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Can a cold cause swollen lymph nodes in armpit: Swollen lymph nodes in armpit: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Swollen lymph nodes in armpit: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system. A swollen lymph node in the armpit may be a sign of a bacterial or viral infection, an injury, or a serious health condition, such as cancer.

The possible causes of lymph node swelling range in severity from common infections that typically resolve on their own to more serious conditions, such as lymphoma.

In this article, we look at why lymph nodes swell, the most common causes of this symptom, and when to consult a doctor.

When a person has an infection or injury, the lymph nodes may swell as they start to filter unwanted cells from the lymph.

Lymph is a watery fluid that carries oxygen to the cells and transports waste products away from them. It also contains white blood cells, which help fight infections.

As the lymph nodes begin to work harder to remove waste, they can enlarge. This enlargement is more common in certain areas of the body, including the neck, armpits, and groin.

A swollen lymph node may be painful and tender to the touch. In some cases, it will be visibly enlarged under the skin, but in others, it will be smaller or deeper in the body and only apparent when touching the area.

Many viruses can cause swollen lymph nodes. These include:

  • varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella
  • HIV

Infections with these viruses usually produce other visible symptoms, such as a rash.

However, other viral conditions can cause swollen lymph nodes with no other visible symptoms. These include:

Influenza (flu)

The flu is a respiratory infection that can also cause the lymph nodes to swell. The symptoms of the flu are similar to those of other respiratory viruses, but they tend to be more severe. They also often develop suddenly rather than gradually.

Other symptoms of the flu include:

  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • a cough
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headaches
  • fever or chills

Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur, but these symptoms are more common in children.

While a person has the flu, they should stay at home and rest, avoiding contact with others. Most people recover from the flu without treatment, but it can sometimes cause complications.

People who are most at risk of complications include:

  • young children
  • adults over 65 years of age
  • pregnant people
  • people with underlying health conditions

People in these groups may need antiviral medication to prevent severe symptoms. Getting a flu vaccine each year is the best way to avoid getting the flu.

Infectious mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono or glandular fever, is the result of a viral infection. It can cause lymph nodes in the neck and armpits to swell. Mono also causes symptoms such as:

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • swelling in the liver, spleen, or both
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • headaches

Mono will eventually go away on its own. Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but some experience symptoms for longer. Resting, drinking fluids, and taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help during recovery.

Bacterial infections can also cause the lymph nodes to swell. Some examples of infections that could affect the nodes in the armpit include:

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a skin infection. It occurs when bacteria penetrate the skin and infect the deeper layers, potentially as a result of an injury that led to an area of broken skin.

Cellulitis may cause nearby lymph nodes to swell. For example, an infection in the arm may cause the lymph nodes in the armpit to enlarge. Common symptoms of cellulitis at the infection site include:

  • pain and swelling
  • skin sores
  • skin that is warm to the touch
  • redness, which may be less apparent in people with dark skin tones
  • hardening of the skin
  • fluid collection under the skin

Additional symptoms of cellulitis may include:

  • fever or chills
  • body aches
  • muscle and joint pain
  • vomiting and nausea
  • fatigue

Doctors treat cellulitis with antibiotics. A person may need to stay in the hospital if the infection is severe or they require IV antibiotics, which a doctor administers directly into a vein.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease spreads via the saliva of certain species of tick, which are small insects that can bite humans. One of the early symptoms of Lyme disease is swollen lymph nodes, which may appear 3–30 days after the tick bite occurred.

Other early symptoms include:

  • a circular rash resembling a bull’s-eye at the site of the bite
  • fever
  • chills
  • joint or muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • headaches

A doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. Anyone who suspects that they have this condition should seek medical attention promptly.

Other bacterial infections that can cause swollen lymph nodes include:

  • chlamydia
  • syphilis
  • tuberculosis

However, these infections typically affect the lymph nodes in other areas of the body, such as the neck or groin. They are less likely to cause swelling in the armpits.

Bacteria and viruses are not always responsible for swollen lymph nodes in the armpit. Other possible causes include:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of several autoimmune conditions that can cause swollen lymph nodes.

