5 Reasons Why Your Lymph Nodes Are Swollen

Your lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, are all over your body and play a vital role in your body’s ability to fight off infections. Most of us are familiar with the lymph nodes under our arms or in our chest. They function as filters, trapping viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses before they can infect other parts of your body. Common areas where you might notice swollen lymph nodes include your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin.

In some cases, a simple warm compress may be all you need to treat swollen lymph nodes. But in other cases, you may need medical attention.

Your lymphatic system is a network of organs, vessels and lymph nodes situated throughout your body. Many lymph nodes are located in your head and neck region. Lymph nodes that frequently swell are in this area, as well as in your armpits and groin area.

Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that something is wrong somewhere in your body. When your lymph nodes first swell, you might notice:

– Tenderness and pain in the lymph nodes
– Swelling that may be the size of a pea or kidney bean, or even larger in the lymph nodes

Depending on the cause of your swollen lymph nodes, other signs and symptoms you might have include:

– 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

Here are five conditions may cause the lymph nodes to enlarge (swell).

1. An Infection (lymphadenitis):
This can increase the number of white blood cells, which multiply in response to stimulation with a foreign substance (antigen). Swollen lymph nodes under the arm (in the armpit) can occur due to infection or injury to the arm or hand. Some infections (mononucleosis or “mono,” HIV, and fungal or parasitic infections) may cause generalized swelling of lymph nodes throughout the body.

2. A Virus:
Immune reaction to a generalized infection in the body such as viral infections that can occur with the common cold as well as more serious infections such as HIV.

3. Inflammation throughout the body:
Infiltration with inflammatory cells during infection or inflammation in a region of a given lymph node. Some immune disorders, such as…