What causes cervical lymph nodes to swell: Swollen cervical lymph nodes: What does it mean?
Swollen cervical lymph nodes: What does it mean?
Cervical lymph nodes are small nodes or glands in the neck. Swelling in the neck may indicate a nearby infection or other health condition.
The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that helps support immunity. The lymph nodes are tiny, kidney-shaped structures that act as filters in this system. They trap and kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi before these pathogens can return to the bloodstream.
Swollen lymph nodes are usually a sign of infection but can stem from an inflammatory condition, an autoimmune disease, a reaction to a medication, or cancer. Sometimes they happen for no clear reason.
Swelling in the cervical lymph nodes may indicate a problem in the head, neck, throat, or lymphatic system.
This article outlines the potential causes of swollen cervical lymph nodes and information on treatment options and when to see a doctor.
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Lymph nodes are part of the immune system. They can enlarge when the system is defending the body from a nearby infection.
Cervical lymph nodes are in the front, sides, and back of the neck. They are usually smaller than 1 centimeter in diameter. If they are bigger, this could be a sign of an infection or other health problem, such as:
- an ear infection
- a dental infection
- a skin infection
- a salivary gland infection
- inflammation due to hair dye use or tight hair braids
- a cold or flu
- glandular fever (mononucleosis or mono)
- some types of cancer
Lymph nodes can also become noticeable under the chin, under the arms, and around the groin, depending on where an infection occurs.
A person may or may not be able to feel if their cervical lymph nodes are swollen. However, a doctor may be able to feel one or more bumps beneath the skin when examining the neck region.
The precise symptoms that may occur with swollen lymph nodes will depend on the cause, but common symptoms of an infection include:
- fever or chills
- a general feeling of being unwell, known as malaise
- body aches
- pain or tenderness around the swollen nodes
Many conditions can cause swollen cervical lymph nodes, each with its own symptoms.
Here are some possible causes:
- autoimmune diseases
- inflammatory conditions
- tumors or cancer
- genetic conditions present since birth
- medication use or exposure to toxins
Here we look at some examples.
Infection is a common cause of swollen lymph nodes anywhere in the body.
When an infection occurs somewhere in the body, the lymph nodes in that area fill with white blood cells. The white blood cells then start to destroy the pathogens responsible for the infection.
The accumulation of white blood cells in the lymph nodes causes them to swell.
Some common infections that may lead to swollen cervical lymph nodes include:
- the common cold
- strep throat or tonsillitis
- ear infections
- dental infections
Additional signs of infection depend on the specific illness but may include:
- sore throat
Lymph nodes that swell due to infection may be painful when a person touches them. They usually return to their usual size once the infection clears.
Swollen lymph nodes are common in the early or acute stage of HIV infection. At this stage, the body starts fighting the infection.
Research suggests the virus reaches nearby lymph nodes 3–6 days after infection. Noticeable symptoms occur in around two-thirds of people within 2–4 weeks.
They include swelling in the lymph nodes. Swelling can affect any lymph nodes but commonly occurs in the cervical lymph nodes.
A 2016 study investigated lymph node abnormalities in 100 people with HIV and swollen lymph nodes. Of the participants, 60% had swelling in the cervical lymph nodes.
Other symptoms of the early or acute stage of HIV include:
- sore throat
- mouth ulcers
- night sweats
- muscle aches
- fever and chills
- a rash
Swollen cervical lymph nodes can sometimes be a sign of cancer.
Cancers that can cause swelling in the lymph nodes are:
- Hodgkin lymphoma, which commonly appears first in the neck and usually affects young adults
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a type of blood cancer that may cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck, above the collarbone, and under the arms
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which can develop in lymph nodes anywhere in the body and is most common among people aged 64–74 years
- other cancers, especially head and neck cancers, which can spread to the cervical lymph nodes
Other symptoms that may occur with all these conditions include:
- night sweats
- unexplained weight loss
The outlook for most cancers is better if a person seeks early treatment.
Medication side effects
Rarely, swollen lymph nodes can occur as a side effect of a medication. When medication is the cause, swelling may develop in any of the nodes, including the cervical lymph nodes.
