Lymphatic system is an integral part of the immune system, responsible for the maintenance of good health. It consists of lymph nodes, and these nodes contain white blood cells, which filter every foreign particle that enters the body. Swelling of the lymph nodes can affect any of the part of the body, since they are widely distributed in the human organism. Most commonly, though, people experience swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical lymph nodes), under arms (armpits) or in the genital area.
Symptoms may include different problems, depending on the exact location of swollen area in the neck. People can feel swelling on the upper part of the neck, under their chin or around their ears. This problem may but doesn’t have to be necessarily associated with pain, and in some cases skin over the affected lymph node could get red and inflamed. Upper respiratory infection signs can accompany swollen lymph nodes as well. If the person experiences rapid growth of the lymph node in the neck, its hardening and firming, it might be a sign of a tumor. Lump in the neck can also be the symptom of the metastasis of tonsil cancer.
What Causes Swelling of the Neck Lymph Nodes
Infections of upper part of the respiratory tract are known to trigger the swelling of the lymph nodes located in the neck. Common cold, sore or strep throat and tonsillitis are some of the common problems associated with swollen lymph nodes, but tuberculosis, and various bacterial and viral infections can also lead to the same problem. There are also some other potential causes of the swelling, like infections of the teeth, sinuses, skin or the ear, impetigo, gum-related problems or even acne in some cases. Inflammation of the epiglottis (epiglottitis), peritonsillar abscess, rubella or toxoplasmosis can also be possible causes of the swollen neck lymph nodes.
Swelling of the neck lymph node may be a sign of a serious medical condition, including: sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or cancers. Syphilis, leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and cancers of the mouth or larynx are known to lead to the swelling of the lymph nodes in neck area.
What’s the Treatment
According to the cause of the problem, treatments may vary. Bacterial infections are resolved with antibiotic drugs, if necessary. If your doctor is suspecting some form of the cancer as the cause of swollen lymph nodes in the neck, you should be diagnosed and then treated properly. Once the cause is eliminated, the swelling should subside. If it doesn’t, you must consult your doctor and discover the reason for further problems.