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Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck on One Side

Lymph Nodes Overview

Lymph nodes are small glands that are part of the lymphatic system. They are located in many different areas of the body. They are mainly found in the neck, armpits and the groin. Lymph nodes have an important function to filter lymph fluid and trap viruses, bacteria, cancer cells and other pathogens, and to eliminate them from the body. Lymph nodes also absorb essential nutrients. Healthy lymph nodes are not tender or painful. Swollen lymph nodes indicate presence of certain health problem. Lymph nodes can become swollen due to infections, inflammatory condition, abscess or tumor.

Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck on One Side

In the neck area, lymph nodes are located behind the ears, under the jaw and chin and in the back of the head. Medical term for the neck is cervix thus lymph nodes of the neck are called cervical lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck can result from number of causes. In this area, lymph nodes commonly swell due to an injury like cut or bite, because of viral and bacterial infection. In such case the swelling occurs suddenly and it is painful. However, painless enlargement of lymph nodes commonly develops because of cancer or tumor that has formed near a lymph node. Common causes of swollen lymph nodes include: strep throat, common cold, mononucleosis, flu, ear infection, gingivitis, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, mouth sores, tooth problem, toxoplasmosis, rubella, inflammation of epiglottis and sexually transmitted disease such as HIV or syphylis. Swollen lymph nodes may occur because of skin conditions such as acne, impetigo and sebaceous cyst. Supraclavicular lymph nodes that are positioned just above the collar bone become swollen mostly because of viral or bacterial infection but it can be also the warning sign of cancer. Cancers that commonly lead to swollen cervical lymph nodes are Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, lymphoma, mouth cancer, and larynx cancer.

Treatment for Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck on Side

Since swollen lymph nodes can indicate serious health problem it always has to be examined. Seek medical help if you experience symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes, pain and tenderness, and redness and inflammation of the skin in area of the lymph node. Treatment will be determined based on the cause of swollen lymph nodes. The cause can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests, X-rays and CT scan. Biopsy of the swollen node may be necessary too. Swollen lymph nodes in neck on one side can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. Pain of enlarged lymph nodes can be relieved with warm compresses.

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