Lymph nodes are tiny glands present throughout the body and they play an important part of our immune system and acts as checkpoints for bacteria, virus, or any other abnormal cells. Lymph nodes are located in armpits, under the jaw, groin, neck, and behind the ear.
Lymph nodes get swollen during infections and are prominently noticeable. The most common reasons causing swollen lymph nodes are:
- Infection in ears
- Common cold or flu
- Tooth infection (gingivitis)
- Skin infection
- Throat infection
- Oral sores
- Sinus infection
- Allergic reactions to medications
Arthritis, lupus, and sexually transmitted disease like syphilis or gonorrhea can also cause swollen lymph nodes. Complicated diseases like cancer or immune system disorders cause swollen lymph nodes all over the body. Malignant cells infiltrating the lymphatic system are responsible for swelling in the nodes. In some cases, breast cancer can cause swollen lymph nodes in the armpit.
An infection in lymph nodes leads to an increase in WBC, as a defense response to foreign bodies. Swelling in lymph node can also cause activated immune response and inflammation. Ideally, the signs of swelling in lymph nodes are dependent on the location and the causes of swelling and people can suffer from fever, fatigue, pain, and tenderness in the areas of location of lymph nodes.
Swelling in lymph nodes is not always abnormal, but in case of infection - antibiotics and antiviral medicines are prescribed to reduce the swelling. Also, if swelling in the lymph node is caused due to cancer, it might not turn normal until the cancer is treated.