Gland swelling commonly refers to enlargement of the lymph glands, also known as lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small rounded or bean-shaped masses of lymphatic tissue surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph glands (nodes) are located in many places in the lymphatic system throughout the body. Lymph nodes filter the lymphatic fluid and store special cells that can trap cancer cells or bacteria that are traveling through the body in the lymph fluid. The lymph nodes are critical for the body's immune response and are principal sites where many immune reactions are initiated.
Groups of lymph nodes are found in the neck, around the collarbone, in the armpit (axilla), and in the groin. Lymph nodes in the groin region are referred to as inguinal lymph nodes. During a physical examination, a doctor may feel (palpate) these areas to look for swollen or enlarged lymph glands.
Swelling of the lymph glands is typically a result of local or widespread inflammation, but sometimes enlarged lymph nodes are due to cancer. Swollen lymph glands are referred to as lymphadenopathy. Inflammation of a lymph node is referred to as lymphadenitis.
Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes include
- localized pain,
- tenderness, and
- warmth in the involved area.
Sometimes swollen lymph nodes cause no symptoms (referred to as asymptomatic lymph node swelling). Symptoms that can be associated with lymph node swelling, depending on the cause, include
Other glands that are sometimes perceptible when swollen are the tonsils, parotid glands, salivary glands, tear (lacrimal) glands, and the thyroid gland.
Other causes of swollen lymph nodes
- Bacterial Infections
- Fungal Infection
- Parasite Infections
- Silicone Particles in Body (Finger or Toe Joint Implants, Breast Implants)
- Viral Infections (Most Common Cause of Gland Swelling)
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth that has spread to the root. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and the presence of a pus-filled lesion on the gum. A dental professional diagnoses an abscessed tooth and dental X-rays may be required. An abscessed tooth is treated with a root canal.
Adenovirus 14 (Killer Cold Virus)
Adenovirus infection, particularly Ad14, or the "killer cold virus" has been on the increase in the past two years. Symptoms range from those experienced with colds, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pinkeye, fever, bladder infection, and neurological conditions. Diagnosis and treatment options need to be discussed with your physician.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Anthrax is a deadly infectious disease that may be transmitted to humans by infected animals or by biological warfare. There are three types of anthrax: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Symptoms of cutaneous anthrax include a swollen glands, muscle ache, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a red-brown raised spot that enlarges, blisters, and hardens, forming an ulcer crater with black crust. Symptoms of inhalation anthrax are flu-like and may progress to respiratory distress, shock, coma, and death. Symptoms of gastrointestinal anthrax include loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Treatment for cutaneous anthrax involves penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and ciprofloxin. Inhalation anthrax necessitates treatment with IV therapy with antibiotics.
Are Boils Contagious?
A boil is a hair follicle that has been infected with bacteria. Boils can spread if a person's boil touches another person. Treatment typically involves draining the boil and using topical and/or oral antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria inside the boil.
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
The bacteria Brucella causes brucellosis, an infectious zoonotic disease in humans. Symptoms and signs include fatigue, fever, sweating, and appetite loss. The preferred treatment is doxycycline and rifampin taken for six to eight weeks.
People with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder that involves episodes of bingeing and purging, experience symptoms and signs such as deteriorating teeth, sore throat, constipation, thinning hair, and dehydration. Treatment of bulimia may involve cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy, nutritional counseling, and medication.
Burkitt lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that affect the bone marrow and central nervous system. There are multiple types of Burkitt lymphoma. Gene mutations, malaria, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may increase the risk of these cancers. Symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma may include nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, and many other symptoms. Diagnosis involves lab testing, imaging studies, patient history, and cytogenic evaluation. There are multiple staging systems used to stage Burkitt lymphoma. Treatment consists of chemotherapy. The prognosis of the cancer tends to be more favorable in children than in adults.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Castleman Disease is a group of related conditions. It is a rare disease with an unknown prevalence. Signs and symptoms of Castleman disease include: Weight loss Cough Rash Nausea Vomiting Night sweats Fever Fatigue Castleman disease is caused by an abnormal growth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. There are two types of Castleman disease; 1) unicentric, and 2) multicentric. Castleman disease is diagnosed by biopsy of the suspected lymph nodes. Castleman disease is treated with medications (for example, corticosteroids, chemotherapy drugs, immunodilating drugs, interferon-alfa, and anti-viral medications), surgery, and radiation therapy. The life expectancy for a person with Castleman disease is difficult to determine because the condition is rare and takes different forms.
Cat Scratch Disease
Cat scratch disease (CSD or cat scratch fever), a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae, is characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, poor appetite, swelling of the lymph nodes, and mild infection at the site of the bite or scratch. Cats that carry B. henselae don't show signs of illness. Approximately 40% of cats carry the bacteria at some point in their lives.