RA occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing stiffness, pain, and warmth.

A 2019 review article states that RA affects the lymph nodes, reducing their capacity to drain fluid from nearby inflamed joints. This impairment may lead to local lymph node enlargement.

Doctors treat RA with medications that reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Physical therapy may also help. In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to replace or repair affected joints.

Cancer

In some cases, swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of cancer.

Cancer that begins in the lymphatic system is known as lymphoma. There are several types of lymphoma, including:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
  • Waldenström macroglobulinemia
  • lymphoma of the skin

In addition to swollen lymph nodes, the symptoms of lymphoma can include:

  • unintentional weight loss
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • night sweats

Other types of cancer that have spread to the lymph nodes, such as breast cancer, can also cause swelling in these parts of the body.

The type and stage of the cancer, as well as a person’s age and overall health, will affect what treatment doctors recommend.

However, it is worth remembering that there are many causes of swollen lymph nodes that are not related to cancer.

A doctor can determine the cause of swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and recommend the best treatment. They may ask about the person’s symptoms, review their medical history, and perform a physical examination.

In some cases, a doctor may also carry out diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, a biopsy, or medical imaging.

In most cases, the swelling in lymph nodes under the armpit will resolve within 1–2 weeks.

If the swelling lasts for longer or worsens over time, a person should speak with a doctor.

Swollen lymph nodes can be painful. While a person receives medical treatment, they can also try certain techniques at home to ease any tenderness.

For instance, a person can apply a warm compress to reduce pain. They can run warm or hot water over a washcloth and wring it mostly dry before placing it on the swollen lymph node.

People can also take OTC pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve pain. A person should talk with their doctor if they are not sure what medications are best for them.

Anyone with swollen lymph nodes in their armpit should talk with a doctor. Swollen lymph nodes have many potential causes, and a doctor can rule out possibilities that require prompt treatment, such as Lyme disease.

Although swollen lymph nodes often result from an infection, it is important for a person to schedule an appointment if:

  • the swelling continues for more than 2 weeks or worsens after this time
  • the lump feels hard or does not move when a person touches it
  • there is swelling in lymph nodes in more than one area — for example, in both the neck and armpits
  • the swollen lymph nodes are not painful
  • there are other symptoms, such as fever, night sweats, or unexplained weight loss

A person should also consult their doctor about swollen lymph nodes if they have previously had cancer treatment.

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can be a sign of common viral infections, such as the flu or mono. They can also occur as a result of a bacterial infection or RA. In some cases, swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of cancer.

Warm compresses and OTC pain medication can ease any pain or tenderness. However, a person should talk with a doctor if they have swollen lymph nodes with no clear cause.

Swollen lymph nodes in armpit: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system. A swollen lymph node in the armpit may be a sign of a bacterial or viral infection, an injury, or a serious health condition, such as cancer.

The possible causes of lymph node swelling range in severity from common infections that typically resolve on their own to more serious conditions, such as lymphoma.

In this article, we look at why lymph nodes swell, the most common causes of this symptom, and when to consult a doctor.

When a person has an infection or injury, the lymph nodes may swell as they start to filter unwanted cells from the lymph.

Lymph is a watery fluid that carries oxygen to the cells and transports waste products away from them. It also contains white blood cells, which help fight infections.

As the lymph nodes begin to work harder to remove waste, they can enlarge. This enlargement is more common in certain areas of the body, including the neck, armpits, and groin.

A swollen lymph node may be painful and tender to the touch. In some cases, it will be visibly enlarged under the skin, but in others, it will be smaller or deeper in the body and only apparent when touching the area.

Many viruses can cause swollen lymph nodes. These include:

  • varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella
  • HIV

Infections with these viruses usually produce other visible symptoms, such as a rash.

However, other viral conditions can cause swollen lymph nodes with no other visible symptoms. These include:

Influenza (flu)

The flu is a respiratory infection that can also cause the lymph nodes to swell. The symptoms of the flu are similar to those of other respiratory viruses, but they tend to be more severe. They also often develop suddenly rather than gradually.

