This underarm thing...

karinlSeptember 18, 2009

I'm so glad that several posters here have mentioned underarm swelling as a menopausal thing. I have been tormented, so to speak, by my left armpit for a few years, since my late 40s, and have consulted doctors a few times with no answers forthcoming.

The problem has been, interchangeably, a feeling of generalized swelling, and/or an irritation of the skin from contact with my own sweat. Most recently I have a tingling in my arm, as if it were falling asleep, when I sit in certain positions. This I have yet to check with a doctor, but it strikes me as being related to that swelling feeling. And it has always been on only one side.

No doctors have found any swollen nodes nor has anyone been able to explain the irritation, which produces no visible signs - it just feels bad.

At first it seemed to be connected to a bad position at the computer and too much time spent on the wretched thing, and it still is far less likely to bother me at all if I am doing any other activity - perhaps because the arm is moving rather than still.

For the irritation, I've tried various types of creams on it, with indifferent success, I've tried shaving/not shaving, and deodorant/no deodorant, no difference. When it's really bad I literally have to keep my arm up off my side so the armpit gets air circulation - uncomfortable and not always suave!

I do keep it at the forefront of things I mention to doctors when I see them, in case it is a symptom of some other alarming condition, but since others have mentioned the swelling it does seem likely to be a menopausal symptom. The intermittent nature of my symptoms does suggest it's not a progressive disease and that it might be related to a cycle of some sort.

So I thought I would start a thread about underarm problems specifically as I would be interested in hearing how others experience them.


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Hi karinl i noticed your comments on the underarm thing you currently have , ive been having pain in my right armpit now for some time and it radiates into my breast above the nipple area i have been told by 2 seperate doctors that its swollen lymph glands however im not entirely satisfied with this any more so ive made an appointment with the breast clinic which i would suggest you do , its always better to get it checked out i dont have any problems with skin irritation or problems with shaving etc its more on the inside rather than the actual skin, i have been taking evening primrose oil for some months now and i cant say that its making any real difference ive reached a point where i am concerned tho but as i have no obvious lumps and it is a slight swelling it does indicate it could be a gland thing i will know by the end og this month anyway my appointment is on the 29th sept so i should no soon after that ill keep you posted ok be well

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 2:10PM
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Hi karinl ive been to the breast clinic and had a mammogram and an ultrasound done and im all clear of cancer i do however have a couple of small cysts in my r breast so the doctor at the breast clinc thinks that the swelling is a monthly thing related to the perimenopause that im experiencing anyway ive decided on a higher dose of the evening primrose oil im on a 1000mg daily now instead of 500 and im keeping a monthly chart of symptoms so i can track all my symptoms which incidentally have become much less lately my underarm skin does get massively irritated if i use underarm deodrants so ive stopped using them now i use wet wipes instead when i feel hot and sweaty i just add a little extra water and a mild soloution of shampoo to the pack which doesnt irritate me you could try that .

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 8:26AM
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Beauty, that's very helpful, thanks. I'm glad to hear you've had the all-clear cancer-wise. I've had some relief from putting vinegar on the skin when it's irritated, but your solution sounds like it will smell much nicer :-)

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 11:14PM
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Hi karinL how are you ? well ive had painful underarm thing going on now for a couple of weeks even though its been checked out at breast clinc and the doc said he couldnt find anything wrong im still worried cos the pain is never far away and i really feel sure something is not right it seems to be radiating up to my neck the last few days it was making me panic earlier on i think im going to have to go back to the doctor and ask them to check it out again maybe it is related to hormones like they say nut i dont know what to think

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 7:19AM
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Hi Beauty,

Things are carrying on about as usual for me, sometimes problematic, sometimes not. I'm sorry to hear yours is persisting, and I hope it settles down.
Perhaps another doctor, looking for something other than breast-related?
Of maybe you can connect it to something you do? Mine still seems to be aggravated by sitting too many hours at the computer.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 1:19AM
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I know this is 3 years after this original post, but I have noticed slight swelling under my right arm. I am in menopause, and have been through all kinds of odd physical changes since this journey began. I am wondering if anyone here has this same thing?? I have been a little anxious about it, and am hoping to get some feedback here.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Thanks for touching base. My underarm problem continues to be an intermittent problem though it seems to be reducing in intensity and frequency. It will be bad for a day or two and then go away for months. I don't get a sense of it being swelling any more, just an irritation.

But even a few other people's experience is no replacement for a doctor checking it. However common a menopause thing it is, it can also be something else!

Karin L

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 1:24AM
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Thanks for your response Karin! I am waiting for a call back from my doctor's office. His PA who did my mammogram last week didn't notice anything, but I hope to see my doctor this afternoon, or early next week. As for shaving, my left, where the swelling is, is the only one that has to be shaved. The right one does not! I could write a book about all of the strange changes to my body during these 8 years. Thanks again for your response! Vikki :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Hi Karin and others,
Just wanted to let you know that I saw my doctor today about my "puffy" underarm. He said it is from dry skin, which we all get as we get older. He didn't see anything dangerous, and suggested I not use harsh soaps when showering. Just wanted you to have the update!

Blessings all!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Hello everyone have found this site and it has helped me a lot as i too have had this under arm thing which is most annoying to say the least, but glad that i am not alone. I am 51 and it started about 6 months ago and because i reach up high at work find this makes it worse, while on holiday last week when i totally rested it settled right down. When i use my right arm for things like being on the phone for a while my arm aches and tingles. My underarm just feels warm and sweaty and i have to lay with my arm out in bed to get air to it and cool it down. thanks to all who have shared there experiences as i dont feel so paranoid and crazy now kim

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Hi all, this seems awfully familiar with my latest set of symptoms, along with a whole array of weird, unexplainable ones that has been plaguing me last two years. The armpit thing drives me crazy sometimes, especially when going to bed, my arm, shoulder and especially armpit weigh on me so heavily i can't sleep. I try to stretch my arm across the bed to alleviate the heavy feeling i have but sometimes it doesnt work. :( The doctors are baffled, though I assume i am in perimenopause because every year i have very heavy bleeding that knocks me into anemia, so i have to take a lot of iron but even then, I end up in a hospital, having to have transfusions. What bothers me is the doctor's inability to give me any reasonable explanation. Thyroid levels are elevated but the T3 and T4 are fine, only total thyroid is up. All I can say I hope your symptoms subside, or at least get tolerable. I didnt know being in perimenopause can be so difficult to a point where living is a struggle on a daily basis. I started bleeding heavily again and am waiting for my gyn to call me and advise on what to do. Hopefully she will call before I end up in ER again. :) Good luck ladies!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Hi hun do go and get seen to i know its scary, its sounds like fybroids which afe easily treated they just bleed heavily all the time, and some times i could of chopped my arm off with pain/aching all the time with no let up, i started taking high dose evening primrose oil capsules and glucosamine and omega 3 tablets and it has balance out my hormones and each day is getting better and more bareable, hope u feel better soon, but do push at the hospital and get them to investigate and get some answers kim

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:03PM
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