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth, inflammation, and pain. The most common cause of cellulitis is the bacteria staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Chagas Disease (American Trypanosomiasis or Kissing Bug Disease)
Chagas disease is an infection caused by the T. cruzi parasite. Symptoms of Chagas disease include rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and the Romaña sign. An ELISA test is used to diagnose Chagas disease. Treatment depends upon the phase of the disease and the patient's age.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts six months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Connective Tissue (CT) Disease
Connective tissue disease is when the body's connective tissues come under attack, possibly becoming injured by inflammation. Inherited connective tissue diseases include Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymositis, and dermatomyositis are examples of connective tissue diseases that have no known cause.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that is spread from person to person via spit, semen, vaginal secretions, urine, blood, sexual contact, breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and breast milk. Symptoms of CMV include fatigue, swollen glands, fever, and sore throat. You can take precautions to prevent CMV such as washing hands frequently and thoroughly and using condoms. If you work in a day care center, wash your hands thoroughly after contact with body secretions, and avoid oral contact with objects covered in saliva. Individuals with HIV infection are at most risk of contracting CMV.
Dengue fever is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms and signs of dengue include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint and muscle pain, rash, and swollen glands. Since dengue is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine to treat it. Treatment instead focuses on relieving the symptoms.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a common cause of mononucleosis (viral pharyngitis). Symptoms and signs of an EBV infection include swollen lymph nodes, fever, rash, sore throat, malaise, and a swollen liver and/or spleen. Treatment focuses on reducing the severity of the symptoms and signs. There is no vaccine to prevent EBV infections.
Gaucher disease is caused by an inherited (genetic) defect in an enzyme glucocerebroside. Signs and symptoms for Gaucher disease include anemia (low blood cell count), easy bruising, easy bleeding, bone pain, fatigue, low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), and enlarged liver and spleen. There are different types of Gaucher disease. Treatment for Gaucher disease depends on type, and symptoms of the disease.
German Measles (Rubella)
German measles is a disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include rash and fever for two to three days. The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine prevents this disease.
HIV vs. AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus causes HIV infection. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a condition that results after HIV has extensively damaged a person's immune system. Risk factors for HIV and AIDS include use of contaminated needles or syringes, unprotected sex, STDs, receiving a blood transfusion prior to 1985 in the United States, having many sex partners, and transmission from a mother to her child.
Hodgkin's disease is a cancer of the lymphatic system with symptoms that include unexplained, recurring fevers, unexplained weight loss, itchy skin, and painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, and groin. Treatment for adult Hodgkin's disease depends on the staging of the disease, the size of the lymph nodes, and the health of the patient.
Hodgkin's vs. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Both Hodgkin's disease (sometimes referred to as Hodgkin's lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are cancers that originate in a type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte, an important component of the body's immune system.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Still incurable, AIDS describes immune system collapse that opens the way for opportunistic infections and cancers to kill the patient. Early symptoms and signs of HIV infection include flu-like symptoms and fungal infections, but some people may not show any symptoms for years. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection. These combination drug regimens have made HIV much less deadly, but a cure or vaccine for the pandemic remains out of reach. HIV is usually transmitted through sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles, but can also infect someone through contact with infected blood. Sexual abstinence, safe sex practices, quitting IV drugs (or at least using clean needles), and proper safety equipment by clinicians and first responders can drastically reduce transmission rates for HIV/AIDS.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Impetigo: Symptoms, Transmission, Treatment, and Cure
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: nonbullous and bullous. Symptoms of nonbullous impetigo include small blisters on the nose, face, arms, or legs and possibly swollen glands. Bullous impetigo signs include blisters in various areas, particularly in the buttocks area. Treatment involves gentle cleansing, removing the crusts of popped blisters, and the application of prescription-strength mupirocin antibiotic ointment.
Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono)
Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Is Mononucleosis (Mono) Contagious?
Mononucleosis (mono) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and can be transmitted by an infected person's saliva. Mono symptoms and signs include rash, enlarged spleen, swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, and fatigue.
Is Scarlet Fever Contagious?
Group A strep bacteria cause scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is transmitted via person-to-person contact and by coming in contact with contaminated objects. Antibiotics treat scarlet fever. Symptoms of scarlet fever include a red rash with a rough, sandpaper-like feeling, a fever above 101F, a red, sore throat, strawberry tongue, headache and bodyaches, nausea, vomiting, enlarged lymphnodes, and a white coating on the back of the throat or tongue.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six types of JRA. Treatment of juvenile arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms that manifest.
Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the following five symptoms are present: rash, swollen neck lymph gland, red tongue, swelling or redness of the hands or feet, and conjunctivitis. High doses of aspirin are used to treat Kawasaki disease. Cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used during treatment.
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells in which the growth and development of the blood cells are abnormal. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (the leukocytes) but in practice it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia).
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin causing a reddish rash associated with flu-like symptoms. It takes weeks to months after the initial redness of the skin for its effects to spread throughout the body. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease can be prevented by using tick avoidance techniques.