Other symptoms of the flu include:

  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • a cough
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headaches
  • fever or chills

Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur, but these symptoms are more common in children.

While a person has the flu, they should stay at home and rest, avoiding contact with others. Most people recover from the flu without treatment, but it can sometimes cause complications.

People who are most at risk of complications include:

  • young children
  • adults over 65 years of age
  • pregnant people
  • people with underlying health conditions

People in these groups may need antiviral medication to prevent severe symptoms. Getting a flu vaccine each year is the best way to avoid getting the flu.

Infectious mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono or glandular fever, is the result of a viral infection. It can cause lymph nodes in the neck and armpits to swell. Mono also causes symptoms such as:

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • swelling in the liver, spleen, or both
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • headaches

Mono will eventually go away on its own. Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but some experience symptoms for longer. Resting, drinking fluids, and taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help during recovery.

Bacterial infections can also cause the lymph nodes to swell. Some examples of infections that could affect the nodes in the armpit include:

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a skin infection. It occurs when bacteria penetrate the skin and infect the deeper layers, potentially as a result of an injury that led to an area of broken skin.

Cellulitis may cause nearby lymph nodes to swell. For example, an infection in the arm may cause the lymph nodes in the armpit to enlarge. Common symptoms of cellulitis at the infection site include:

  • pain and swelling
  • skin sores
  • skin that is warm to the touch
  • redness, which may be less apparent in people with dark skin tones
  • hardening of the skin
  • fluid collection under the skin

Additional symptoms of cellulitis may include:

  • fever or chills
  • body aches
  • muscle and joint pain
  • vomiting and nausea
  • fatigue

Doctors treat cellulitis with antibiotics. A person may need to stay in the hospital if the infection is severe or they require IV antibiotics, which a doctor administers directly into a vein.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease spreads via the saliva of certain species of tick, which are small insects that can bite humans. One of the early symptoms of Lyme disease is swollen lymph nodes, which may appear 3–30 days after the tick bite occurred.

Other early symptoms include:

  • a circular rash resembling a bull’s-eye at the site of the bite
  • fever
  • chills
  • joint or muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • headaches

A doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. Anyone who suspects that they have this condition should seek medical attention promptly.

Other bacterial infections that can cause swollen lymph nodes include:

  • chlamydia
  • syphilis
  • tuberculosis

However, these infections typically affect the lymph nodes in other areas of the body, such as the neck or groin. They are less likely to cause swelling in the armpits.

Bacteria and viruses are not always responsible for swollen lymph nodes in the armpit. Other possible causes include:

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of several autoimmune conditions that can cause swollen lymph nodes.

RA occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing stiffness, pain, and warmth.

A 2019 review article states that RA affects the lymph nodes, reducing their capacity to drain fluid from nearby inflamed joints. This impairment may lead to local lymph node enlargement.

Doctors treat RA with medications that reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Physical therapy may also help. In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to replace or repair affected joints.

Cancer

In some cases, swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of cancer.

Cancer that begins in the lymphatic system is known as lymphoma. There are several types of lymphoma, including:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children
  • Waldenström macroglobulinemia
  • lymphoma of the skin

In addition to swollen lymph nodes, the symptoms of lymphoma can include:

  • unintentional weight loss
  • feeling tired
  • fever
  • night sweats

Other types of cancer that have spread to the lymph nodes, such as breast cancer, can also cause swelling in these parts of the body.

The type and stage of the cancer, as well as a person’s age and overall health, will affect what treatment doctors recommend.

However, it is worth remembering that there are many causes of swollen lymph nodes that are not related to cancer.

A doctor can determine the cause of swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and recommend the best treatment. They may ask about the person’s symptoms, review their medical history, and perform a physical examination.

In some cases, a doctor may also carry out diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, a biopsy, or medical imaging.

In most cases, the swelling in lymph nodes under the armpit will resolve within 1–2 weeks.