Medications and toxins that can cause swollen lymph nodes include:
- allopurinol (Zyloprim), used for gout
- atenolol (Tenormin), used for blood pressure and heart disease
- captopril (Capoten), an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for blood pressure
- carbamazepine (Tegretol), an anti-seizure and epilepsy medication
- cephalosporins, such as cephalexin (Keflex), an antibiotic
- hydralazine (Apresoline), a blood pressure medication
- phenytoin (Dilantin) and primidone (Mysoline), used to manage seizures
- quinidine (Quinidex), used for some irregular heartbeats
- sulfonamides, such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) used to treat psoriatic arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions
In rare cases, a chemotherapy drug known as granulocyte colony stimulating factor may also cause swelling of the lymph nodes.
What autoimmune conditions are there?
A doctor can usually detect a swollen cervical lymph node by feeling a person’s neck. They may do additional tests to find out why the swelling has occurred.
A doctor will likely ask about:
- other symptoms
- personal and family medical history
- medications used and possible exposure to toxins
- lifestyle habits
- recent travel
- recent exposure to other people who may have an infectious disease
They may also order the following diagnostic tests to find out the reason for swelling:
- blood tests
- throat culture
- CT or MRI scan
If necessary, the doctor may also perform a biopsy of the cervical lymph nodes to check for the presence of cancer cells.
The treatment options for swollen lymph nodes depend on the underlying cause.
A swollen lymph node usually occurs as a result of infection. In such cases, the lymph node should return to its usual size once the infection has cleared.
Swollen lymph nodes typically do not require treatment unless they are painful. However, the following home remedies may help relieve discomfort:
- applying a warm compress several times per day
- taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- getting plenty of rest
A person should see their doctor if symptoms persist or worsen despite home treatment. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if there are signs of a bacterial infection.
A person with HIV may receive antiretroviral medications to manage the virus. These drugs reduce the amount of the virus in a person’s blood and bodily fluids.
The drugs can reduce the viral load to where it is undetectable. Then, a person will no longer be able to pass on the disease. Many people can now live long and active lives with HIV, if they receive suitable treatment.
What does it mean when HIV is undetectable?
Cancer treatments will depend on several factors, including:
- the type of cancer a person has
- the stage of the cancer
- the person’s overall health
Possible treatment options include:
- radiation therapy
In most cases, swollen cervical lymph nodes indicate the body is fighting an infection. Infections often go away without treatment, and the node should return to its usual size once the infection clears.
A person should seek medical advice if they experience:
- severe symptoms, such as pain, a high fever, or difficulty breathing
- swelling that lasts longer than 2 weeks
- additional symptoms, such as night sweats and a persistent fever
- swelling with no other symptoms, which may be a sign of cancer or an autoimmune disease
- a hard and painless swelling in the lymph node
- a rapid change in the size of the lymph node
- swelling in more than one area of lymph nodes, such as in the neck and the groin
Swollen cervical lymph nodes are common. In most cases, swelling is a temporary response to an infection, but it can also be a sign of a more severe underlying health condition.
A person should see their doctor if the swelling persists, worsens, or if it is causing concern. A doctor will investigate the cause and recommend a suitable course of treatment.
Swollen Cervical Lymph Nodes: Causes and Treatment
The lymphatic system is a major part of the immune system. It’s made up of various lymph nodes and vessels. The human body has hundreds of lymph nodes throughout different locations in the body.
The lymph nodes located in the neck are referred to as cervical lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are small, encapsulated units in the lymphatic system. They filter lymph. Lymph is a fluid responsible for transporting lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) all throughout the body’s lymphatic vessel system.
Cervical lymph nodes, like the rest of the body’s lymph nodes, are responsible for fighting infection. They do this by attacking and destroying germs that are carried into the node through lymph fluid. After this filtering process is complete, any leftover fluid, salts, and proteins re-enter the bloodstream.
In addition to fighting germs that cause infection, such as viruses, some of the incredibly important tasks that lymph nodes perform for your immune system include:
- filtering lymphatic fluid
- managing inflammation
- trapping cancer cells
While lymph nodes can occasionally swell and cause discomfort, they’re essential to a healthy body and proper immune functioning.
Sometimes the lymph nodes in your neck, as well as other parts of your body, can swell. This common occurrence is referred to as lymphadenopathy. It can occur in reaction to infection, injury, or cancer.
Generally, swollen cervical lymph nodes are nonthreatening. Many things can cause cervical lymph node swelling, including:
- common cold
- ear infection
- scalp infection
- strep throat
Since lymphadenopathy tends to occur in one area of nodes at a time, it’s common for infections in or around the neck to trigger cervical lymph swelling. This is because the infection near the neck is filtered through the lymph nodes in the neck, which leads to swelling.
Other sites where lymph nodes commonly swell include the underarm and groin. Lymphadenopathy can also occur in the lymph nodes located inside the chest and abdominal cavities.
Cervical lymph node swelling can be a reliable indicator of infection or other inflammation in the area. It may also indicate cancer, but this is far less common. More often than not, swollen lymph nodes are just part and parcel of the lymphatic system doing its job.
Although it’s uncommon for swollen cervical lymph nodes to indicate a more serious condition, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- prolonged tenderness and pain
- continual swelling for more than a week
- weight loss
These symptoms can indicate certain conditions that need immediate medical attention, such as:
- certain types of leukemia
- a solid cancer tumor that’s spread
If you’re experiencing common, mild swelling, there are a few options available to help manage it either directly or indirectly, such as:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil)
- adequate rest
- warm and wet washcloth compress
On the other hand, if the lymph nodes are swelling because of cancerous growth, treatment may include:
- irradiation therapy
- surgery to remove the lymph node
Viruses and bacteria are filtered through the lymphatic system to help fight infection. Because of this, swelling isn’t only common, it’s to be expected.
In rare instances, swollen cervical lymph nodes can point to serious conditions such as lymphoma or leukemia. If you’re experiencing swollen lymph nodes in your neck and you’re concerned, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor.
Why there is inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck: causes, symptoms, treatment
- 1 Causes and treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck: how to get rid of unpleasant symptoms?
- 1.1 Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
- 1.1.1 Infections
- 1.1.2 Dental problems
- 1.1.3 Skin lesions
- 1.1.4 Oncology
- 1.2 Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
- 1.2.1 General information
- 1.2.2 Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- 1.2.3 When should I see a doctor?
- 1.3 Diagnosis of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
- 1. 3.1 Medical history
- 1.3.2 Examination
- 1.3.3 Laboratory and instrumental studies
- 1. 3.4 Biopsy
- 1.4 Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
- 1.4.1 General principles of treatment
- 1.4.2 Treatment of swollen lymph nodes in the neck in children
- 1.4.3 Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck with lymphadenitis
- 1.5 How to avoid inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck?
- 1.6 Inflammation of the lymph nodes in children
- 1.6.1 Causes
- 1.6.2 Symptoms
- 1.6.3 Treatment
- 1.6.4 Prevention
- 1.7 When should you see a doctor for swollen lymph nodes in your neck?
- 1.8 Association between swollen lymph nodes in the neck and cancer
- 1.9 Other causes of swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- 1.10 Conclusions
- 1.11 Related videos:
- 1.12 Q&A:
- 1. 12.0.1 What are lymph nodes and why do the body need them?
- 126.96.36.199 What causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck?
- 188.8.131.52 How is inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck diagnosed?
- 184.108.40.206 How is swollen lymph nodes in the neck treated?
- 220.127.116.11 Can swollen lymph nodes in the neck go away on their own?
- 18.104.22.168 How can inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck be prevented?
- 1.1 Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
Find out the main causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck and how they can be treated to restore health and improve well-being. Read the article on our website and do not put off taking care of your health!
Lymph nodes are part of the body’s lymphatic system that perform an important protective function. They act as a barrier that prevents the penetration of infections and harmful substances into the tissues and organs of the human body. However, sometimes the lymph nodes themselves can become the site of infection or stress conditions, causing inflammation and enlargement.
Especially often the lymph nodes become inflamed in the neck, where a large number of lymph nodes are located. The causes of inflammation can be diseases of the upper respiratory tract (throat, nose), teeth, ulcers, colds. Also, inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be a sign of serious diseases – tumors, infections, tuberculosis.
To identify inflammation of the lymph nodes and determine the causes of its occurrence, it is necessary to conduct a diagnosis and consult a specialist. Depending on the circumstances, treatment may include the use of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and anti-tuberculosis drugs, recommendations to strengthen the immune system and prevent possible diseases.
Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be caused by various infections. For example, it can be the flu, SARS, tonsillitis, runny nose, chicken pox, streptococcal infection and others. During the body’s fight against infection, the lymph nodes increase in size and become inflamed, which signals that the body is fighting the infection.
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be associated with diseases of the teeth and gums, such as caries, gingivitis, periodontitis. In this case, the inflammation of the lymph nodes is the body’s response to the bacteria that cause the disease.
Injuries and various injuries to the scalp and neck can also lead to inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck. Lymph nodes become inflamed to help the body fight infection that can occur as a result of skin damage.
It is possible that inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck may be associated with various cancers, such as lymphoma or head and neck cancer. In such cases, the inflammation of the lymph nodes does not go away, but increases with time, so it is important to consult a doctor to rule out oncology.
Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is often a sign of an infection in the body. The lymph nodes in the neck are close to the surface of the skin and their inflammation can lead to pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
The main symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck are:
- Hypersensitivity in the area of the lymph nodes;
- Soreness when touching lymph nodes;
- Enlarged lymph nodes. Depending on the cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes, they may increase in size to varying degrees;
- Swelling of surrounding tissues in the area of inflammation of the lymph nodes;
- Headache, fever, fatigue, general malaise.
When should I see a doctor?
If you notice swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes in your neck, be sure to seek medical attention. The doctor will conduct the necessary examination and find out the cause of the inflammation of the lymph nodes and prescribe an effective treatment.
Diagnosis of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
The first step in the diagnosis of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is to take an anamnesis of the disease. The doctor should ask the patient about the presence of symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever. It is also necessary to find out if the patient has had similar symptoms before and how they were treated.
After taking the medical history, the patient is examined. The doctor checks for swelling and redness in the neck. He also palpates the lymph nodes and determines their size and condition. If a tumor is present, the doctor may recommend a more detailed examination.
Laboratory and instrumental research
Laboratory and instrumental research methods are used to diagnose inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck. Blood is taken for general analysis and detection of inflammatory processes in the body. You can also prescribe an ultrasound to more accurately identify the condition of the lymph nodes and determine the presence of tumors.
In some cases, a biopsy may be ordered to determine the cause of swollen lymph nodes in the neck. During a biopsy, a small sample of lymph node tissue is taken and examined under a microscope. This allows you to identify the presence of infectious agents or tumors.
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
General principles of treatment
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck depends on its cause. However, there are general principles of treatment:
- Prescription of antiviral, antibacterial or antifungal drugs;
- Use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs;
- Completeness and correctness of nutrition;
A few days before the start of treatment, it is recommended to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and fatigue.
Treatment of swollen lymph nodes in the neck in children
In case of swollen lymph nodes in the neck of children, a pediatrician should be consulted. The purpose of treatment depends on the cause of the inflammation. However, there are general principles of treatment:
- Carrying out hygiene procedures;
- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs, certain antibiotics or antimycotic drugs;
- Completeness and correctness of nutrition.
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck with lymphadenitis
Lymphadenitis is an acute form of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck, which can lead to complications. For lymphadenitis, along with the standard treatment needed for other forms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck, local therapy is carried out:
- Use of antibiotics;
- Washing the inflamed area;
- Use of medical dressings or application of a medical compress;
- Occasionally, surgery may be required to remove pus deposits.
In case of lymphadenitis, it is not recommended to prescribe treatment on your own, you should consult an infectologist or otolaryngologist.
How to avoid inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck?
Lymph nodes in the neck are part of our immune system that protects us from infection and disease. They may enlarge due to inflammation, also known as lymphadenitis.
To prevent inflammation of the lymph nodes, it is recommended:
- Take care of hygiene – Wash your hands regularly and practice basic hygiene. This helps prevent infection and the spread of bacteria and infections.
- Avoid possible sources of infection – Avoid contact with people who have infectious diseases such as influenza or SARS.
- Support the immune system – Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and physical activity. It strengthens the immune system and helps fight viral and bacterial infections.
If you have signs of swollen lymph nodes, such as soreness or redness in your neck, seek medical attention. Don’t try to treat yourself, as this can make the problem worse.
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in children
Inflammation of the lymph nodes is a signal that disease processes are occurring in the child’s body. It can be caused by infectious diseases such as SARS, influenza or tonsillitis, as well as a number of other acute diseases. In addition, the lymph nodes can become inflamed as a result of allergic reactions to food, medicines, or other allergens.
Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in children may vary depending on the cause of the disease. Usually, swollen lymph nodes in the neck cause pain and discomfort, as well as an increase in their size. The child may experience weakness, dizziness, low body temperature, fever and other symptoms that are characteristic of a disease that causes inflammation of the lymph nodes.
