Swollen Glands : How to check if you have Swollen Glands ?


Small glands called lymph nodes filter lymph, a clear fluid that travels throughout the lymphatic system. When they are infected, they gather germs as well as sick or dead cells. Coughing, exhaustion, and fever are possible symptoms.

Your body's lymphatic system is made up of blood vessel-like channels that run throughout it. Small glands called lymph nodes filter lymph, a clear fluid that travels throughout the lymphatic system.

All across the body, there are lymph nodes. Many locations under the skin contain them, including:

  • Beneath the jaw
  • Above the collarbone
  • Under the armpits, on either side of the neck, and on either side of the groin.
  • White blood cells, which are in charge of eradicating invaders, are kept in lymph nodes.

Lymph Nodes function similarly to a military checkpoint. At the lymph node, bacteria, viruses, and aberrant or sick cells are blocked from traveling through the lymph channels.

The lymph nodes gather detritus during an infection or sickness, such as germs and dead or diseased cells.


One indication that your lymphatic system is striving to purge your body of infection and disease is swollen lymph nodes.


When an infection spreads to the region where the lymph nodes reside, the nodes enlarge. For instance, an upper respiratory illness like the common cold might cause the lymph nodes in the neck to swell.

Infections like these can also result in swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck. You can also experience the following:

  • Hearing loss
  • Nasal congestion
  • A flu
  • An abscessed tooth skin infection and strep throat mononucleosis (mono) tooth infection.
  • Lymph node enlargement in the groin region can be caused by STIs other than HIV, such as syphilis or gonorrhea.

Additional root causes include:

  • Itch fever
  • Tonsillitis 
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Tuberculosis 
  • Shingles
  • Biological causes

Lymph nodes can expand all across the body due to illnesses including immune system problems or malignancies.

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are immune system diseases that enlarge the lymph nodes.

The lymph nodes may enlarge as a result of any malignancies that spread throughout the body. Survival rates drop when cancer from one location spreads to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes enlarge as a side effect of lymphoma which is a malignancy of the lymphatic system.

Swollen lymph nodes can also result from, but is not limited to:

  • Several medicines, including seizure and malaria medications
  • Medicines that cause allergic reactions
  • Stress
  • Gingivitis
  • Oral ulcers
  • Leukaemia
  • Lymphoma of Hodgkin
  • The non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • A uncommon form of lymphoma called Sézary syndrome

Virus-induced lymph node swelling normally goes away once the virus has taken its toll. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. Treatment for alternative types of enlarged lymph nodes depends on the cause:

Infection. Antibiotics are the most common therapy for enlarged lymph nodes brought on by a bacterial infection. You will receive special therapy for your disease if your enlarged lymph nodes are caused by an HIV infection.

Immune dysfunction. Treatment is focused on the underlying illness if your enlarged lymph nodes are brought on by disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Cancer. Cancer therapy is necessary for swollen nodes brought on by cancer. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, depending on the kind of cancer.

How to check if you have Swollen Glands?

Consult a doctor if you encounter any of the symptoms that can occasionally go along with enlarged lymph nodes, or if the swelling is uncomfortable and you do not have any other symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes that are not painful might signal a major issue.

In some instances, when other symptoms subside, the enlarged lymph node will shrink. See a doctor if a lymph node is painfully enlarged or if the swelling persists for more than a few days.

Risk Factors

The following factors can increase the risk of swollen glands:

  • A cold or any relatively small viral or bacterial infection will result in swollen glands.
  • Tonsillitis.
  • Fever due to glands.
  • Throat irritation.
  • A ringing in the ears.
  • Abscess in the mouth.
  • Skin illness known as cellulitis


An alternative term for lymph node swelling is lymphadenopathy. Swollen lymph nodes may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever 
  • Chills
  • Clogged nose
  • Sweating
  • Walking or bending may hurt because of groin lymph node swelling.


Swollen lymph nodes may only be avoided by avoiding the situations that could lead to them. These are some options for you to consider:

  • To maintain the health of your teeth and gums, practice good dental hygiene.
  • Always wash your hands.
  • Get immunised against diseases including the flu, shingles, and TB.
  • You should refrain from sharing food, drinks, or private goods like towels with somebody who has an infectious illness like mono or a cold.
  • Utilise condoms or other sexual barrier techniques.
  • If you are experiencing a negative or allergic response, talk to your doctor about changing your medicines.
  • Avoid letting your domestic cats play outside or around wild cats.


No therapy is necessary if swollen lymph nodes shrink on their own. The doctor could decide in some circumstances to watch them without giving them any medication.

In the event of an infection, you can be given antibiotics or antiviral drugs to treat the illness that is causing your enlarged lymph nodes. In order to ease pain and lessen inflammation, your doctor may also suggest drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

Malignancy-related swollen lymph nodes could not return to normal size until the malignancy is treated. The tumor or any damaged lymph nodes may need to be removed as part of the cancer treatment. To reduce the tumor, chemotherapy may also be used.

The optimal course of therapy for you will be discussed with your doctor.

Complications of Swollen Glands

Your enlarged lymph nodes may be caused by infection, which if left untreated might lead to an abscess. Abscesses are small, pus-filled swellings brought on by infections. White blood cells, fluid, dead tissue, and bacteria or other intruders can all be found in pus. Antibiotic therapy and drainage may be necessary for an abscess.

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Page last reviewed: May 2, 2023

Next review due: May 2, 2025

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