It is common knowledge that an enlarged lymph node usually means there is an infection in the area of the lymph node and the body is doing what it was designed to do, which is fight it off. Bacteria, viruses, debris, cancer cells, and other foreign substances that are in the lymph are filtered through the nodes.
When the nodes become overwhelmed they will begin to swell and enlarge. They can also become painful. The node will reduce in size when the infection has run its course or responds to treatment.
In the event of other health issues, it will remain large until treated successfully.
Harmless Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Body
There are 500-700 lymph nodes in the body and many of them will swell unnoticed as they do their job of protecting the body from harmful debris that is traveling through the body. The white blood cells will reproduce to fight off infections and when they are successful they will return to normal numbers and the swelling will be reduced. The white blood cells are known as lymphocytes. Harmless causes of enlarged lymph nodes include the following:
- Minor bacterial
- Mild viral infection
- Some fungi
When the lymph node remains swollen and there are other health problems or symptoms, there could be a more serious cause for the swelling
Enlargement from Serious Health Issues
Not all lymph nodes will shrink down to their normal size, which is the size of a pea. Some will remain swollen and be an indicator there may be a serious health issue that will need to be addressed. Due to the seriousness of cancer, if that is the cause of a lymph node that remains inflamed, a medical professional should examine the node and do tests to determine the cause. Only a healthcare professional can accurately diagnose the cause of the swelling.
Some of the serious health issues:
Some of the less serious causes include:
- Chicken pox
- Skin infection
- Infected tooth
Most of the time swollen lymph nodes are nothing to be concerned about, it is just the immune system doing its job. When there are other symptoms, medical care should be sought.
Schedule a Doctor Appointment
When a lymph node remains enlarged for over two weeks, is painful to the touch, hard, or the skin is red or inflamed an appointment with the doctor should be scheduled and the node should be checked by a doctor. Other indicators that a doctor should examine a lymph node include night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, and prolonged fever.
Relief from painful lymph nodes can be relieved with compresses and over the counter pain relievers.
I had the lymph node biopsy on Thursday 11th July, just two days after seeing the haematologist. On Tuesday night I had mentioned to my husband that tomorrow, I might call a friend who is a surgeon and works in the city. My husband called him that night. I was going to disguise his name for this blog, because I thought that was the done thing, but I figured if I am not going to insult him and I have his permission, why not use his real name? Anyone who knows him would have worked out who I was talking about, and anyone who doesn’t know him still won’t know him when I mention his name. His blog name was going to be Calvin Klein. His name is Christian Kenfield, Mr Christian Kenfield. Not a very creative disguise.
I worked with Christian at Geelong Hospital for several years beginning…
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The inguinal lymph nodes are located just below the inguinal ligament in the upper inner thigh near the pelvis. Medical experts categorize 10 of these nodes as superficial and five as deep inguinal lymph nodes. Just like lymph nodes in any other part of the body, their work is to filter and eliminate bacteria, viruses, and harmful germs that invade the body.
Inguinal lymph nodes may swell and cause a patient great discomfort. According to a report published by the Rhode Island Hospital, patients report experiencing a pain/ache, burning sensation, or pressure in the affected area. In addition, a visible bulge develops over the site of the swelling node. A person is likely to experience these symptoms after undertaking activities that increase abdominal pressure such as lifting heavy objects. Standing for long periods may also cause one to develop these symptoms. It is worth noting that figures published by the National Center for Health Statistics show that five million Americans experience swollen inguinal lymph nodes every year.
It is quite easy to check the groin area for inguinal nodes. Use your hand to feel the chain of nodes that run horizontally below the inguinal ligament. Extend your hand further down the groin area and feel the vertical chain of lymph nodes that run along the upper thigh. These are the areas where you will find inguinal nodes. Men are more likely (up to 10 times, according to a report published by drugs.com) to develop swollen inguinal nodes than women. The same report recommends seeking medical attention if one develops a tender and persistent lump in the groin area. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and examine the swollen node. In some cases, these nodes may develop lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells). It is important to note that there are 35 types of lymphoma (What Is Lymphoma: A Brief Guide), and a person may develop either Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
If you experience swelling in the groin area, your lymph nodes may be the culprits. To confirm this, run your hand horizontally along the groin area below the inguinal ligament. If you come across swollen nodes, do not panic. However, seek medical attention if the swollen nodes do not subside after several days.
- Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia | http://www.rhodeislandhospital.org/services/surgery/minimally-invasive-surgery/patient-education-guides/inguinal-hernia/symptoms.html
- How to Check Your Lymph Nodes | http://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/OURSERVICES/CANCERSERVICES/SKIN/Pages/HowtoCheckYourLymphNodes.aspx
- Inguinal (Groin) Lymph Nodes | http://www.thelymphnodes.com/locations/inguinal-groin-lymph-nodes/
- HOW TO CHECK YOUR LYMPH NODES | http://www.bad.org.uk/library-media%5Cdocuments%5CLymph%20nodes%20PIL%20April%202011%20-%20lay%20reviewed%20July%202011.pdf
- Understanding the Inguinal Lymph Nodes | http://www.lymphnodesexpert.com/?page_id=3