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What are the symptoms of lymph node problems?

Swelling of the skin might usually go unnoticed unless you regularly do a health check up or pay close attention to the body. It is natural to have swelling if you experience trauma or injury such as a bumped knee from tripping on the ground or accidentally hitting your head to the wall. However, what if a swelling happens without a reason and suddenly gets enlarged day by day. Be careful, this could be a lymph node problem and medical supplements might not be enough to relieve it.

Lymph nodes are a small pea-sized tissue containing white blood cells which function in the body’s immune system. Lymph nodes or lymph glands can swell when in the body is experiencing infection or certain diseases. A swollen lymph node is also known as lymphadenopathy. Lymphadenopathy can be felt under the chin, in the neck, on the armpits and around the groin. Sometimes the lymph nodes can get inflamed due to infection and cause inflammation signs such as redness or tenderness. This is called lymphadenitis.

We often heard that a lymph node problem could be a sign of a cancer especially if it does not disappear within weeks, the swelling gets bigger at slow pace, is painless, firm upon touch and accompanied with other symptoms such as night sweats and unintentional weight loss. For example, in cancer of the blood (leukaemia) and lymph system (lymphoma), swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of serious conditions. However, this is not entirely true as lymph node problems could also signify other medical conditions.

1-     Infections- Infections to the area nearby the lymph nodes such as throat infection, ear infection, tonsillitis, glandular fever and dental abscess.

2-     Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- occurs in two or more lymph nodes

3-     Skin infection- cellulitis can be accompanied with swelling lymph nodes

4-     Tuberculosis- a person with tuberculosis often experiences persistent cough due to the bacterial infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

5-     Rubella- a viral infection causing a red-pink skin rash

6-     Measles- a viral illness causing red brown spots in the skin

7-     Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- a common virus usually harmless but can be problematic in babies when a mother catches this virus during her pregnancy

8-     Syphilis- an infection caused by Treponema pallidum, usually occurs from sexual activities with those that has been infected by syphilis

9-     Cat scratch disease- infection that occur from scratches of an infected cat

10-  Lupus- an autoimmune disease which usually affects women in reproductive age and affects many different body systems such as skin, joints, kidney, heart and brain

11-  Rheumatoid arthritis- an autoimmune disease causing the joint to be stiff and painful especially in the morning

As you can see, there are a plethora of medical conditions that could be linked with lymph nodes problem. Hence, it is necessary to get medical advice to make sure the problems are not a sign of a serious underlying health problem. It is advisable to get a check up if the swollen gland has been around for weeks, having a swollen gland with no other sign of illness or infection, the swollen gland becomes hard and when experiencing symptoms of fever, night sweats and weight loss. A typical swollen gland should resolve on its own in 2 weeks’ time. Having a good rest, keeping a hydrated body by drinking water and taking painkillers should be able to alleviate the uneasiness or discomfort. If you are having doubts about the lymph node problems or simply worried, it is best to discuss it with healthcare professionals and not to self-diagnose.