Swollen glands in the necks are actually swollen lymph glands, which are found in the neck. The lymph glands are a part of the lymphatic system, which is very important for the immune system. While the lymphatic system carries the lymph with essential nutrients through the lymph vessels throughout the body, the lymph nodes have the role to filter the lymph from the harmful pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, which are killed by the lymphocytes subsequently. There is a large number of lymphatic glands in the human body and they can be single or they can be formed in groups.
On the other hand, swollen glands in neck may refer to the enlarged salivary gland, or inflamed and enlarged thyroid gland, since they are also situated in the neck region.
Types of swollen glands in neck
When the swelling appears just beneath the ear and underneath the jaw in the upper part of the neck, then it is the case of swollen and inflamed salivary gland. On the other side, the swelling that occurs beside the Adam’s apple in the lower part of the neck usually indicates swollen thyroid gland. When the lymph nodes are in the question, their swelling can be observed in any place on the neck since they can be found around the ears, below the lower jaw and chin, as well as in the hollow of the collarbone and in the nape of the neck.
Causes of swollen lymph glands in neck
When the lymph glands are swollen, it is the first sign that there is a disease or infection present in the body. Swollen lymph glands in the neck are a common symptom of several medical conditions, such as common cold, tonsillitis and sore throat. Furthermore, it is quite common to notice swollen glands in the neck in those people who suffer from injury, some mouth infection, epiglottitis, as well as from ear or skin infection. Other health conditions that are considered to be responsible for the occurrence of enlarged lymph nodes in the neck are tuberculosis, sinusitis, HIV/AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, lupus and syphilis. Mouth and larynx cancer may also cause swollen glands in the neck.
Apart from swelling that can be seen or felt under the touch, there are several other symptoms that go along with the enlargement of the glands and they are pain, tenderness and firmness of the glands. It is also possible that the skin that covers the area over the swollen gland turns red.