If the swelling lasts for longer or worsens over time, a person should speak with a doctor.

Swollen lymph nodes can be painful. While a person receives medical treatment, they can also try certain techniques at home to ease any tenderness.

For instance, a person can apply a warm compress to reduce pain. They can run warm or hot water over a washcloth and wring it mostly dry before placing it on the swollen lymph node.

People can also take OTC pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve pain. A person should talk with their doctor if they are not sure what medications are best for them.

Anyone with swollen lymph nodes in their armpit should talk with a doctor. Swollen lymph nodes have many potential causes, and a doctor can rule out possibilities that require prompt treatment, such as Lyme disease.

Although swollen lymph nodes often result from an infection, it is important for a person to schedule an appointment if:

  • the swelling continues for more than 2 weeks or worsens after this time
  • the lump feels hard or does not move when a person touches it
  • there is swelling in lymph nodes in more than one area — for example, in both the neck and armpits
  • the swollen lymph nodes are not painful
  • there are other symptoms, such as fever, night sweats, or unexplained weight loss

A person should also consult their doctor about swollen lymph nodes if they have previously had cancer treatment.

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can be a sign of common viral infections, such as the flu or mono. They can also occur as a result of a bacterial infection or RA. In some cases, swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of cancer.

Warm compresses and OTC pain medication can ease any pain or tenderness. However, a person should talk with a doctor if they have swollen lymph nodes with no clear cause.

symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

General practitioner

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Natalia Vladimirovna

Experience 22 years

First category district physician

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Lymphadenitis is a disease of the lymph nodes with specific or nonspecific infection. The patient usually feels unwell, weak, sore, and noticeably swollen lymph nodes. The reaction in the form of inflammation and hyperthermia is due to the protective function of the lymphatic system. It provides protection to the body from the spread of infection.

The disease itself in most stories does not proceed independently, but as a complication of the root cause. The smallest bacteria enter the lymph through the mucous membranes or broken skin.

With lymphadenitis, the following types of lymph nodes are affected:

  • neck;
  • elbow;
  • submandibular;
  • popliteal;
  • inguinal;
  • axillary.

Symptoms and signs of lymphadenitis

The main signs or symptoms of lymphadenitis in adults are:

  • suppuration;
  • boils;
  • phlegmon;
  • hyperemia of the skin near the lymph nodes;
  • pain in the region of the lymph nodes;
  • migraines;
  • lack of appetite or marked decrease;
  • general malaise;
  • puffiness.

Further, accumulation of pus and an abscess may occur. If you do not open it in a timely manner, then the contents have a risk of breaking through, causing fever, tachycardia and damage to the body with toxins.

The disease “lymphadenitis” in an already persistent chronic form is not accompanied by acute discomfort. A slight swelling persists, the pain is mild.

Causes

To deal with the disease, you need to understand the main causes of lymphadenitis, which can occur in men, women and children. Lymphadenitis in adults is formed due to the impact and active reproduction of staphylococci, streptococci. The cause of the disease is also their decay products and released toxins. They penetrate into the lymph by contact, lymphogenous and hematogenous routes.

As a result of infection, the infection quickly adapts to new conditions, begins its active reproduction and spread throughout the body.

Ways of infection

The primary cause of a secondary disease can be:

  • trophic ulcers;
  • osteomyelitis;
  • caries;
  • otitis;
  • influenza;
  • tonsillitis;
  • angina;
  • tuberculosis;
  • gonorrhea;
  • plague;
  • anthrax;
  • syphilis;
  • tularemia.

Therefore, if you have the diseases listed above, then try to eliminate them as soon as possible. This will help to avoid a secondary infection, which is quite difficult to deal with.

Types of disease

Lymphadenitis itself is divided into different types depending on the chosen classification:

  • according to the intensity and duration of inflammation – acute, chronic, recurrent;
  • by etiology – specific, non-specific;
  • according to the nature of the ongoing inflammation – purulent, serous;
  • according to the place of localization – submandibular, axillary, inguinal, cervical, parotid.

