Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swollen Lymph Nodes & Glands : Causes, Picture, Symptoms, Treatment

Lymph gland also described as lymph nodes which belong to the lymphatic system. It is an important element of the immune system in the body. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of an infection.

Lymph system comprises various lymph node groups. These nodes are bean-shaped small tissues soft nodules. The lymph nodes chain locates in the front, side and back of the neck, chin, armpit, and groin, which frequently get swelling. Some Lymph nodes group is found in abdomen and chest which are detectable only in CT scan or X-rays.

Lymphatic fluid travels within the lymphatic system. This system is similar to blood vessel channels in the body.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes are the small mass tissues which store white blood cells. White blood cells in the body are essential and responsible for protecting the body from invading organism.

The lymph node system is like a security system. It is the place where bacteria and virus interact with immune system cells. Lymph gland stops any abnormal substances, virus, bacteria or infected cells which try to pass by lymph channels. It collects all the bacteria and infected cells and trashes it.

Causes of Swollen lymph nodes

Swelling in lymph nodes occur due to various reasons which include the following


Any infection near lymph nodes causes swelling. The infection causes to increase the white blood cells which raise the immune system response with antigens.

For example: If you have injury or infection in armpit or hand causes swelling in lymph nodes.

In some serious conditions such as HIV, Mononucleosis or mono, parasitic infection and fungal infection causes to induce swelling in lymph nodes in the entire body. During HIV you may experience symptoms such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, night sweats which affect lymph nodes.


The immune system reacts to stop the virus from spreading infection which causes swelling in lymph nodes. These viral infections happen by serious cold or HIV. Other infections include

Ear Infection

An ear infection causes swelling in lymph nodes. There are different ear pains such as

  • Acute otitis media
  • Otitis media effusion
  • Otitis externa

Ear infection is more common in children from the age of 3 or 4, stated by National Institute of Health.

During an ear infection, the eustachian tube also gets swelling which affects upper lymph nodes. The lymph nodes press the eustachian tube which increases ear infection.

Even the infection happen behind ear causes swelling lymph nodes. Because as the lymph node get enlarge to produce antibodies to fight the infection causes swelling in lymph nodes.


Any cancer causes swelling in lymph nodes describe as adenopathy. Lymphoma is a cancer of lymph nodes. There are two types of cancers relates to lymph nodes, such as Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Each of these cancers grows and behaves differently, and adenopathy is a characteristic of these cancers.

Adenopathy occurs during cancer when a tumor spread to other organs. It affects more on lymph nodes.


Tonsils are the kind of lymph nodes which can become extremely swollen that sometimes it requires removal. Tonsils locate in the back part of the mouth which works similarly like lymph nodes. While fighting any infection swelling occur in tonsils which cause chills, fever, and ear pain. It will result in swollen lymph nodes.

Throat infections

Any infection in throat causes swallowing food, sore throat, discomfort, and irritation. Most of the time throat infection occurs with hoarseness, tonsil, and swollen neck gland. The main cause of throat ailments is virus and bacteria such as diphtheria, whooping cough, strep throat. These all condition leads swelling in lymph nodes.

Eye infections

Extreme eyes infection such as conjunctivitis which redness, itchiness, irritation watery eyes. Conjunctivitis occurs due to viral and bacterial reasons.

During bacterial infection, eyes have sticky discharge and eyelids stick together.

Viral infection related to eyes cause redness and lymph nodes.

Genetic lipid storage disease

Genetic lipid is a disorder of fatty substances in the bloodstream such as bloodstreams such as lipoproteins, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Poor removal of fatty substances from the body causes swollen lymph. These disorders are more likely to increase the chances of heart disease and atherosclerosis. Apart from genes, these disorders occur due to diabetes and fatty disease.


Sarcoidosis is a condition which occurs due to tiny inflammatory cells describe as granulomas which don’t have any cure. Granulomas commonly occur in lymph nodes, lungs, eyes, and skin. Inflammation caused by sarcoidosis makes an immune system to react to foreign substances.

Transplant graft rejections

It is a procedure of transferring organs, cells, and tissues from one part to another in the body. This transplant usually is done with organs such as skin, liver or entire heart. During this transplant, the recipient and donor require to be immunologically compatible. If it is not compatible, then the recipient body rejects the transplant. This condition makes an immune system to react and swelling in lymph nodes.

