The lymph nodes, or lymph glands, are masses of tissues which carry fluids, nutrients, and waste products between the body tissues and the bloodstream.
They are an important part of the lymphatic and immune systems, and they help your body to fight infections and diseases.
How to Identify if you Have Bacteria, Parasites or Cancer
The lymph nodes are located throughout the entire body, but they are visible only when they are swollen or enlarged. They can be commonly found in the neck, around the head, groin, and the armpit area.
Enlarged lymph nodes may also create lumps behind the ear. The appearance of swollen lymph nodes usually results from local or widespread inflammation.
However, they can also indicate that you might be suffering from bacteria, parasites, or even cancer.
Identification of Swollen Lymph Nodes
The occurrence of swollen lymph nodes is sometimes called lymphadenitis or lymphadenopathy. The size of the swollen lymph nodes can differ from small pea to larger ball as cherry.
When the lymph nodes enlarge in a certain location, such as the neck, they may be a sign of a common cold infection, inflammation, injury, or even cancer.
However, sometimes the appearance of swollen lymph nodes does not necessarily signify a presence of a disease. For instance, if a lymph node is smaller than one centimeter, it can have a normal size.
Nevertheless, if a lymph node swells and increases double or triple in size, it can be identified quite easily. Some of the symptoms which indicate that you have a swollen lymph node include:
- An occurrence of tenderness or pain when you touch the lymph node
- Red and swollen skin of the lymph node
- Symptoms of infection, such as a cough, sore throat, fatigue, sores in the mouth, runny nose, chills, fever, and sweating.
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by different health problems, such as:
- Inflammatory causes: sensitivity to particular medications, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Bacteria: cat scratch disease, streptococcus, staphylococcus, tuberculosis, Chlamydia, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Viruses: a common cold, herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chickenpox, infectious mononucleosis (mono), and adenovirus measles.
- Parasites: toxoplasmosis and leishmaniasis.
- Fungal diseases: coccidioidomycosis and histoplasmosis.
- Cancer: lymphoma, leukemia, and lung cancer.
Treatment of Swollen Lymph Nodes
In case you notice an enlarged lymph node, you should immediately visit your doctor to do all the necessary tests.
While some swollen lymph nodes may decrease in size without medical care, others require a particular treatment which depends on the cause of the symptoms.
For example, if the cause of the swollen lymph node is bacterial or viral, antibiotics or antiviral medications will be prescribed to treat the condition. If the cause is cancer, a biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis.
There are also some natural remedies that can be given for treating swollen lymph nodes. One of the best herbal remedies that can reduce the inflammation and swelling of a lymph node is the garlic.
Due to its powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the garlic can fight infections and strengthen the immune system.
Other herbal remedies for treating swollen glands include cleavers, peppermint, Echinacea, licorice root, ginger, turmeric, slippery elm, mullein, goldenseal, colloidal silver, fenugreek, castor oil, and olive oil.