Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Painful?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of special types of cell known as Reed Sternberg cell. The other physical symptoms experienced by the patient include painless swelling in lymph node, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite and fatigue. At the initial stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not painful.

Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Painful?

In the initial stage, the symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma include the painless swelling in the lymph nodes. Lymphatic system, consisting of lymph nodes and the lymphatic organs, functions against the infection through the cells called as lymphocytes. The lymph nodes also swell when the body is fighting against bacteria or virus. But, the swelling in the lymph nodes due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma and due to infection has difference in their characteristics. The swelling in the lymph nodes due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma is painless and the lymph nodes are hard to touch while the swelling in lymph nodes in infection is painful and the lymph node is soft to tough. The lymph node in Hodgkin’s lymphoma is non-movable while the lymph node during infection is rubbery to touch and movable.

The painful swelling of lymph node during infection may be due to the inflammatory mediators which are generated as a response to bacteria or virus. Thus, at the very initial stage of lymphoma, patient experiences no pain and also experiences other symptoms such as weight loss, high fever and night sweats. However, in the advanced stage, the patient starts experiencing pain, not only at the lymph nodes but also at various sites in the body. Following are the reasons due to which pain can be experienced by the patient:

  1. Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient experiences pain as the lymph node grows as this may start creating pressure. This pain in more pronounced after drinking alcohol.
  2. If the Hodgkin’s lymphoma is spread in the organs such as abdomen or stomach, the fluid is filled in these cavities that may cause pain along with other symptoms such as diarrhea and indigestion. There might be swelling around the intestine in some cases.
  3. There are chances that the lymph nodes grow in size to such an extent that it put pressure on the veins leading to the swelling of arms or legs. That may also be the reason of pain.
  4. Also, the lymph nodes may put pressure on the nerves moving along, leading to neuropathy. The symptoms of neuropathy include pain, numbness and tingling sensation.
  5. In the advanced stage of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, people also experience back pain.
  6. In the advanced stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the immune system of body gets compromised and the patient is highly vulnerable to infection. The infection in the body leads to fever and body ache that may sometimes be moderate to severe.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Symptoms

Various symptoms are experienced by the patient of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While these symptoms may be due to various other diseases, they are important for diagnosing lymphoma or any other underlying disease at the very initial stage. Ignoring these symptoms may lead to complex treatment or may also prove fatal in some instances.

Following are the symptoms for lymphoma:

  • Painless swelling of the lymph node, which may become painful at the advanced stage.
  • High Fever.
  • Sudden weight loss in absence of any weight loss regimen.
  • Drenching night sweats.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Reduction in energy and feeling fatigue.
  • Breathlessness and coughing.
  • Headache.
  • Rashes ad itching on the body.
  • Tonsils may also get enlarged.

On the basis of analysis of three symptoms i.e. fever, weight loss and drenching night seats, lymphoma is sub-classified as A lymphoma or B lymphoma.


Generally, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of swelling lymph nodes which are not painful. However, in the advanced stages, due to large growth in lymph nodes and the due to the metastasis of lymphoma, the patient starts experiencing pain at the severely affected site. The reason for pain may be due to pressure created during large lymph node growth, pressure on the vein leading to swelling, pressure on the nerve leading to neuropathic pain and the pressure created due to accumulation of water in the cavities such as abdomen and stomach. In some cases, swelling of the intestine is also observed.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2021

Recent Posts

Related Posts