5 Health Warnings From Your Underarms

Our underarms can send us warning signals when something's not quite right with our health. Here, we'll discover 5 health warning signs from your underarms.
5 Health Warnings From Your Underarms

Last update: 21 January, 2020

The underarms are an area of the body that we typically take good care of for both hygiene and beauty reasons. Due to their high number of sweat glands, they release fluids that can cause unpleasant odors. But what you may not know is that your underarms can send warning signs about your overall health.

While they often go unnoticed, many of the irregularities they present indicate that something is not quite right in the body. In the following article, we’ll share 5 warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Bad odor in your underarms

bad body odor underarms

Bad underarm odor is common in most people, and we have all experienced it before. The accumulation of sweat on the surface of the skin creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth, causing that strong acidic odor.

This disappears easily by taking a shower and, of course, by using deodorant and antiperspirant products every day. However, when the smell is too strong and persistent, your body might be alerting you to a thyroid problem or hormonal changes, as confirmed in this study carried out by the La Paz University Hospital in Madrid.

If the odor is similar to rotting fruit or nail polish, it may be related to a problem known as ketoacidosis, which affects the body’s ability to process sugars. Bad odors in the underarms act as a health warning, as they may be a sign of diabetes or prediabetes.

2. Itching

An itching sensation in the underarms area can be common when body hair begins to reappear after shaving. However, itchy underarms can also act as another health warning,

Usually it’s a sign of irritated skin. This could be due to razor burns or a reaction to chemicals in some creams and deodorants.

However, persistent itching, accompanied by red spots and dead cells, indicates the growth of a fungus in this area of the skin. In this case, it’s essential to consult with your doctor, as it may be necessary to use an antimycotic treatment.

3. Pain

Armpits underarms

Pain in your underarms can come from sore muscles caused by physical strain to the upper body. It’s common in those who lift very heavy objects or exercise with weights during their training routines.

This type of pain is sporadic and usually goes away on its own with a little rest. However, if it becomes a persistent problem and the pain increases, it’s best to consult with your doctor. In some cases, the pain may be a sign of swollen lymph nodes or lesions in the area.

To avoid strain to your underarms, don’t forget to stretch properly before and after doing sport, as highlighted in this study carried out by the University of Castilla La-Mancha.

4. Rashes in your underarms

The warm, moist environment that characterizes your underarms also increases your risk of yeast infections.

Over time, this can cause a rash, along with other symptoms including itching, redness and small hives. These reactions can also be the result of an allergy (according to this study conducted by the University of Chile), excess heat or chafing.

5. Lumps and inflammation

lumps in the underarms

Small blemishes in the armpits, similar to acne, appear when follicles become clogged, preventing hairs from coming to the surface.

These can be quite painful and, if not treated properly, could potentially become infected. Instead of extracting them with tweezers, it is recommended to exfoliate the skin until the hair is able to come out.

On the other hand, the formation of a lump or bulge of a notable size can be a warning sign of a problem in the lymphatic system. If these lumps can be felt easily, it’s a sign of inflamed lymph nodes.

This symptom indicates that your body is trying to fight a disease or infection, according to information from the Mayo Clinic.

If they don’t disappear, they may be a sign of a more serious health issue. The presence of a lump or bulge for several days or weeks can be an indication of a serious infection or even a malignant tumor, as shown in this study by the University of Chile.

Be sure to keep a close eye on it and consult with your doctor. This is key to knowing why it has appeared and how serious the condition may be.

How much attention do you pay to the signals that your underarms send you? Now that you know they can alert you to serious health problems, consult a specialist in the event of any irregularity.

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