swollen lymph nodes: What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Swollen lymph nodes; Swollen glands; Glands – swell; Lymph nodes – swell; Lymphadenopathy

Why do lymph nodes swell?

Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures, part of the body's lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs, that help the body get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The lymphatic system also helps fight infection and disease.. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, but most of them are concentrated on the neck, in the armpits and in the groin.

When the lymph nodes are working properly, they are usually small and inconspicuous. But, when they swell, they can become more visible and noticeable. Swollen lymph nodes may be a sign of an underlying disease, such as infection or cancer.

Term “swollen lymph nodes” refers to an enlargement of one or more lymph nodes. The medical name for swollen lymph nodes is lymphadenopathy..

In a child, the node is considered enlarged, if its width exceeds 1 centimeters.

The, where can you feel the lymph nodes with your fingers, include:

  • Smell
  • Armpit
  • Neck (there is a chain of lymph nodes on both sides of the front of the neck, on both sides of the neck and down each side of the back of the neck)
  • Under the jaw and chin
  • Behind the ears
  • On the back of the head

Causes of swollen lymph nodes

Infections are the most common cause of swollen lymph nodes.. Infection, that can cause them, include:

  • Abscess or impacted tooth
  • ear infections
  • Cold , flu and other infections
  • Edema (inflammation) right (gingivitis)
  • Mononucleosis
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Disease, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STD)
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Skin infections

Immune or autoimmune diseases, which can cause swollen lymph nodes:

  • HIV
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Cancer diseases, which can cause swollen lymph nodes, include:

  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Nehodzhkinskaya lymphoma

Many other types of cancer can also cause this problem..

Some medicines can cause swollen lymph nodes, including:

  • Anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin
  • Typhoid vaccine

Which lymph nodes are enlarged, depends on the cause and affected parts of the body. swollen lymph nodes, that come on suddenly and are painful, usually caused by injury or infection. Slow, painless swelling may be caused by cancer or a tumor.

Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes may be a symptom of an underlying disease, and symptoms may vary depending on the cause. In general, symptoms of swollen lymph nodes may include:

  • Swelling or swollen lymph nodes
  • Tenderness or pain in the affected area
  • Redness or fever in the affected area
  • Fever or chills
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss

When to contact a healthcare professional

If the lymph nodes are enlarged for more than two weeks or if they are accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue or unexplained weight loss, you should see a doctor. You should also see a doctor, if swollen lymph nodes are painful or in an unusual location, eg, under the arm or in the groin.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When You See Your Doctor About Swollen Lymph Nodes, it, probably, ask you some questions, to determine the cause. Some questions, which the doctor may ask, include:

  • When did you first notice swollen lymph nodes??
  • Are swollen lymph nodes painful??
  • Do you have any other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue or unexplained weight loss?
  • Have you recently been ill or had contact with someone, who was sick?
  • Do you have any medical conditions or are you taking any medications?

Diagnosis of swollen lymph nodes

To diagnose the cause of swollen lymph nodes, a health worker will conduct a physical examination and may order additional tests. Some tests, which can be fulfilled, include:

  • Blood test. Blood tests can help determine if there is an infection or any abnormalities in the blood..
  • Imaging Tests. Imaging Tests, such as computed tomography or ultrasound, can help determine, whether there are any abnormalities in the lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.
  • Biopsy. In some cases, a biopsy may be done to remove a tissue sample from a lymph node for examination under a microscope..

Treatment for swollen lymph nodes

Treatment for swollen lymph nodes depends on the underlying cause. In some cases no treatment is required, and enlarged lymph nodes will disappear on their own. In other cases, treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics. If the cause of swollen lymph nodes is an infection, They can be treated with antibiotics, to eliminate the infection.
  • Chemotherapy. If the cause of swollen lymph nodes is cancer, chemotherapy can be used to shrink or kill cancer cells.
  • Operation. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove lymph nodes or surrounding tissues., affected by cancer or other diseases.

home treatment for swollen lymph nodes

There are some home remedies, which may help relieve the symptoms of swollen lymph nodes, eg:

  • Recreation. Getting enough rest helps the body fight infections and reduce inflammation in the lymph nodes..
  • Warm compresses. Applying a warm compress to the affected area may help reduce swelling and relieve pain or discomfort..
  • gentle massage. Gently massaging the affected area can help stimulate the lymphatic system and promote drainage of the lymph nodes..
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out toxins and waste from the body., which will help reduce inflammation and speed up healing.

Prevention of swollen lymph nodes

There are several steps, you can take, to prevent swollen lymph nodes:

  • Observe the rules of hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face with dirty hands, to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Get vaccinated. Vaccines can help prevent certain infections, causing swollen lymph nodes.
  • Get regular exercise. Regular exercise strengthens the immune system and promotes healthy functioning of the lymphatic system..
  • Follow a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help provide the body with nutrients, needed to support immune system function and reduce inflammation.


Swollen Lymph Nodes Could Be a Sign of a Serious Illness, And it's important to see a doctor, if they persist or are accompanied by other symptoms. Understanding the reasons, symptoms and treatment options for swollen lymph nodes can help you take the appropriate steps to manage the condition and speed up healing. Taking steps to prevent swollen lymph nodes, you can support your overall health and well-being.

Used sources and literature

Tower RL, Camitta BM. Lymphadenopathy. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Bloom NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 517.

Winter JN. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 159.

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