Possible complications

The diagnosis of “lymphadenitis” is a good reason to see a doctor and immediately begin treatment. Otherwise, serious consequences are not excluded, which can manifest themselves through:

  • fistula;
  • thrombophlebitis;
  • septicopyemia.

If a fistula breaks into the esophagus or into the bronchi, then there is a high probability of developing mediastinitis, the formation of bronchopulmonary or esophageal fistulas.

Against the background of chronic lymphadenitis, purulent processes often occur in the form of sepsis or adenophlegmon. Lymph flow is disturbed, scars are formed, and healthy tissues are replaced by connective ones.

When to see a doctor

Lymphadenitis is treated by a vascular surgeon. It is necessary to make an appointment for an initial appointment immediately after the first symptoms of lymphadenitis are detected. The disease is actively developing, bringing pain, discomfort and a threat to the whole organism. Therefore, do not delay with a visit to a specialist.

You can get the help of a vascular surgeon or the help of other specialists at JSC “Medicina” (clinic of Academician Roitberg). We employ professionals in their field who can quickly eliminate lymphadenitis of the lymph nodes. They will select a comprehensive individual treatment, taking into account the existing diseases, age and condition of the patients.

How is lymphadenitis diagnosed

Diagnosis of lymphadenitis of the face, neck, armpits is carried out by collecting an anamnesis and a combination of clinical manifestations. It is more difficult to deal with severe forms of the disease, against the background of which complications have already arisen.

The doctor needs to determine the root cause, the source of the appearance of lymphadenitis, and select the appropriate treatment.

Also used for diagnosis:

  • puncture;
  • Mantoux and Pirquet test for tubercle bacillus;
  • chest x-ray;
  • palpation of enlarged lymph nodes;
  • CT and MRI of affected segments.

Usually, infectious disease specialists, venereologists, and phthisiatricians are also involved in the study of the disease. Specialists may prescribe:

  • complete blood count;
  • HIV test;
  • ENT examination;
  • Ultrasound of lymph nodes and abdominal organs.

Treatment

Treatment of lymphadenitis in an adult with its catarrhal or hyperplastic form is carried out by conservative methods. To do this, connect:

  • keeping the patient at rest;
  • antibiotic therapy;
  • UHF;
  • electrophoresis;
  • galvanization;
  • rest of the affected area of ​​the body;
  • taking vitamins.

Additionally, drugs and ointments with a good anti-inflammatory effect that work at the local level are used.

Particular attention is paid to the treatment of lymphadenitis with antibiotics. Before this, it is necessary to conduct a test for the sensitivity of microorganisms to different types of antibiotics. Choose those drugs to which pathogens are especially sensitive.

If we are talking about purulent lymphadenitis, then you will need to open the abscesses, remove their contents and sanitize the affected areas.

If a tubercle bacillus is detected, the patient is sent for treatment in a hospital. This will help to constantly monitor the patient, control his treatment and protect other people from potential infection.

To treat the chronic form of the disease, you need to find and cure the main reason why the lymph nodes suffer. Only this will help to completely get rid of the disease, and never think about it again.

Prophylaxis

To prevent acute lymphadenitis in adults, some recommendations must be followed. As a preventive measure, it is recommended not to allow:

  • microtrauma;
  • cracks;
  • abrasions;
  • abrasions.

In the event of the appearance of foci of infection (tonsillitis, caries, boils), you need to deal with them promptly. This will help to avoid the formation of axillary, submandibular, cervical, inguinal lymphadenitis.

How to make an appointment with a specialist

To get the help of a vascular surgeon in the treatment of chronic or acute lymphadenitis, you can make an appointment at JSC “Medicina” (clinic of Academician Roitberg). Calls to +7 (495) 775-73-60 are accepted around the clock.

The clinic is located in the Central Administrative District of Moscow near the metro stations Mayakovskaya, Belorusskaya, Novoslobodskaya, Tverskaya, Chekhovskaya. Address: 2nd Tverskoy-Yamskoy lane, 10.

