What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands throughout the body. They become part of the lymph system, which brings fluid (lymph fluid), nutrients, and waste product between the body tissues and the bloodstream.
The lymph system is a vital part of the body immune system, the body’s defense system versus disease. The lymph nodes filter lymph fluid as it streams through them, trapping bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances, which are then ruined by special white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Lymph nodes may be discovered singly or in groups. And they may be as small as the head of a pin or as big as an olive. Groups of lymph nodes can be felt in the neck, groin, and underarms. Lymph nodes normally are not tender or painful. Most lymph nodes in the body can not be felt.
Main Reasons for Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck
Lymph nodes often swell in one location when a problem such as an injury, infection, or tumor establishes in or near the lymph node. Which lymph nodes are swollen can help recognize the issue.
- The glands on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears typically swell when you have a cold or sore throat. Glands can likewise swell following an injury, such as a cut or bite, near the gland or when a growth or infection happens in the mouth, head, or neck.
- Glands in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) might swell from an injury or infection to the arm or hand. A rare reason of axillary swelling may be breast cancer or lymphoma.
- The lymph nodes in the groin (femoral or inguinal lymph nodes) might swell from an injury or infection in the foot, leg, groin, or genitals. In uncommon cases, testicular cancer, lymphoma, or melanoma might cause a swelling in this area.
- Glands above the collarbone (supraclavicular lymph nodes) may swell from an infection or tumor in the areas of the lungs, breasts, neck, or abdominal area.
Typical sites for swollen lymph nodes include the neck, groin, and underarms.
What does it indicate when lymph nodes swell in two or more areas of the body?
When lymph nodes swell in two or more areas of the body, it is called generalized lymphadenopathy. This might be caused by:
- A viral health problem, such as measles, rubella, chickenpox (varicella), or mumps.
- Mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), which leads to fever, sore throat, and tiredness, or cytomegalovirus (CMV), a viral infection that causes symptoms similar to those of mononucleosis.
- A bacterial disease, such as strep throat (caused by the streptococcus bacterium) or Lyme disease (a bacterial infection spread by particular types of ticks).
- Side effects of phenytoin (Dilantin), a medication used to prevent seizures.
- Side effects of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination.
- Cancer, such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Obtained immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which establishes after a person agreements HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This virus assaults the immune system, making it tough for the body to fight off infection and some disease.
- Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection.
How are swollen lymph nodes treated?
Treatment for swollen glands concentrates on treating the cause. For instance, a bacterial infection might be treated with antibiotics, while a viral infection typically goes away on its own. If cancer is thought, a biopsy might be done to validate the diagnosis.
Any swollen lymph nodes that do not go away or return to regular size within about a month ought to be checked by your doctor.
For how long will lymph nodes in the neck stay swollen?
Lymph nodes in your neck might remain swollen or firm long after a preliminary infection is gone. This is particularly true in children, whose glands might decrease in size while remaining firm and noticeable for numerous weeks.