Why do lymph nodes become inflamed?


Lymphadenopathy is when the lymph nodes become inflamed. Sensitive people may immediately suspect this to be a serious disease like cancer.

swollen glands

What is lymph and why is it needed?


Lymph is a liquid that washes out dead cells in the body as well as bacteria, viruses and toxins.

In total there are more than 500 lymph nodes in the body. The act like pumps, forcing the lymph to move in lymph flows. The lymph is made up of he lymphocytes, also known as white blood cells which make up the lymph, protect the circulatory system and prevent entry of bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.

Where are the lymph nodes located?

Part of the bodyWhere are they?
Upper limbs“Under the armpits,” on his elbows.
Head“in the ear area,” under his jaw.
Chest“in the trachea and bronchi, near the sternum,” between the ribs.
Neckin front of the neck, both on the surface and deep.
Pelvis“in the area of the sacrum,” the iliac bone.
Lower limbsin the groin, both on the surface and in the depths, under the knees.
Abdominal cavity in the liver, stomach and the internal genitals of women.

Why do lymph nodes become inflamed?

Lymph nodes are concentrated in groups in various parts of the body. Each group performs its own function in the body. Although increase in lymph nodes may be a sign of terrible diseases such as TB, HIV, ARVI, sexually transmitted disease and cancer, the main reason is always the development of the disease near the region where the lymph nodes are located. If there aren’t enough lymphocytes in the lymph to fight the harmful agents, they will actively multiply to eliminate the infection. For this reason, the lymph nodes will become enlarged and hardened and the skin above that region will become very sensitive.

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Inflammation of the lymph nodes is therefore not an independent disease but rather a signal the body sends to indicate that there is something wrong.

Depending on the type of lymph nodes that become inflamed, you can easily determine where the problem is. This method is used by doctors in the diagnosis of some diseases.


If the lymph node has increased in size without any rise in temperature, when pressure is put on that region and there is no pain and the general body condition has not worsened then everything is fine. This simply means that the lymph node is working more actively than others.

However, if you feel weak, you have sore ears and throat, headache and there is a rise in temperature then there could something wrong. The inflammation may be due to cold or flu and the best option is to visit the doctor. For instance, you can go to the dentist if you suddenly experience tooth decay. Once the disease is treated the lymph nodes will go back to their original size.

There are also cases when the inflamed lymph nodes cause serious discomfort and they may even pose a danger to life. At this point is when you need serious medical attention.

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We worry when there is:

  • General weakness and a sense of malaise
  • High temperature
  • Soreness in the mouth, throat, ears and head in general
  • Have breathing problems and difficulty swallowing
  • Two weeks later, the lymph nodes do not return to normal.

We sound alarmed when:

  • The skin above the lymph nodes becomes very red and sore
  • Lymph nodes have become inflamed in several places
  • The node doesn’t move if you apply a little pressure on it
  • There is hyperhidrosis, impenetrable fever and weight loss for no reason.

If the lymph nodes are inflamed and there is no sign of cold or infection then this is a bad sign as the problem might be due to autoimmune diseases or oncology.

How to help myself before visiting a doctor?

If you already have plans to visit the doctor but you need to find relief from the symptoms, here are some simple tips:

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  • Take painkillers to lower the temperature and relieve the pain a little. The best option is paracetamol. With aspirin and ibuprofen you need to be careful as they should not be given to children and people who have problems with blood clotting, without consulting a doctor.
  • Rest – it will help to quickly cope with the disease. Take sick or time off if possible.
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Always remember that self medication is not recommended and you first need to consult a doctor.

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Cornelius Arthur
I am an English language and literature teacher. I have worked in many cities of the world. I am currently producing content at upwork as a freelance. I find and produce the right content by doing good research.


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