The lymph nodes are small structures as nodules are essential in protecting the body against external agents. They act as a filter that retains viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances that have entered the bloodstream and later be eliminated. By having many of these toxic agents, their accumulation and irritant action cause the lymph nodes to swell and be perceptible to the touch, usually accompanied by pain; this condition is also known as adenopathy.
In the body, we can find the lymph nodes distributed in the neck, in the space of the clavicles, in the armpits, the elbows, and the groin. By identifying which lymph node is being affected, the possible origin can be determined. You must consult your doctor before any symptom of ailment where the lymph nodes are involved. He indicates the best treatment; However, at FastlyHealwe want to inform you about swollen lymph nodes: causes and treatment.
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Know the lymph nodes: where they are and what types are there
Lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, are small, oval structures found throughout the body. They contain lymphatic cells (called lymphocytes). Lymphocytes grow and mature within a lymph node (GL). These cells are a type of white blood cell (leukocyte) that help the body fight infection. GLs are part of the body’s lymphatic system.
They are connected by channels called lymphatic vessels, which are tiny tubes through which lymphocytes, proteins, and other substances move through different body parts. These are carried in a liquid called lymph. LNs can have different names depending on the area they are in, so these are the main types of lymph nodes :
• GL of the cervix
• Axillary GLs
• GLs of the mediastinum
• Inguinal GLs
• Retroperitoneal and mesenteric lymph nodes: These nodes are found in different parts of the abdomen.
• Pelvic GL
When lymph nodes become enlarged, they are called enlarged LNs. When the physician or the person can easily touch these in areas such as the neck, armpits, and groin, they are referred to as palpable GL.
Causes of swollen lymph nodes
The swelling of the lymph nodes is perceived when they increase in size and present pain. Generally, it develops from an infection in a nearby area. Among the leading causes that cause this condition are:
- Virus infection: they are mainly caused by a flu virus, although it is also expected that it is due to the action of varicella, measles, mumps, rubella, or tonsillitis viruses and the effect of the human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV).
- Bacterial infection: this is one of the most common causes of swollen lymph nodes, especially diseases caused by microbes called streptococcus, sexually transmitted bacteria such as syphilis, or an intestinal salmonella infection.
- Parasitic infection: the most common agents in tropical areas cause malaria and leishmaniasis, using the mosquito as a vector, and toxoplasmosis, and it develops through contact with affected animals or contaminated food.
- Cancer or malignant tumors: swollen lymph nodes can be caused by the presence of some cancer, such as lymphoma or hematological cancer.
- Other diseases: autoimmune pathologies such as sarcoidosis or rheumatoid arthritis can trigger inflammation in various body parts, mainly in the lymph nodes. Likewise, diseases that consist of the accumulation of protein material or lipids, such as amyloidosis or Gaucher disease, cause inflammation of the lymph nodes when they are deposited in them.
- Consumption of certain drugs: some drugs, as a side effect, increase the risk of developing adenopathy; for example, some are used to prevent seizures, in the treatment of increased uric acid in the blood, for hypertension, heart failure, bronchitis, or pneumonia.
Treatment for swollen lymph nodes
For timely treatment, you must assist your doctor in diagnosing inflammation of the lymph nodes and define what causes it since there is no direct method to eliminate inflammation, and its origin must be fought. If a virus causes it, medications are generally prescribed to relieve symptoms while the infection ends independently, and antivirals can sometimes be used.
Bacterial infections are fought with antibiotics, like some parasite infections, supplemented with other care. Specific treatment will depend on cancer in tumor cases but often includes chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. Regarding the side effects of the drugs, they should be discontinued, and the doctor’s recommendations should be followed.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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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.