Tooth Abnormalities

A tooth with pus-filled and infected material describes as a tooth abscess. These conditions happen when a bacterial infection occurs in the center tooth. It happens due to broken tooth or decay of tooth. When a tooth enamel break bacteria can easily enter in the tooth pulp and causes infection.

Tooth infection filled with puss causes pain and swelling. If you don’t care about your tooth infection properly, then the infection spread in bones connected to the tooth. This condition causes swelling in lymph nodes.

Mouth Sores


Sore mouth is a typical disease, which commonly occurs in many people. It can happen in any soft tissue of the mouth such as cheeks, lips, gums, tongue, upper and lower mouth. You may grow mouth sores on your esophagus which is an important tube connecting mouth to the stomach.

Mouth sores also include canker sores which are common irritation and remain for a week.

In some cases mouth sore occur as virus infection such as herpes simplex.


It is a blood cells cancer. There are various categories such as white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Leukemia is the cancer of white blood cells.

White blood cells are an essential part of the immune system. These cells protect you from fungi, virus, bacteria, foreign substance, and abnormal cells. During leukemia disease, the white blood cells act abnormally. They divide quickly and crowd out normal cells.

Swollen Lymph Gland Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the cause of lymph node enlargement and its location in the body. Here are the possible symptoms you may experience.


Feeling pain is a symptom of swollen lymph gland. It may occur in the different channels of the lymph node. When you have swollen lymph gland in the neck, it may enlarge up to 2 centimeters and feels intense pressure in all over neck parts. The lymph nodes have extreme pain in nodes pressing on nerves such as groin.

The swollen nodes of the neck side and under the jaw can become painful. It hurt whenever you make a head movement, chewing food. You can feel the swollen lymph just touching your neck below the jawline. You may experience extreme pain while bending and walking due to swollen lymph glands in the groin.

Weight gain

According to a study, when lymphatic vessel decency gets compromised, the lymph fluids leak out from ruptured lymphatic vessels. This fluid is rich in lipid and fats, which activate fat, build up after leakage and result in weight gain.

Apart from fat build up the lymphatic congestion also induce dissemination of damaged cells and toxins due to the flooded lymphatic system.


When lymph nodes get swelling, some cells which recognize organism stimulate and begin to reproduce. It causes enlargement of lymph nodes. Therefore, enlarged gland exposed to infection and shows a symptom of fever.

A cough

You may experience pulmonary tuberculosis due to swollen lymph nodes. It may not show the symptoms in the initial stage. During the later stage, there will be symptoms of a persistent cough with mucus and blood. These symptoms accompany with night sweat, weight loss, and fatigue.


Inflammation is a symptom of the swollen lymph node. Some immune diseases such as rheumatoid and lupus cause swollen lymph nodes.

A runny nose

It can be a symptom of swollen lymph nodes. An infection of upper respiratory makes the body to produce more mucus which results in a runny nose.

The above symptom can be painful which require medical help. Swollen lymph nodes which are not tender can be a symptom of serious ailment such as cancer.


When you get frequent lymph nodes illness, consult a doctor. If you have any injury or infection, then talk about every detail with your doctor. It helps you to determine the causes and treatment of swollen lymph nodes.

Tell your doctor about your previous medical problem and the medication you are taking. Because specific prescription and disease also cause swollen lymph nodes.

After getting detail information about your causes and symptoms, your doctor may conduct a physical examination. This test bases on the size of lymph nodes and the tenderness.

You may also require having a blood test to find out significant hormonal disorders and diseases.

In some cases, you may require imaging test for further examination of lymph nodes of other parts. The imaging test includes X-ray, CT scans, MRIs and ultrasound.

In chronic conditions of swollen lymph nodes need a biopsy. It is a minimally invasive test of a lymph node. This procedure involves using tiny needle-like equipment to extract the sample cells of lymph nodes. These cells are tested in the laboratory to analyze the severe disease like cancer.


Lymph nodes are an important part of the immune system which gets swelling if get exposed to infection or a tumor grows around lymph nodes.

Swollen lymph nodes occurred by a virus can return to its normal size after the infection heal. General antibiotics don’t treat well for viral infection. It requires treating the cause of swollen lymph nodes.


Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to manage swollen lymph nodes occurred by a bacterial infection. You will need special treatment if you have HIV contamination.


Swollen lymph nodes links to cancer require special medication. The doctor will advise a treatment which depends on the type of cancer you are getting. The chronic condition requires chemotherapy and radiation.

Immune disorder

Swollen lymph nodes occur by immune ailments such as lupus rheumatoid arthritis needs to manage the underlying condition.

Home remedies and Lifestyle management

If you have painful swollen lymph nodes, you can get relief from the following solutions.

Warm compression

Apply warm compression on the affected area with a wet cloth dipped in hot water.

Consume over the counter medication for pain relief such as

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen – Aleve
  • Acetaminophen – Tylenol

Be cautious during use of aspirin to teenagers and children. Avoid giving aspirin to children who are suffering from flu or chickenpox. Consulting your doctor is important.


Get enough rest to recover fast from underlying causes.


Massage is another useful remedy for lymph nodes. It helps to stimulate the lymph nodes functions. It helps to reduce the swelling over time. Massaging lymph nodes decrease the accumulation of contaminants from the nodes.

  • Gently massage the lymph nodes using your fingers for 5 minutes.
  • Repeat the massage 2 or 3 times every day.
  • You can hire an expert for lymph drainage massage.

Salt Water

Do regular salt water gargle. It will decrease the inflammation and swelling in lymph nodes which occurred by infection.

  • Take a cup of warm water and mix half teaspoon salt.
  • Gargle with this salt water for 2 – 3 times a day.


It is an anti-inflammatory stem which helps to diminish the lymph nodes swelling. It is an antibiotic which cleanses the body and boosts healing.

  • Use garlic oil to massage swollen part at least two to three times every day. You can eat raw two or three garlic cloves.
  • Add 2 – 3 raw garlic clove in your daily food intake.
  • Massage the swollen area with garlic oil for a few minutes, 2 or 3 times daily. You can take garlic supplement every day after taking your doctors to advice.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can treat swollen lymph nodes with a helpful home remedy of apple vinegar. Apple cider vinegar maintains healthy pH and creates an alkaline condition in the body.

Use an equal amount of unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar with water. Soak a cloth in the solution and keep it on the affected part. Keep this cloth for 5 minutes and wash with warm water. Repeat it 2 times every day.

You can also drink apple cider vinegar in 1 glass water twice every day.


Honey is an effective natural cure for grown lymph nodes. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help to relieve the swelling and discomfort. Honey fights with lymph nodes contamination.

  • Drink 2 teaspoons raw honey, 1 cup water, and fresh lemon juice.
  • Apply fresh honey on swollen lymph nodes. Let this liquid sit for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.
  • You can repeat this 2 to 3 times every day.

Castor Oil

Castor oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities which can reduce the lymph node swelling. It helps to improvise the entire lymphatic system and speedup toxin removal process.

  • Smoothly rub cold pressed castor oil for 5 minutes on swollen parts.
  • Place a warm compress on the affected part for 10 more minutes.
  • Do this activity 2 times every day for a week.


It is a powerful healing herb for decreasing the swelling in swollen lymph nodes. Its analgesic qualities decrease the pain and heal the infection.

Make a paste of 1 tablespoon turmeric powder with honey.

Apply the turmeric and honey paste on the swollen area and rinse it after 10 minutes by warm water.

Continue this remedy twice a day for a week.

Another option is a turmeric supplement under expert guidance.


It is a natural herb which treats swollen lymph nodes. Echinacea has strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities which stimulate the lymph swelling. It helps to purify blood and fight the infection.

Apply echinacea ointment every day 2 – 3 times a day.

Drink echinacea tea every day for one week.

Another option is the echinacea supplement, which you can take 2 times on a daily basis for one week. Consulting your doctor about echinacea supplement is necessary.

Stop consuming this herb after a week, if you have an autoimmune disorder.


Its scientific name is Galium aparine and goosegrass which is beneficial for lymphadenitis. This herb is good for stimulating the lymphatic system and boosts its function. Cleavers helps decrease swelling.

Make a tea of cleavers herb and steep it for 10 minutes. Strain the herbs and drink this tea 3 times a day until you see improvement.

Consult your doctor before taking any medication, massage and home remedy for swollen lymph nodes. It will help to know the severity of the condition.

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