Swollen Glands in Neck

September 6, 20130 Comments

Lymph glands are present throughout your body and its main task is to fight against bacteria, virus and any microorganisms that cause infection. Lymph glands play vital role in the body’s immune system and they become visible only when it gets swollen. When the lymph glands are infected they become swollen.

Swollen glands in neck can be felt easily when it gets infected. It grows up to few centimeters under the chin just in the neck. Swollen lymph glands are known as lymphadenopathy in medical terms. Apart from neck you can also feel them on the groins and armpits when they get swollen. Swollen glands often occur in large clumps. Even common cold and fever can cause swelling of lymph glands. It can develop due to infection or impaired immunity in the system.

Swollen Glands in Neck Causes :

Swollen glands in neck can occur due to local infection. Infection occurs only on particular area of the body. The lymph glands in the neck get swollen due to common cold, tonsillitis or due to ear infection. Sometimes even a dental abscess or a skin infection can make the glands swollen. In rare cases, it can be caused by lupus infection in which the immune system is disturbed and during measles caused by viral infection. It can also develop due to rheumatoid arthritis where the body’s own immunity will attack the healthy lining of joints causing inflammation.

For some people glandular fever affects the lymphatic glands and causes high temperature along with sore throat. In case of rubella it will cause pink rashes on the skin in addition to the swollen glands in neck. It can get swollen due to bacterial infection that causes blood poisoning. The affected person will have fever and chills apart from fatigue. Less common causes of swollen glands in neck can be due to cancer which develop slowly and gets bigger.

Symptoms :

Swollen glands in neck will not cause any symptom unless it has developed due to infection. The symptoms vary with respect to the type of infection. It can cause fever and sore throat if it has developed due to mild infections like common cold. It can cause pain and discomfort in swallowing. The symptoms will be severe if the glands are infected due to immune system impairment. It can produce night sweats, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath and high fever depending on the intensity of illness. The skin above the swollen glands can become reddish and painful causing difficulty in talking.

Diagnoses :

Swollen glands in neck can be identified by mere physical examination. Your doctor may request for blood tests or a chest X-ray if he suspects infection. In rare cases small tissue of the gland is taken in biopsy for testing the same in the laboratory.

Treatment :

Your doctor will identify what exactly caused inflammation of lymph glands before starting any treatment. He should treat underlying medical issues so that the glands get back to normal size. You can try over the counter medications like Tylenol for getting relief from pain. Drink plenty of fluids and take enough rest.

Most of the cases of swollen glands will resolve quickly. When a person has problems in eating and drinking due to swollen glands, it is necessary to take plenty of water to overcome dehydration. You can apply wet compression on the infected area to reduce inflammation. If swollen lymph nodes are due to viral infection then you should not take antibiotics. Hence if you have the above symptoms for more than 3 days you can consult your doctor. Medical treatment for swollen glands in neck depends on the underlying cause.

For bacterial infection your doctor may give antibiotics and pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin. If the lymph nodes have swollen due to immune disorder like arthritis or lupus then treatment is to be given for managing the disease. For more serious causes like cancer, your doctor will devise suitable therapy or surgery depending on the type of cancer.

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