Saturday, January 19, 2013

Natural Therapy for Lymphadenopathy or Painful Axillary Lymph Nodes in the Breast, Armpit or Groin

Breast Cancer Prevention - Addressing Painful Axillary Lymph Nodes in the Breast or Lymphadenopathy

What to do when you have a swollen gland or lymph node in your armpit or around the side of the breast?  This is a major question we receive from our clients and individuals who read our blog and lymphatic therapy focused articles.  The gland or swollen mass you feel is what we call your axillary lymph node(s).
Normally axillary lymph nodes are not felt. However, sometimes in normal people, they are felt as small (less than 1cm in diameter), soft, non-tender swellings. Large tender but mobile lymph nodes usually indicate infections or small wounds of the arm (often from a skin infection or a cat scratch). Harder, fixed or matted axillary nodes often indicate malignancy usually from the lung or breast and require immediate attention. 

There are many ways your doctor will address these swollen lymph nodes.  Often there is a batter of testing - mostly CT scans, sometimes an ultrasound/imaging of the breast and perhaps blood tests to observe your immune system response.  It can be a very scary process as the "C" word looms in the back of your head.  Before you go down that path, here are a few things to note about the causes of lymphadenopathy.  This will arm you with information so you can relay to your doctor or medical team potential causes so they can rule out that dreaded "C" word.   

Common Lymphadenopathy causes: Infections, cat-scratch disease, lymphoma, breast cancer, silicone implants, brucellosis, melanoma.
The variety of causes of axillary lymphadenopathy:
  • Bacterial
    • localized infection, possibly somewhere in the arm or breast draining into the glands of the armpit, or infection within the armpit itself
    • cat scratch disease
    • ascending lymphangitis
    • lymphadenitis, lymphangitis
  • Viral
    • infectious mononucleosis
    • chickenpox
    • herpes zoster (shingles)
    • HIV disease (AIDS)
  • Malignant
    • Hodgkin's lymphoma
    • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
    • leukemia
    • Breast cancer
    • Lung cancer
  • Fungal
    • sporotrichosis
  • Antigenic
    • smallpox vaccination
    • typhoid vaccine
    • measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (rare)
    • allergic reaction possibly caused by sulfa drugs, iodine, or penicillin
Here at Healthy Being Wellness Center, we use a series of lymphatic drainage massage therapy sessions to alleviate the swelling and enhance lymphatic health.  We see cases where our clients have been told their lymphadenopathy is not cancer related, but are recommended surgery to remove the tender and swollen lymph node.
Yikes (!) this is not the best of treatment options with regard to long term lymphatic health impairments and potential conditions like lymphedema.  Instead, we can provide lymphatic drainage therapy to help break up lymphatic congestion and minimize the pain and swelling of that node(s).  We'll often see reduction in pain immediately and size within a few weeks of treatment or less.

If you have any questions, please contact us or email us directly. 

Healthy Being Wellness Center
7005 4th St N Suite 3
St. Petersburg, Fl 33702
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