurt.

Here is what your armpit pain could be telling you

Oftentimes, if you have pain in your armpits, the experts at WebMD explain that this could simply be the result of a strained muscle, especially if you are someone who is physically active. Symptoms include muscle spasms, redness and a tender feeling after your stretch the muscle, among others. Depending on the severity, a strained armpit muscle usually only requires some ice, an over-the-counter pain reliever, and refraining from activities that can cause further strain to the area as you recuperate.

However, it's also possible that what is causing your armpit pain is swollen lymph nodes. When your lymph nodes become inflamed in this way, it can be the result of your body fighting a viral infection from something as minor as a common cold or strep throat to more serious issues such as HIV or the measles, among other medical conditions. Swollen lymph nodes in your armpit could also be a sign of breast cancer. Even if you do not feel a lump in your breast, if you feel pain or swelling in your armpit, it could be a good idea to have it checked by your doctor to rule out anything serious, per Web MD.

Lumps in your armpit could also be a sign of a disorder related to your lymphatic system, so you should contact your doctor if you feel extreme fatigue accompanied by unexplained, persistent swelling, perĀ Cleveland Clinic.