Swollen Lymph Nodes And When To Worry About Them

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes are the oval-shaped collection of tissue in the lymphatic system, which plays the role of protecting the body against any infection. Lymph nodes store white blood cells, which are responsible for killing the infection entering the body.

When Do Lymph Nodes Swell?

When Do Lymph Nodes Swell?

Lymph nodes swell when exposed to bacteria and virus resulting in condition known as lymphadenitis. In rare cases, the swelling in the lymph nodes can be caused by cancer. The lymph nodes swell quickly, but take time to resolve.

Where are Lymph Nodes Present?

The common areas of the body you can notice swollen lymph nodes are. your neck, chin, armpits or in your groin.

What are the Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes?

The swelling of lymph nodes occurs due to the following infections. ear infection, flu, sinusitis, HIV infection, skin infection, streptococcal throat infection, infection of teeth, skin infection, immune system disorder and cancer.

There are also certain medications, which lead to an allergic reaction and swollen lymph nodes.

What are the Symptoms of Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Swelling in the lymph nodes indicates that there is something wrong in the body. The first sign of infection is an increase in the lymph node size. You might notice.

  • Tenderness in the swollen lymph nodes.
  • The swelling size of the lymph node can be as small as a pea and even as big as a kidney bean or even larger.
  • Depending on what site the lymph nodes are enlarged, the symptoms may be.
  • A runny nose, soreness in the throat, and fever indicate infection of the upper respiratory tract.
  • If the lymph nodes are swollen all over the body, it might indicate infections, such as mononucleosis, immune function disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fever due to infection.
  • Rapidly growing, hard and fixed nodes in case of a tumor/cancer.
  • Night sweats.

Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or on either side of the neck hurt a lot upon neck movement and chewing. Similarly, the swollen lymph nodes in the groin are painful when walking. In case there is a swelling of the lymph node and is very painful with no other symptom, it is always good to consult a doctor. Swollen lymph nodes could be a sign of a serious health condition, which might require an immediate doctor’s attention.

What are the Complications Associated with Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Swollen lymph node infection if left untreated can lead to complications such as.

Abscess. It is a localized collection of pus which is caused by an increase in infection. The pus fluid contains white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria. In such cases condition, treatment with antibiotics is required.

Infection in the Bloodstream. Infection in any part of the body can complicate to sepsis, which is the infection of the bloodstream. Sepsis can lead to organ failure and even loss of life. The patient needs to be hospitalized in such case. Intravenous antibiotics are used to treat the patient suffering from this complication associated with swollen lymph nodes.

When to Worry About Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Mostly the lymph nodes swell on a response to certain infection and subside in some time. But if you constantly observe the following symptoms along with swollen lymph nodes, then it might be a matter of concern.

  • Painful swelling of the lymph node.
  • The skin above the lymph node swelling is hot and red.
  • There is drainage of pus from the skin around the lymph node.
  • If there is constant fever, loss of appetite and weight loss with swollen lymph nodes.
  • If there is increased number of swollen lymph nodes.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 9, 2022

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