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Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck on One Side

Lymph Nodes: An Overview

Lymph nodes are small glands that are part of the lymphatic system. They are located in many different areas of the body. The lymph nodes 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 the presence of some sort of health problem, and people who notice that the lymph nodes in a particular part of their body are swollen or painful should always seek medical attention. Lymph nodes can become swollen due to infections, inflammatory condition, abscesses, or even benign or malignant tumors.

Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes in the 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. The medical term for the neck is the cervix, and thus the lymph nodes of the neck are called cervical lymph nodes.

Swollen lymph nodes in the neck can result from a number of causes. In this area, lymph nodes commonly swell due to an injury like a cut or bite, and because of viral and bacterial infections. In such cases, the swelling of the lymph nodes occurs suddenly and it is painful.

However, a painless enlargement of lymph nodes commonly develops because of cancer or a non-cancerous tumor that has formed near a lymph node.

Common causes of swollen lymph nodes include: strep throat, the common cold, mononucleosis, flu, ear infection, gingivitis, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, mouth sores, tooth problem, toxoplasmosis, rubella, inflammation of the 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 as well.

Supraclavicular lymph nodes that are positioned just above the collar bone become swollen mostly because of viral or bacterial infection but swollen and painful lymph nodes in this region of the body 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 a 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, since this is a symptom, rather than a medical condition on its own. The cause can be diagnosed with the help of blood tests, X-rays, and a CT scan. A biopsy of the swollen node, in which a small piece of tissue is removed and then examined in a lab, may be necessary too.

The symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in neck on one side can themselves be managed with anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. The pain of enlarged lymph nodes can also be relieved with warm compresses.

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