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Are armpit nodes part of normal anatomy?
Sep 23, 2002

You say that arm pit and groin pit nodes are very common. Deep in one of my armpits I can feel about 3 lymph nodes in the 1 to 1.5 cm range. They have not seemed to increase in size over the past several months and are very mobile. Would you consider these normal anatomy even after testing HIV negative, or should I have them checked out by a physician? Thank you

Response from Dr. Dezube

Arm pit nodes and groin pit nodes are indeed very common since are arms and legs constantly get scratched, even if we don't know it. The nodes then swell to fight off infections. The lymph nodes of many, if not most HIV-infected patients, exist is a chronically enlarged state-- this is their bodys' attempt at fighting off an infection.

The arm pit nodes that you are describing-- 3 in the arm pit in the 1- 1.5 cm range are not part of normal anatomy. I would indeed encourage you to have them checked out if they persist for more than 1 month. In HIV-negative patients, such lymph nodes should regress over the course of a month.

I can't tell what sex or age you are from your e-mail. If you are a woman, your doctor may want to do a mammogram to see if something in your breast could help explain the arm pit nodes. Lastly I should mention that cat scratches, particularly kitten scratches, are notorious for producing large arm pit nodes.

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