Lymph nodes are soft nodules of tissue and they are a part of the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes help to identify germs, infections, and other foreign substances that invade our body. They are found throughout the body and become swollen from infection or other inflammatory conditions of the body.
Diseases of the lymph node may be caused due to infection, inflammation, an abscess or cancer. Some of the diseases of the lymph nodes are
- Lymphadenopathy – Refers to swelling or enlargement of one or more lymph nodes occurring due to local or systemic conditions or diseases. Lymphadenopathy can be localised or generalised
- Hodgkin’s disease – Cancer of the lymph tissue found in the lymph node that may spread to spleen, liver, bone marrow and other organs
- Lymphadenitis – It is an infection of the lymph nodes and is a common complication of bacterial infections
Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes are frequently found in the neck, armpit, under the jaw or chin, behind the ears and on the back of the head.
Swollen lymph nodes are diagnosed by physical examination to check palpable lymph nodes for size, texture, and tenderness and other features.
Pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be prescribed to relieve pain and to reduce the swelling. Infections are usually treated with antibiotics and anti-viral medicines. Cancer of the lymph node is treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery.