Lymph nodes are vital part of the body, present everywhere. Its main function is to identify and destroy germs and other infection causing microorganisms. Lymph nodes can be easily identified in areas of neck, chin and armpits of the body. In medical terms, swollen lymph nodes are called as lymphadenopathy.
Lymph nodes become enlarged (swollen) when it is exposed to bacterial or viral infection. Common cold, flu and other infections can cause swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes develop inflammation and this condition is called lymphadenitis. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes depends on the causes.
Each lymphatic system includes various blood vessels, organs and multiple lymph nodes. Lymph nodes in large number are found on the head and neck region. Swollen lymph nodes can be easily identified on the armpits, neck and groin area. It indicates that something is wrong with your body. Some of the signs related to swollen lymph nodes are tender nodes, and inflammation of lymph nodes. The size of lymph node can be similar to that of a kidney bean or sometimes even larger. In addition, the affected person can have runny nose, fever, sore throat and upper respiratory tract infection. There will be difficulty in breathing and eating anything due to sore throat.
The presence of swollen lymph nodes indicates infection or immune disorder like lupus. In case the lymph nodes of the limb get swollen you may have difficulty in walking. The lymph nodes that are fixed and hard to feel can be of tumor type. Some of the areas like groin, armpit, neck, ears and the back of the head gets swollen and can be felt with fingers.
Infection from bacteria or virus is the major cause for swollen lymph nodes. It can be caused due to ear infection, upper respiratory tract infection, common cold, flu, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, mouth sores and mononucleosis. In addition infections like tonsillitis, tuberculosis, skin infection and sexually transmitted diseases can also cause swollen lymph nodes.
For some people autoimmune disorders like HIV, arthritis and lupus can cause this problem. Leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease can also cause swelling of lymph nodes. Prolonged use of epilepsy medicines and immunization for typhoid can also cause swollen lymph nodes.
In severe cases, complications like abscess formation is caused, forming pus filled fluids on the lymph nodes. If this abscess occurs on vital organ like heart or kidney it can cause significant damage. Unattended bacterial infection can lead to sepsis, involving the entire bloodstream causing life threatening conditions. Any trauma or injury to the organ can cause swollen lymph nodes with pain. Painless swelling of lymph nodes can occur due to cancer.
Your doctor will physically examine the lymph nodes on the affected area to check its size and texture. He may request for blood culture, liver and kidney function test. Further he may order for liver node biopsy for detecting the type of virus that has caused swelling. He will collect your medical history. If required you have to undergo imaging studies like X-ray (chest) and CT scan for ruling out tumors.
Treatment for swollen lymph nodes depends on the factor that caused it. Antibiotics are prescribed for treating enlarged lymph nodes caused by infection. You can take pain relievers like ibuprofen or motrin and acetaminophen for reducing inflammation. If the swollen lymph nodes are caused due to autoimmune disorder then medications are given for treating lupus or arthritis. For cancer related problems chemotherapy or radiation is given.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Swollen Lymph Nodes :
Home Remedies :
You can apply warmth or wet compression over the affected area like armpit or hands. Take enough rest so that you can recover from the illness quickly.