The lymph nodes are distributed throughout our body and connected through small tubes responsible for transporting a fluid called lymph. In this liquid, all the microorganisms that can affect humans are filtered.
The nodes are distributed in areas, such as the groin, armpits, behind the knees, the neck, and behind the ears and tend to become inflamed according to causes such as infectious processes of a viral or bacterial nature, diseases of the immune system, and even lumps in some part of the body.
The treatment of swollen glands will depend directly on the cause that the doctor or specialist has identified after evaluation. If you want to know more about swollen glands behind the ear: causes and treatment, keep reading this article from FastlyHeal.
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What are lymph nodes?
The lymph nodes are the stations where the lymph stops to be filtered from any microorganism attacking the body. These structures measure less than one centimeter in diameter, are soft, and are distributed throughout the body, forming what is known as the lymphatic system. They can move quickly and, in addition, they are not painful. They are all made up of cells that are part of the immune system acting as a defense of our body.
The nodes are grouped in different areas such as the armpits, the neck, behind the knee, and behind the ears. Only in some parts of the body can the nodes be easily palpated, and the lymph nodes behind the ears are one of them. These make up the superficial lymphatic system.
Causes of swollen glands behind the ear
Suppose a lymph node changes in terms of its consistency, mobility, size, and the manifestation of pain for some reason. In that case, it is called adenopathy, and the most common causes of this are fearsome bacterial or viral infections.
Usually, the nodes behind the ears become inflamed in case of local infections such as:
- Respiratory disorders: including common colds, pharyngitis, flu, infectious mononucleosis, or Epstein Barr.
- Infections that occur in the head region: otitis, conjunctivitis.
- Skin infections: folliculitis and even acne.
- Oral cavity infections: dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, cold sores, tonsillitis.
- Adverse effects from the consumption of some medications.
Fortunately, the swelling of the lymph nodes is mainly related to causes that disappear on their own in fewer than 30 days, and, usually, they are benign causes. That is, they do not suggest any malignancy.
If this does not happen and the symptoms do not remit in the stipulated time, and other symptoms are associated such as fever, weight loss, pain when moving the lymph node, we may be in the presence of other causes such as, for example:
- Lymph node tuberculosis.
- Neck cancer
- Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
Treatment for swollen glands behind the ear
It is likely that your GP, to give the proper diagnosis about swollen lymph nodes behind the ear, needs to analyze your complete medical history and, above all, know at what exact moment these nodes became inflamed and their peculiarities.
The physical examination will be necessary to corroborate the characteristics of these nodules regarding pain, temperature, size, texture, and mobility. This can guide the doctor as to the underlying cause.
A blood test, imaging study, and a biopsy will likely be required to make the differential diagnosis between one cause and lymph node swelling.
All this is necessary before the indication of an effective treatment. You should know, then, that if you have swollen glands or nodules behind the ear, treatment may include the following:
- If it is a viral infection, the inflammation will subside without the need for any specific treatment.
- If it is a bacterial infection, once the cause has been identified, it is necessary to administer antibiotics.
- In the case of HIV infection, proper treatment for this condition will be necessary, that is, the use of antiretrovirals.
- It all depends exclusively on the cause to be treated, in severe cases, being cancer. Depending on the type and location, the treatment will include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
You can apply or use some simple measures in case the nodes are painful and tender, such as:
- Warm water compresses.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen.
- Rest is necessary when recovering from any condition.
Usually, swollen nodules or glands behind the ears tend to resolve on their own or through treatments such as antibiotics. Otherwise, if they do not remit and other symptoms appear, medical evaluation is necessary.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Immune system category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.