Lymphadenitis: symptoms, causes, treatment

  1. What are lymph nodes and why are they needed
  2. Appearance of lymphadenitis
  3. Diseases causing lymphadenitis
  4. Specific lymphadenitis in adults and children
  5. Disease types
  6. Symptoms
  7. Why is lymphadenitis dangerous
  8. Diagnosis and treatment
  9. Surgical treatment
  10. Prophylaxis

Image by Photoroyalty on Shutterstock

Lymphadenitis is an inflammation of one or more lymph nodes. The disease can occur for various reasons, be primary or be a symptom of another disease. With lymphadenitis, the affected node increases in size, becomes painful. This is accompanied by weakness and fever, headache. Conservative and surgical methods are used to treat the disease.

What are lymph nodes and why are they needed

Lymph nodes, along with lymphatic vessels, are elements of the lymphatic system. It is involved in the fight against infections and helps the outflow of fluid from various organs and tissues. A healthy lymph node resembles a bean in shape and size. The nodes are located on different parts of the body along the lymphatic vessels.

The function of the lymph nodes is to capture pathogenic microbes and toxins, filtering the lymph. When touching healthy lymph nodes, a person may feel small bumps under the skin, but this does not cause discomfort or pain. Their appearance, as well as an increase in the size of the lymph node, indicates that an inflammatory process is taking place in the tissues.

Appearance of lymphadenitis

Inflammation of the lymph node is a protective reaction of the body when exposed to infection. If there is a purulent focus in the body, pathogenic microbes and the toxins they secrete move with the lymph flow, penetrate into the regional lymph nodes, which leads to the development of an inflammatory process. In some cases, the pathogen enters the lymphatic system through damaged skin or mucous membranes.

According to statistics, the lymph nodes that are most susceptible to inflammation are located under the jaws, on the neck, in the armpits. Elbow, popliteal and inguinal lymph nodes are also prone to inflammatory reactions, but they are less common in these areas.

Diseases causing lymphadenitis

Depending on the causative agent of the disease, inflammation of the lymph nodes can be nonspecific and specific. Mostly nonspecific lymphadenitis occurs. It is caused by staphylococci and streptococci. The inflammatory process develops in the following diseases:

As a rule, against the background of such diseases, those lymph nodes that are closest to the affected area become inflamed. In some cases, the node becomes inflamed after the primary focus of inflammation has been eliminated.

The disease in adults can be triggered by tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis media and other diseases of the upper respiratory tract. As a rule, these pathologies lead to inflammation of the cervical and submandibular lymph nodes. In children, lymphadenitis occurs in connection with scarlet fever and parotitis, diathesis, pustular skin lesions.

Fungal and parasitic diseases provoke generalized lymphadenitis. With it, the lymph nodes in different parts of the body become inflamed. Oncological diseases, blood diseases, autoimmune processes, HIV infection and other diseases that provoke immunodeficiency states can also lead to the defeat of several lymph nodes.

Patients with varicose veins, diabetes mellitus, chronic inflammatory diseases, and carious teeth are at high risk. The disease can affect immunocompromised people who often get colds. Bad habits and unbalanced nutrition, lack of vitamins needed by the body in the diet affect the state of the lymphatic system negatively.

Specific lymphadenitis in adults and children

The disease is caused by pathogens of tuberculosis, anthrax, syphilis, gonorrhea, and other infectious diseases. Each type has its own course. With gonorrheal lymphadenitis, the lymph nodes in the groin area increase and become inflamed. In tuberculosis, the inflammation is chronic and periodically exacerbates, manifests itself as an increase in temperature, necrosis of the tissues of the node. In patients with syphilis, the lymph nodes are enlarged and can move under the skin. Touching the affected areas does not cause pain.

Disease types

Depending on the number of affected lymph nodes, lymphadenitis can be regional and generalized. In the regional form of the disease, one or more nodes of one anatomical zone are affected. With a generalized form of inflammation, it affects several different anatomical zones.

Depending on the nature of the disease, acute and chronic lymphadenitis is distinguished. With the development of acute inflammation, three stages are noted:

  • Catarrhal. It is characterized by impregnation of the lymph node with immune cells.