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in children should be directed to the treatment of the underlying disease. If the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. In the event of an allergic reaction, it is necessary to identify the allergen and eliminate it from the child’s diet. In most cases, inflamed lymph nodes go away on their own after the treatment of the underlying disease. However, if necessary, the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory or pain medication.
- Avoid contact between the child and sick people;
- Strengthen your child’s immune system: maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right, spend a lot of time outdoors;
- Wash your hands regularly and teach your child to do the same;
- Take care of your child’s oral hygiene: brush your teeth, use dental floss and mouth water;
- Get all the necessary vaccinations, if necessary, to boost your child’s immune system.
When should you see a doctor for swollen lymph nodes in your neck?
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be a sign of various diseases. In most cases, it is caused by an infection, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as cancer. Therefore, it is very important to see a doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes: If you notice swollen lymph nodes in your neck, this may indicate an infection or tumor. If the lymph nodes have become longer for a long time, be sure to visit a doctor.
- Pain: If you feel pain on palpation of the lymph nodes or if they become tender, this may indicate an infection or inflammation. However, it can also be a sign of a more serious illness. In any case, this requires the attention of a doctor.
- Bitterness in the mouth: If you feel that you have a bitter taste in your mouth after eating, this may be a sign of swollen lymph nodes. Consult a doctor to clarify the diagnosis.
- High temperature: If you have other symptoms associated with inflammation of the lymph nodes, as well as fever, this may indicate more serious diseases, such as viral and bacterial infections.
Association between swollen lymph nodes in the neck and cancer
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck can be caused by many factors, one of which is cancer. Cancer occurs in tissues, which are made up of cells that grow and divide rapidly. When these cells begin to grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way, they form a tumor. This tumor can spread to nearby tissues, including lymph nodes.
However, inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is not always associated with cancer. There are many other causes such as infections, allergies, or diseases that can cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Therefore, if you find an inflamed lymph node, do not panic and consult a doctor to establish the correct diagnosis.
In any case, if you suspect cancer, you should see an oncologist for diagnosis and treatment. Cancer is a serious disease that requires complex treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In conclusion, swollen lymph nodes in the neck may be associated with cancer, but not always. Therefore, if you find an inflamed lymph node, do not waste time and contact a specialist to establish an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment.
Other causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
Although the most common cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is associated with infectious diseases, there are other causes of this condition. For example, some types of cancer can lead to swollen lymph nodes, which can also cause inflammation. Blood diseases such as lymphoma and leukemia can also cause swollen lymph nodes.
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can also be caused by certain drugs. For example, antibiotics and antidepressants can cause a reaction in the body, which manifests itself in the form of inflammation of the lymph nodes. Some causes of inflammation, such as thrombophilia and metastatic cancer, can also lead to swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
- Reminder: If the lymph nodes in the neck are enlarged and do not go away for more than two weeks, it is necessary to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
As a result of the study, we can draw the following conclusions:
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is a fairly common disease . It can cause discomfort and pain in the neck, as well as act as a symptom of other diseases, such as influenza or SARS.
- There are several types of lymph nodes in the neck, all of which can be inflamed . This can be determined by a doctor during examination and palpation of the throat and neck.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can occur due to various causes such as bacterial or viral infections, autoimmune diseases or cancer. Each of these causes may require its own treatment.
- Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck depends on its cause . This may include medication, physical therapy, or even surgery if malignant tumors are found.
- To prevent inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck, you need to pay attention to your health , strengthen the immune system, observe hygiene and disease prevention.
In general, inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck is not a dangerous disease, but requires careful attention and timely treatment. At the first symptoms, you should consult a doctor to diagnose and determine the correct treatment.
What are lymph nodes and why do the body need them?
Lymph nodes are small organs of the lymphatic system that play an important role in protecting the body from infection and disease. They filter the lymph, remove bacteria, viruses and other impurities from it, and also produce lymphocytes – cells that develop immune responses to diseases.
What causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck?
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be caused by various causes, such as infectious diseases (influenza, SARS, tonsillitis), viruses (HIV, herpes), bacteria (staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus), cancer, allergic reactions, as well as reactions to drugs or vaccinations.
How is inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck diagnosed?
Diagnosis of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck begins with a visual examination and palpation of the lymph nodes. Further, ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, biopsy and other research methods may be prescribed to determine the cause of inflammation.
How is inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck treated?
