Lymph nodes also called lymph glands, play a vital role in your body’s ability to fight off infections. They function as filters, trapping viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses before they can infect other parts of your body. Swollen of these nodes may occur when you are exposed to bacteria or viruses. When swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection, this is known as lymphadenitis. Other swollen lymph nodes are caused by cancer although this a rarely case.

In some cases, the passage of time and warm compresses may be all you need to treat swollen lymph nodes. Treatment of lymphadenitis depends on the cause.

Your lymphatic system is a network of organs, vessels and lymph nodes situated throughout your body. Common areas where you might notice swollen lymph nodes include your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin.

Swollen lymph nodes states that something is wrong somewhere in your body. The swelling nodes may be the size of a pea or kidney bean, or even larger in the lymph nodes. You may also notice tenderness and pain in the lymph nodes.

Symptoms varies to the causes of your swelling lymph nodes. Some of the symptoms you  may experience are the following:

  • Runny nose, sore throat, fever and other indications of an upper respiratory infection
  • General swelling of lymph nodes throughout your body — which may indicate an infection, such as HIV or mononucleosis, or an immune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hard, fixed, rapidly growing nodes, indicating a possible tumor
  • Fever
  • Night sweats


To diagnose what might be causing your swollen lymph nodes, your doctor may check your medical history. A physical exam near the surface of your skin is also suggested. Size, tenderness, warmth, texture and the site of your swollen lymph nodes will offer clues to the underlying cause.

A Blood tests can be conducted depending on what your doctor suspects is causing your swollen lymph nodes. The tests will include a complete blood count (CBC). This helps evaluate your overall health and detect a range of disorders, including infections and leukemia.

A chest X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan of the affected area may help determine potential sources of infection or find tumors.

In Lymph node biopsy, a sample from a lymph node or even an entire lymph node will be remove for microscopic examination.



Some swollen lymph nodes return to normal when the underlying condition, such as a minor infection, gets better. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:

  • Bacterial infection can be cure by antibiotics. If your swollen lymph nodes are cause by virus or an HIV infection you need to have specific treatment for that condition.
  • Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph nodes are a result of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
  • Cancer. Swollen nodes caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy depending on the type of cancer.

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