There are many medical conditions associated with sore throat and swollen cervical glands. Inflammation of the throat (bacterial, viral or fungal) always leads to sore throat. Only in some cases patients can additionally develop enlarged lymph glands. Apart from infections which are easily treated with suitable medications some medical conditions such as cancers of the head and neck can also cause sore throat and swollen glands. Unfortunately, in this case treatment depends on many factors and almost never leads to complete eradication of the disease.
What are Causes of Sore Throat and Swollen Glands?
Fortunately, the majority of patients that complain about sore throat and swollen glands actually suffer from bacterial or viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, to be more precise the throat and/or oral cavity.
The pain originates from an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the oral cavity and the throat as well as swelling and inflammation of the tonsils. The body can react to the infection and response in a form of regional lymph node enlargement. Not all bacterial or viral infections of the upper respiratory tract will cause swelling of the nearby glands. These two problems most commonly occur in strep throat, infective mononucleosis and several more infections.
Sore throat and swollen glands can also occur in people suffering from malignant tumors of the oral cavity or throat. In these patients the tumor infiltrates the tissues of the mouth and throat and this infiltration leads to pain. Enlargement of regional lymph nodes is caused either by the reaction to the presence of the tumor or spread of tumor cells.
Confirming Sore Throat and Swollen Glands
Patients complain about swallowing difficulties. The pain can be mild or very intensive when it simply does not allow a person to eat or drink. Inspection of the oral cavity gives perfect insight in redness of the affected mucous membrane and there may be enlargement of the tonsils. Enlarged lymph nodes of the neck can be noticed in case they are large enough and if they are only moderately swollen their enlargement can be confirmed with palpation.
Treatment for Sore Throat and Swollen Glands
Treatment for sore throat and swollen glands depends on the underlying cause. In case of infections patients can be treated with certain medications (antibiotics are used for bacterial infections while viral infections generally require symptomatic treatment). Tumors of the oral cavity and the throat are treated with several treatment modalities including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Infections are completely cured while prognosis of cancers depend on many factors.