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck depends on the cause that caused the inflammation. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat infectious diseases, antiviral drugs for viral diseases, and antihistamines for allergic reactions. In cases of cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may be prescribed.
Can swollen lymph nodes in the neck go away on their own?
Yes, swollen lymph nodes in the neck can go away on their own if they were caused by an infectious disease and the body has coped with the disease. However, if the inflammation does not go away within a few weeks or other symptoms appear, it is necessary to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
How can inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck be prevented?
To prevent inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck, it is necessary to practice good hygiene, wash your hands regularly and avoid contact with sick people. It is also recommended to strengthen the immune system, eat right, lead an active lifestyle and avoid stressful situations.
Why lymph nodes in the neck become inflamed and what to do about it
June 25, 2022
Most likely, everything is fine with you. But just in case, check for dangerous symptoms.
You can listen to the short version of the article. If it’s more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.
What are lymph nodes
Lymph nodes, or lymph glands, are small formations in the neck, under the arms, in the groin and other areas located near the vital organs. The main function of the lymph nodes is to filter the lymph and help the body fight infections.
Everyone knows what lymph is in general terms. Its mixture with intercellular fluid is also called ichor. This is the same colorless liquid that appears on the wound if the skin is slightly damaged. But there is much more lymph in the body than it might seem. Moving through special vessels, it washes the cells of all organs and tissues, is considered a special type of connective tissue and one of the most important elements of immunity.
It is the lymph that flushes out dead cells, decay products, viruses, bacteria from the body.
Lymphocytes are the main cells of the immune system capable of recognizing pathogens. Flowing through the lymph nodes, the lymph is filtered: viruses and bacteria linger in them and are destroyed.
When a person is healthy, the glands purify the lymph without undue stress. But if the viral or microbial attack is too strong, they have a hard time. The lymph nodes overflow with “garbage” that they do not have time to digest, become inflamed and become like peas rolling under the skin.
In general, swollen lymph nodes are a sign that an inflammatory process is developing somewhere nearby.
Why do lymph nodes in the neck become inflamed?
Here is a list of the most likely causes:
However, there are more unpleasant causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes.
When to see a doctor with enlarged lymph nodes
Most often, enlarged lymph nodes are not an independent disease, but only a symptom. Therefore, they are usually accompanied by other signs of infection:
- general malaise and weakness;
- temperature increase;
- sore throat, ear or mouth;
- runny nose, nasal congestion.
If you see this, go to a therapist. Your doctor will help you quickly treat a cold, earache, or send you to the dentist if he thinks tooth decay may be the cause. As soon as you cope with the underlying disease, the lymph nodes will also deflate and cease to be a concern.
It is much worse if the lymph nodes in the neck are inflamed, but you have no signs of SARS or other infections. In this case, we can talk about systemic inflammation – autoimmune diseases, oncological processes, HIV infection.
When to see a doctor immediately
Here is a list of symptoms, in case of any of which you should go to a therapist as soon as possible:
- The skin over the enlarged lymph node turned red and became hot – this indicates the beginning of a purulent process.
- Lymph nodes in the neck are enlarged for no apparent reason.
- Lymph glands became inflamed not only on the neck, but also in other places. For example, under the armpits, in the groin, on the elbows, above the collarbones.
- Knots don’t move when you try to push them down.
- Swollen lymph nodes accompanied by increased sweating, persistent fever (no other symptoms of infectious diseases), unexplained weight loss.
- You have difficulty swallowing or breathing.
- Lymph nodes do not return to normal size for two weeks or more.
Your doctor may send you to a surgeon to open an abscess. Or they may offer to take a blood test, take an X-ray, ultrasound, CT or MRI, or take a piece of an enlarged lymph node for microscopic examination (this procedure is called a biopsy). Depending on the results of the tests, you will be given the appropriate treatment.
How to relieve the condition right now
There are several ways.
Make a warm compress
Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out well and apply it to your neck.
Attention: this method is not suitable if you observe symptoms of a purulent process – redness of the skin over the lymph node, an increase in its temperature. With these symptoms, you need to get to the doctor as soon as possible.
Take a pain reliever
Paracetamol is best. But aspirin and ibuprofen in some cases can do harm.
So, children, adolescents, and people who have problems with blood clotting should be careful with aspirin. In addition, both drugs are contraindicated in chickenpox. Therefore, it is better to consult with a therapist.
Get more rest
If possible, take sick leave or a couple of days off. Rest is necessary for the body to quickly cope with the disease.