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Monday, November 30, 2009 wondering, Community Member, asks

Q: Swollen armpit lymph node as a perimenopause symptom?

Is there any assoociation with a single swollen armpit lymph node and perimenopause symptoms, irregular periods, when "all else comes up normal?  I switched to a new family physician because I needed to find someone close to work. I saw her in September and I saw her in November. I had a mammogram in September. Mammogram came up normal. Each time I saw this new physician, I asked about a swollen armpit lymph node under, closer topectoral side. She palpated and said, although swollen, they didn't present as abnormal. As I tried to describe the tenderness, she asked when the last time I shaved. I told her two days ago.I am not very hairy, I  shave once a month, etc. I asked if there could be any connection with sacrioalic joint inflammation on my left side and lymph node, she said emphatically "no". Felt light a strange answer as I have had increasing pain in the joint, and the Orthopedic surgeon confirmed the condition. I asked about

having a biopsy on the lypmph node,  she responded. "If you want to have one, then you can have one" and walked out of the room.

I am looking for a new doctor. In the meantime, I am meeting with my OB/GYn (someone I like), for an opinion and a referral. As I am in the throes of perimenopause, I am wondering if any connections have been made with estrogen levels and lymph nodes.

I am 51. I had my first pregnancy at 43. My daughter is 7.5.

Just poking around for opinions until I can get to the bottom of this, rather, to the side of this.

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Answers (2)
Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/ 1/09 5:32am

The two main reasons we hear for swollen lymph nodes are infection and cancer, with infection being the more common reason.  Lymph nodes can swell anytime they are working to fight an infection.  It makes sense to me than an inflammatory condition might also cause swelling, but I don't know that for sure.  I don't know why hormonal changes would make a lymph node swell.  Keep in mind that most women have some breast tissue extending into the armpit area, and that tissue could change from the hormone fluctuations of perimenopause.  This article on armpit lumps can give you some more information. 

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Becky, Community Member
8/ 7/12 3:40pm

I don't know but I have the same problem. I am 45. I had a hysterrectomy two or three years ago. I have just had a mammogram which finally came back normal, an ultrasound on the armpit and they found nothing, a contrasting CT on the armpit and they found an enlarged lymphnode so today I am going for an ultrasound on my thyroid. I just recently starting having major hot flashes and night sweats. I quit smoking in April and I have gained alot of weight and my neck, shoulders and upper back kill me. The pain is so bad in my arm that it feels like there are tons of golf balls there and I can't even rest my arm down by my side. Whatever it is it is pinching a nerve or something because my arm is numb all the way down and I have pains in multiple locations that ache so bad I don't know what is wrong. When you find out please let me know vis this site.

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/ 7/12 5:10pm

Becky, don't give up on this - sounds like you've got one or more swollen lymph nodes, which can be very painful indeed. Since enlarged lymph nodes often indicate a systemic infection somewhere, I hope your doctor has ruled out a virus; or a bacterial infection, which might respond to antibiotics. Best of luck with the thyroid test - I hope it helps you get to the bottom of this, and that you get some relief from your pain soon. PJH

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jacqui, Community Member
3/25/14 6:08am

I also have the same! Im 44 yrs old. Still having regular menstrual cycle. 5 months ago I discovered a small tender lump under my left armpit. The doctor said it was a swollen lymph node & that i probably nicked myself shaving (which i know i didnt) I have numbness in my left arm & sometimes pain. I have had a brain scan, muscle & nerve testing (which they only did from the elbow down) & thankfully both came back fine. Ive even been sent for physio on my shoulder & neck & it hasnt changed a thing with regards to the numbness. The physio says I do have a lot of knots & tightness though. I have an appointment booked for a mammogram etc & im very nervous. I have also been severely anaemic & am on iron tablets. The lump & tenderness seems to be worst before my period. I hoping best case senario its just hormonal fluctuations & possibly a cyst pressing on a nerve? I will report back after my next tests. X

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/25/14 7:11am

Well, Jacqui, you're doing everything right - not ignoring the lump, getting some diagnostic tests, doing online research. Since the lump changes in synch with your period, all signs point to it being a cyst, as you surmise. However, since any breast (or armpit) change lasting longer than a month should be diagnosed and treated, if necessary, continue with the testing. In the meantime, try not to stress too much; as I said, luckily this doesn't sound like a breast cancer symptom. Take care - PJH

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jacqui, Community Member
3/25/14 10:01am

Thank you for your prompt & kind reply :-) its difficult not to worry but im trying my best. Online research & support is very helpful....although sometimes adds to worry, reading things like lymphoma etc. Hopefully i will be able to confirm good news after my next tests. X

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
3/25/14 10:26am

Jacqui, your doctors have been so proactive about checking for the causes of the numbness and pain in your arm that I think they would have also checked for lymphoma if your swollen node looked like a typical lymphoma case.  The fact that the node is changing with your menstrual cycle strongly suggests that this will turn out to be a problem related to hormones.  Keep doing what you are doing in the diagnostic process and try to stay busy with activities you enjoy to reduce the worry factor.  We look forward to hearing good news from your tests.

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By wondering, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/25/14, First Published: 11/30/09