Lymph nodes are essential for your body’s immune system. Sometimes you may feel or see swollen nodes in one side or both sides of your neck. If you see swollen lymph nodes in the neck, it could be a sign of infections, your body’s immune disorder, or cancer.
When you first see swollen lymph nodes, the first thing people consider that they have cancer. However, it could happen for other reasons also. So, do not get alarmed if you have swollen lymph nodes. As many people do not know the cause for this to happen to them.
That is why we wrote this article to notify you why you have swollen lymph nodes in the neck and how to reduce or permanently solve it; moreover, try to better understand why lymph nodes happen.
About Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes carry your immune system cells, and it tends to swell when there is a problem with your body’s immune system or a disease of some kind. When you see your neck starting to swell, consulting a doctor is the first thing to consider. As it could be because of a disease, or in the worst-case scenario, it could be because of cancer.
The lymph nodes in your body collect and filter waste materials, fluids, and other germs that badly affect your body and immune system. You have hundreds of lymph nodes in your body, working day and night to keep any harmful substance out of your body. If it gets damaged, you will see many body tissues such as – swelling in the neck, falling ill, urine problems. Other than that, you can see swollen lymph nodes or which are visible to your eyes –
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- It could appear under your armpits.
- Swelling under the jaws.
- Swollen lymph nodes can also happen on each side of your groin.
Also, these lymph nodes have immune cells in them, which help prevent infections.
However, the lymph nodes in your body can swell if there is an infection. This infection can be temporary, like some disease or a cancer cell. Cancer cells use the bloodstream to get to your lymph nodes, or it could start from there also. When you see a swollen lymph node in the neck, jaw, or any place, please consult or go to a hospital to check it out.
Why does Your Lymph Nodes Swell
You have more than 600 small lymph nodes in your body, shaped like a kidney bean. These nodes are all over your body, from the neck to the armpits, groins, and even under your jaws. The lymph nodes contain your immune cells, which helps filter and kill harmful and waste materials in your body so that there is no infection or any harmful cell in your body.
However, a swollen lymph node does not always mean that you have cancer and your dying, but it could represent that your body is working overtime. That means you are working hard and your body is trying to produce more immune cells; moreover, more cells are going through the swollen, which is why the nodes are swelling.
The swelling is the sign that your body’s particular has an infection there. It could also be because of rheumatoid arthritis or otherwise known as lupus. However, it is rare cancer, so do not get too much worried when you have a swollen lymph node in any place of your body.
Another thing is that a swollen lymph node could occur where there is an infection near it. For example, your neck’s lymph nodes will swell if you have a strep throat issue. So it is not necessary where the nodes are swelling, that place has the problem.
These nodes are the reason to flow lymph fluids in and out of your whole body and finally coming back to your chest. When these fluids flow through your body, they collect all the harmful materials such as bacteria, viruses, and other waste materials. These lymph nodes filter the fluids that contain all the waste materials and release them into your bloodstream with proteins and salt.
Checking if Your Lymph Nodes are Swelling
If you have a swelled lymph node, it will feel like a round bump, soft, and it could be the size of a grape or a pea when you touch it. Moreover, it could tender when you touch or feel it. The tender sensation indicates inflammation; however, the lymph nodes’ swelling could sometimes be more extensive than a pea-size.
If you doubt that one side is swelling in your body, you can compare it with the other side. As lymph nodes are on both sides of your body and are parallel, it is easy to compare one side with the other if one side appears larger than the other side, then a clear case of a swollen lymph node in that area.
When you have a swollen lymph node, it will restrict your movement of that particular area. For example – if you have swollen glands, it will be difficult to turn your neck sharply, eat food harder, or even til or shake your head. These things could indicate that the lymph nodes in that area are swelling, and you need to check it out as quickly as possible.
What are the Causes for Your Lymph Nodes to Swell
If you consider the lymph nodes that have in your head and neck, many conditions like cancer (rarely), infections, or disorder in the immune system could cause it to swell. However, These particular nodes do not swell due to any small reasons. Your neck nodes are robust and have better strength when it comes to swelling.
You can have multiple swelling in different areas of your body, which is called generalized lymphadenopathy. It could be because the infection is spreading throughout your body. However, most people have swollen lymph nodes due to –
- Disorder in your immune system – Your immune cells are in the lymph nodes, and they carry it throughout your body to help prevent germs and filter waste fluids from your body. If you have an immune disorder that can cause your lymph nodes to swell, which includes –
- Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Infection – Infections are the most common reasons that your lymph nodes are swelling. If any area of your body has an infection, then the lymph nodes in that particular area will start to swell. It indicates that more immune cells are passing through that area to prevent the infection from spreading. Most viral infections cause your lymph nodes to swell, such as –
- The flu.
- Common cold.
- Infection in your sinus.
- Infection in your gums or tooth.
- A strep throat.
- Skin infections.
- A fungal infection.
- Cancer – It is not that common as an infection or immune disorder, but it could cause the nodes to swell. Cancer cells can travel in the bloodstream when the lymph nodes transfer blood throughout your body. So it may not be common, but it possible to have a swelling in your lymph nodes because there is a cancer cell there. However, the swelling can indicate cancer or malignancy or –
- Hodgkin disease.
- Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
Moreover, malignant lymph issues can cause more risk if –
- You are male.
- If your age is 40 or more.
- You have white skin.
Treatment for Your Swollen Lymph Nodes
When you see that the lymph nodes are swelling, you can apply some treatment for that; however, seeing a doctor is our recommendation. Although a common infection, the swelling should go away in few days when the infection clears. It can also reduce quicker if you take medications that have to be prescribed.
Most doctors prescribe for swelling tissue is anti-inflammatory medications. However, if you are going through a medical condition that is the reason for the lymph nodes to swell, then you can try some treatments at home –
- Try to drink as much fluid as you can in a day. It will increase the fluids in your lymph nodes.
- You can apply a warm wet cloth to the swelling area. The wet compress will reduce the swelling in the area.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are some over the counter medicines which can help reduce the pain in the swollen area.
- Rest is what you will need to take as much as you can. The more you move, the more your body will try to push blood through the swollen area, which will cause it to get bigger and create pain in the area.
FAQs for Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck
- How long does it take for a swollen lymph node in the neck to go down?
Your swollen lymph nodes in the neck will go away as soon as the infection is over. However, if there is another issue that caused the swelling, then consult your doctor. But considering an infection, it will take one or two weeks for the swelling on your neck to get back to normal. Generally, when the immune cells clear the threat for the swelling, it goes away.
- When should I worry about swollen lymph nodes in neck?
If you do not have any disease, such as a common cold or flu, which can cause your lymph nodes in the neck can swell, then go to your doctor. As you have no common infection like flu to trigger the swelling in the lymph nodes, it is best to see a doctor. But continuing its stay or there for more than 4 weeks and having no usual infection when you need to be concerned.
- Can lymph nodes swell for no reason?
If you have a swell lymph node in your body, that means your body or immune system is fighting an infection or disease. Generally, it is nothing to get worried about; however, if you have swelled with apparent reason, it is something serious, and you need to get it checked as soon as possible.
Conclusion for Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck
Inflammation in your lymph nodes is not something to get too much worried about as it is rarely cancer. Moreover, if you have a common cold or the flu or strep throat, you have swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
That is the primary purpose of our article to help you know the reason for your swollen lymph nodes to appear and also we tried to put forth a generalized idea of how to identify, reduce and treat your lymph nodes when it starts to swell.