Swollen lymph node: what should I do?

There are many ailments that can favor the swelling of a lymph node. Despite being common, we should not overlook it. It is important to be aware of what the causes and symptoms may be. Get to know them!


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Inflammation of a lymph node is very common and, if it happens to you, the first thing you should do is calm down. 80% of the time is due to a simple infection without major importance. It is usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection.

However, it is important to  see a doctor if you are worried . Either because the inflammation occurred for no apparent reason or is maintained over time. Also if the ganglion is hard or gummy, or there is a persistent fever.

We, for our part, want to explain what are the causes and symptoms that cause inflammation of a lymph node. In addition to what is its function and what can be done to prevent its inflammation.

What function do lymph nodes have?

Swollen lymph node

Think of the  lymphatic system  as a complex drainage and transport network that runs through our body.

Specifically, a network of organs, vessels and lymph nodes that are responsible for transporting fluid from the tissues surrounding cells to the blood.

This system has the function of defending and caring for our immune system. It purifies toxins, filters, traps and eliminates pathogens, germs or any foreign substance that can make us sick.

On the other hand, the lymph nodes are shaped like beans and are distributed through the neck, clavicle, armpits, internal organs and English. They usually have a centimeter and a half size. Normally we don’t even notice them, unless they get inflamed.

Why do lymph nodes swell?

Woman goes to the doctor for lymph node inflammation

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause is an infection. Especially a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu . Other causes with the following (the most common are in bold):

  • Moments when our immune system is weaker, with low defenses. 
  • An infection by a tooth. Although it may seem curious it can cause inflammation of any neck ganglion. It is therefore important to maintain good oral hygiene.
  • The ear infections . If they are very serious, they can lead to swollen lymph nodes.
  • Skin infections or a wound .
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Human immunodeficiency virus  (HIV)
  • Measles
  • Diseases such as tuberculosis or tonsillitis.
  • Immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Toxoplasmosis or cat scratch fever.
  • Mononucleosis
  • Certain sexually transmitted infections.
  • Leukemia, lymphoma or other types of cancer.

Read also: how to clean the lymphatic system: 5 solutions with plants

Symptoms of inflammation of a lymph node

Armpit, area of ​​the body where lymph nodes are present

It is possible that, for example, after having an annoying flu, you realize that in your neck you have an inflamed lymph node. It is the most common.

You may also, when taking a shower, notice a small lump under the armpit.

Precisely, an inflamed ganglion is a sign that something is not right in the body . Usually, its presence is usually quite evident, but it is important that you know all the symptoms.

And if you have any of these symptoms, inform your doctor. Again, according to the staff, from the renowned Mayo Clinic, these may be some of the symptoms:

  • Note a lump in your neck, collarbone, armpit or groin.
  • Sensitivity and pain in the lymph nodes.
  • Normally a lymph node is usually accompanied by a few tenths of fever. It is also possible that you suffer night sweats.
  • Sore throat or runny nose depending on the location of the swollen node
  • Hard ganglia that grow rapidly, indicating a possible tumor.
  • When it is a general inflammation of the lymph nodes throughout the body, it may indicate a major infection.

Maybe you might be interested: lump in the armpit When should I worry?

Can inflammation of a lymph node be prevented?


As we always point out to you in our space, there is no infallible formula that can protect us from certain diseases.

The important thing in the case of the lymphatic system will be to keep the immune system in good condition , so we invite you to know the most important guidelines:

  • Elevate your consumption of vitamin C:  ideal those natural juices in the morning, orange, lemon, grapefruit. Perfect varied fruit salads such as strawberries, kiwis, papayas … Delicious!
  • Yes to vitamin E:  especially all that is present in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, also in all whole foods such as oats, wheat, barley, brewer’s yeast … All fruits are also important dry
  • Improve your levels of iron, selenium and zinc:  lean meat, legumes, squash, salmon, olive oil … They are all key foods that can not be missing in your dishes.
  • Perform moderate intensity exercises regularly . Without exceeding
  • Take care of your stress levels:  the high production of cortisol and adrenaline alters the proper functioning of the immune system, also affecting our overall health. It is a serious aspect that we must take into account to prevent many of these diseases, so do not hesitate to properly manage your emotions.

Your health deserves it!

Now that you know the function of the lymphatic system, the causes of inflammation of a lymph node and its most common symptoms, it is up to you to contribute as much as you can to the lymphatic system can do its job successfully . How? With healthy eating habits, good emotion management and moderate physical activity.


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