Lymphedema is a condition in which one or more extremities become swollen as the result of an impaired flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery is the most common cause. Symptoms include swelling of one or more limbs, cracked and thickening skin, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin. There is no cure for lymphedema.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is not known what causes MCL. MCL signs and symptoms include fever, enlarged spleen and liver, fatigue, and weight loss. Treatment of MCL incorporates radiotherapy and chemotherapy. MCL has a poor prognosis as it typically is diagnosed in a late stage.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes symptoms such as fever, sweating, and a rash with papules and pustules on the face and chest. PCR, ELISA, or Western blot tests are used to diagnose monkeypox. Treatment usually involves administering a smallpox vaccination, cidofovir, and possibly vaccinia immune globulin.
Mumps is an acute viral illness caused by the mumps virus. Symptoms and signs of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of the salivary glands.
Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum) is bacteria found in fresh and saltwater that can infect the skin through cuts or scrapes, causing granulomas to appear on the skin near the site of infection. This infection may be treated with a long course of oral antibiotics.
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain. Though treatment for neck pain really depends upon the cause, treatment typically may involve heat/ice application, traction, physical therapy, cortisone injection, topical anesthetic creams, and muscle relaxants.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, a vital part of the body's immune system. Symptoms and signs include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, coughing, weakness, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain. Treatment depends on which type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma one has, the stage of the cancer, one's age, how fast the cancer is growing, and whether one has other health problems.
Onchocerciasis, or river blindness, is a parasitic disease that may cause blindness. It is transmitted by the bite of a female blackfly. Symptoms include skin depigmentation, vision loss, and itch. Ivermectin is used to treat the disease.
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when the wisdom teeth erupt. Symptoms include pain, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty opening the mouth. Pericoronitis can be diagnosed by a dentist and is treated with pain medication. Severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Plague (Black Death)
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Transmission to humans occurs via fleas that have bitten infected rodents. There are three forms of plague that infect humans: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Antibiotics are the standard treatment for plague.
Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PIDD)
Primary immunodeficiency disease or PIDD is a group of over 250 genetic diseases that involve the immune system. Symptoms of primary immunodeficiency diseases depend upon the specific disease, but some may include: Enlarged spleen Abnormal blood counts Recurrent skin infections Digestive problems Frequent hard-to-treat infections Treatment for primary immunodeficiency disease depend upon the cause.
Roseola is a viral illness that most commonly affects young children. Symptoms and signs include a sudden high fever that lasts for three to five days, swollen neck glands, runny nose, puffy eyelids, diarrhea, irritability, and a bulging soft spot on the head.
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with a sandpaper-like texture, and sore throat. Oral penicillin is the standard treatment for scarlet fever, or scarlatina.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
Small Cell Lung Cancer vs. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) consist of large cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) usually starts in the bronchi and typically appears in those who smoke. SCLC and NSCLC are staged in different manners, and SCLC tends to metastasize more quickly than NSCLC. Signs and symptoms of NSCLC and SCLC include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, recurring lung infections, and chest pain. Treatment may involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Still's disease (systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) is a disorder characterized by inflammation with high fever spikes, fatigue, salmon-colored rash, and/or arthritis. Though there have been several theories regarding the cause(s) of Still's disease, the cause is not yet known. Many symptoms of Still's disease are often treatable with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Though the cause of stomach cancer is unknown, risk factors for stomach cancer include diet, H. pylori infection, smoking age, gastritis, stomach surgery, family history, and pernicious anemia. Symptoms include stomach discomfort, feeling full after a small meal, nausea and vomiting, and weight loss. Treatment depends upon staging and may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Strep Throat (GAS): Treatment and Symptoms
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever. Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.
Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacteria that causes a variety of health problems, including strep throat, impetigo, cellulitis, erysipelas, and scarlet fever. There are more than 10 million group A strep infections each year.
There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the thyroid are referred to as thyroid nodules. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include swollen lymph nodes, pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and a lump near the Adam's apple. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone treatment or external radiation and depends upon the type of thyroid cancer, the patient's age, the tumor size, and whether the cancer has metastasized.
Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. The inflamed thyroid gland can release an excess of thyroid hormones into the blood stream, resulting in a temporary hyperthyroid state. Some forms of thyroiditis can be diagnosed based on tenderness and enlargement of the thyroid gland. A thyroid scan sometimes is used in making the diagnosis. Thyroiditis can also be diagnosed with a biopsy of the thyroid gland.
Toxoplasmosis (toxo) is a parasitic infection that causes flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches and pains that may last from a few days to several weeks. Toxoplasmosis can be contracted by touching the hands to the mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat's litter box, or anything that came into contact with cat feces. Toxoplasmosis can also be contracted by eating raw or partly cooked meat, especially pork or lamb, or touching the hands to the mouth after contact with raw or undercooked meat
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Symptoms and signs of TB include bloody sputum, fever, cough, weight loss, and chest pain. Treatment depends upon the type of TB infection.
Tularemia (rabbit fever) is an infection caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. People can become infected with tularemia by coming into contact with infected animals or via a tick bite. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache and rash. Tularemia is treated with streptomycin or gentamicin.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (West Nile encephalitis) is a brain infection caused by a virus. People become infected with the virus after they're bitten by a mosquito that has fed off of a bird that's infected with the West Nile virus. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache, rash, body ache, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for a West Nile virus infection involves supportive care.