Because of their highly specialized training, the ENT is the doctor to see if you have any of these symptoms:. Your ENT doctor not only treats your ears, nose and throat; they treat your lymphatic system too. Breathe On. Live On. The lymph system and immune response The lymphatic system is critical to fighting disease. Your thymus, bone marrow and spleen are the major organs of the lymph system organs. These are the parts of the system that produce the immune system T cells and B cells. Lymph Nodes Glands. These bits of tissue trap bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances as the lymph passes through the body.
You hundreds of these bean sized nodes all over your body. You are probably most familiar with the ones that are on the throat, behind your ears, and under your jaw.
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When swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection, this is known as lymphadenitis lim-fad-uh-NIE-tis. Rarely, swollen lymph nodes are caused by cancer.
Swollen Lymph Nodes: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Your lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, play a vital role in your body's ability to fight off viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses. Common areas where you might notice swollen lymph nodes include your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin. In some cases, the passage of time and warm compresses may be all you need to treat swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for lymphadenitis depends on the cause.
What causes lymphadenitis?
Your lymphatic system comprises a network of organs, vessels and numerous lymph nodes situated throughout your body. Most of your lymph nodes are located in your head and neck region. Lymph nodes that frequently swell are in this area, as well as in your armpits and groin area. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that something is wrong somewhere in your body.
When your lymph nodes first swell, you might notice:. Depending on the cause of your swollen lymph nodes, other signs and symptoms you might have include:. Some swollen lymph nodes return to normal when the underlying condition, such as a minor infection, resolves. However, see your doctor if you're concerned or if your swollen lymph nodes:. A lymph node is a small, round or bean-shaped cluster of cells covered by a capsule of connective tissue. The cells are a combination of lymphocytes — which produce protein particles that capture invaders, such as viruses — and macrophages, which break down the captured material.
Lymphocytes and macrophages filter your lymphatic fluid as it travels through your body and protect you by destroying invaders. Lymph nodes are located in groups, and each group drains a specific area of your body. You may be more likely to notice swelling in certain areas, such as in the lymph nodes in your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin.
The site of the swollen lymph nodes may help identify the underlying cause. The most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is an infection, particularly a viral infection, such as the common cold. However, there are other types of infections, including parasitic and bacterial, and other possible causes of swollen lymph nodes. They include:. Other possible, but rare causes include certain medications, such as the anti-seizure medication phenytoin Dilantin , and preventive medications for malaria. If infection is the cause of your swollen lymph nodes and isn't treated, these complications might occur:.
If you have swollen lymph nodes, you're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor. However, when you call to set up your appointment, you may be urged to seek immediate medical care if you're experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swallowing. Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to discuss in-depth. Your doctor may ask:. While you wait for your appointment, warm compresses and OTC pain relievers, such as ibuprofen Advil, Motrin IB, others and acetaminophen Tylenol, others , may make you or your child more comfortable.
Don't give aspirin to your child without first consulting with your child's doctor, because of its link to the harmful Reye's syndrome. Lymph node biopsy. If your doctor can't pin down the diagnosis, it may be helpful to remove a sample from a lymph node or even an entire lymph node for microscopic examination. The method of biopsy may be fine-needle aspiration FNA , which your doctor may perform during an office visit, or you may be referred to a surgeon or radiologist for this procedure. In FNA, the doctor inserts a thin, hollow needle into the lymph node and removes aspirates cells, which are then sent to a lab for study.
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Ultrasound — a noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves to create images of organs and tissues — may be used to guide the needle and ensure accuracy. In some cases, you may require an excisional biopsy. This type of biopsy — also called surgical biopsy — removes a portion or all of a lymph node through an incision for analysis. A surgeon performs this procedure while using local or general anesthetics. Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:.
If your swollen lymph nodes are tender or painful, you might get some relief by doing the following:. State Location Phone No. Home All Diseases Swollen lymph nodes. Swollen Lymph Nodes Treatment, Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis in India Swollen lymph nodes usually occur as a result of exposure to bacteria or viruses. These recipes focus on antioxidant-rich foods to better protect you and your loved ones. Sign up and get your guide! There was an error. Please try again.
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American Family Physician. Lymphadenopathy and Malignancy. Gaddey, H. Unexplained Lymphadenopathy: Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis. View All. More in Lymphoma. You can find lymph nodes in the following areas of your body:. Back of the head occipital Front of the ear preauricular Behind the ear postauricular Under the jaw submandibular Under the chin submental Cheek area facial Front of the neck anterior cervical Back of the neck posterior cervical Above the collarbone supraclavicular Behind the knee popliteal In the armpit axillary Below the ear epitrochlear Groin area inguinal.
Redness at lymph node site Localized tenderness or pain Warmth at the lymph node site Hard, irregular, or fixed in place lymph nodes. Depending on what's causing the swollen lymph nodes, you may also experience:.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Persistent or unexplained fever Unintentional weight loss Fatigue Night Sweats. Other causes of swollen lymph nodes include:. Strep throat Mononucleosis Upper respiratory infection Ear infections Severe hay fever Skin and wound infections Insect bites Tooth abscesses Certain medications e.