  • Hyperplastic. It leads to tissue proliferation and an increase in the size of the affected node.

  • Purulent. It is characterized by severe inflammation and abscess formation, which leads to cell death.

The disease in the initial stages manifests itself as an increase in the lymph node and reddening of the skin over it. Further, exudate is formed, which penetrates into the parenchyma of the node, leads to tissue infiltration. The pathological process covers only the capsule of the lymph node. As the pathology develops, purulent disintegration of tissues occurs. The contents of the capsule can get into the tissue surrounding the node, lead to the development of paralymphadenitis or adenophlegmon, the formation of a lymphatic fistula.

With fibrinous lymphadenitis, a large amount of exudate is formed and fibrin is shed. In the necrotic form of the disease, rapid tissue necrosis is observed. Less common is the hemorrhagic form of the disease, in which the affected area is saturated with blood.

In acute lymphadenitis, the disease can become chronic. Healthy lymph nodes, which are located near the affected area, are gradually involved in the pathological process. The disease can affect the lymphatic vessels, which leads to the development of lymphangitis.

Symptoms

At the initial stage of the development of the disease, the patient notes an increase in the size of the affected lymph node and slight pain when touched. This may be accompanied by symptoms of asthenia or proceed without pronounced signs of pathology. In some people, against the background of lymphadenitis, there is increased sweating at night, swelling of the limbs, a runny nose and sore throat.

At the esudative stage, suppuration begins. The knot thickens, becomes more painful. The tissues around it swell, stretch and the skin turns red. The patient’s condition worsens: fever, headache, weakness, appetite worsens. A person is forced to limit motor activity, as pain in the affected area increases with movement.

As the pathology develops, purulent fusion of tissues occurs. When pressing on the affected area, signs of fluctuation are revealed, which indicates the accumulation of exudate in a closed cavity.

If the patient did not go to a medical institution for the surgical treatment of an abscess, the abscess breaks out or in. When pus enters the tissues surrounding the node, adenophlegmon develops, and a fistula may form. One of the most severe forms of lymphadenitis is ichorous. It causes putrefactive decay of tissues and proceeds with a pronounced fever, increased heart rate, deterioration in general well-being. If left untreated, the disease leads to thrombophlebitis, blood poisoning.

Why is lymphadenitis dangerous

Even without suppuration, inflammation of the lymph nodes can lead to serious negative health consequences. The affected node begins to wrinkle. Lymphoid tissue is replaced by connective tissue, which cannot perform its usual functions. In patients with such disorders, there is a tendency to edema, lymphostasis. Due to a violation of the transport of lymphatic fluid against the background of damage to the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels, it accumulates in the tissues. This condition is called lymphedema or elephantiasis. Because of it, chronic swelling of the arms and legs occurs, they increase significantly in volume. This is accompanied by pain and heaviness in the affected area, a feeling of squeezing, deterioration in flexibility and mobility.

Diagnosis and treatment

If there are signs of inflammation of the lymph node, you should consult a therapist or surgeon. The doctor’s task is to determine the type of disease (specific or nonspecific lymphadenitis) and select a treatment. You should know that the symptoms of purulent lymphadenitis coincide with some diseases of the subcutaneous fat. That is why the doctor must conduct a differential diagnosis. It includes laboratory tests and hardware techniques:

  • general analysis of blood and urine, biochemistry;

  • Ultrasound of the affected areas;

  • x-ray of the lymph node and blood vessels with contrast;

  • tissue biopsy, if there is a suspicion of a tumor process.

It is important to determine exactly which pathogen led to the disease, and direct treatment to eliminate it. As a rule, after the elimination of the primary focus, the inflamed lymph nodes return to normal. With nonspecific lymphadenitis, the patient is prescribed antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, drugs with a general strengthening effect and to stimulate the immune system.

Specific lymphadenitis is treated with drugs to which the etiological agent is sensitive: the causative agent of syphilis, gonorrhea and other diseases.