A swollen gland refers to a swollen lymph gland or swollen lymph node. Lymph glands are found throughout the body, including in the neck or throat. They help to keep the body healthy by trapping and destroying bacteria, abnormal cells and other foreign particles. There are lymph nodes located on each side of the neck and they can become swollen when there is an infection, injury, abnormal growth or other problem. In order to get rid of a swollen gland in the throat, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause.
Take antibiotics. If swollen glands in the throat are caused by a bacterial infection, it may be necessary to take prescription antibiotics,
Before taking any medication, always talk to a doctor first to make sure that there will be no negative interactions with other medications being taken. Taking medication can be combined with placing a hot compress or towel soaked with warm water on the throat to ease soreness.
Gargle with salt water and drink warm liquids. Swollen lymph glands in the neck can also be a warning sign of tonsillitis, which can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Bacterial causes may require antibiotics; however antibiotics will not treat viral infections.
With a physician's OK, a home treatment to reduce swollen glands can include drinking warm liquids such as teas, soups or broths. Since lemon has antibiotic properties, it can be added to the liquid. Honey can also be added to liquids to help coat the throat. The American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends gargling with 1/4 tsp. of salt in 8 oz. of warm water. The salt will help to absorb excess fluid and reduce inflammation.
If symptoms do not get better in a couple of days or there is a fever over 103 degrees, severe pain, trouble swallowing, difficulty breathing or neck stiffness, get medical attention, as the tonsils may need to be removed.
Lymph nodes are small bean shaped glands connected by the lymph vessels. The carry lymph through the body, help dispose of waste, and produce white blood cells to help fight infection. They are part of your immune system, like your spleen and tonsils. Lymph nodes commonly become swollen with diseases like strep throat, mono, or mumps as your body produces extra white blood cells to fight the infection. Even a canker sore in the mouth can cause lymph nodes to swell. Natural remedies for swollen lymph nodes support the immune system, help fight infection, and encourage lymph flow. Apple cider vinegar, castor oil, and vitamin C are among simple home remedies for swollen lymph nodes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is taken internally to reduce swelling in the lymph nodes. 1 – 3 teaspoons of raw and organic apple cider vinegar are added to a glass of water. This tonic is usually taken 1 – 3 times a day. The tonic helps to alkalize your body, putting it into better shape to fight infection. It also contains micro-nutrients which support your health.
Castor oil is used externally for swollen lymph nodes. Massage the castor oil into the swollen lymph nodes twice daily, or more often as needed. If you have a particular area of swelling, you can apply heat after you apply the castor oil. A heating pad or warm rice sock can be used for this purpose.
Peppermint essential oil is a strong and stimulating oil. One or two drops can be applied to swollen lymph nodes twice a day. Some people find peppermint essential oil too strong to apply straight. In this case, add 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 teaspoon of castor oil, coconut oil or olive oil.
Extra vitamin C can be taken to help your immune system fight infection. 1,000 mg of vitamin c are taken 3-5 times a day. If you begin to get loose stools, cut back on the amount you take.
When a disease spreads to or involves the lymph nodes, they become enlarged and swollen – this is called lymphadenopathy and is a common sign of infection. Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by a multitude of different conditions and swelling of these glands is often one of the first signs that something is wrong.
The causes of swollen lymph nodes include
Fungal Infections (e.g. Yeast infections)
Cancer of the breast, lung, stomach, throat and melanoma
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
Stress & Anxiety
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Viral Infections (e.g. Influenza, Mumps, Glandular Fever)
Bacterial infections (e.g. Tonsillitis, infected cuts, and abscesses)
Enlargement of the glands can be rapid or gradual. Rapid swelling is common with viral or bacterial infections and can be accompanied by pain. Other diseases such as cancer usually cause a slow and gradual growth, which tends to be pain-free.
Swollen lymph nodes glands may get smaller without treatment. Other times treatment is required. If this is the case, treatment for lymph nodes in the neck will depend on the cause of the symptom.
For example, if cancer is thought to be the cause of the swollen lymph node in the neck, a biopsy will help confirm the diagnosis. If the cause is viral or bacterial, antiviral medications or antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the swollen lymph nodes. From a holistic standpoint, there are also natural remedies that can be given for swollen lymph nodes:
Homeopathic remedies: Homeopathy can help treat swollen nodes glands such as mercurious solubilis, kali muriaticum, natrum miriaticum, belladonna, iodine, silicea, calcarea fluorica, bromine, calcarea carbonica, and ferrum phosphoricum. Homeopathic tincture will also help drain the lymphatic system and trigger an immune response. Consult a homeopath for the best remedy based on your symptoms.
Herbal remedies: Garlic is a well-known natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial herbal remedy that combats infection and supports the immune system. Garlic will reduce swelling and inflammation when the lymph node is swollen. Other herbal remedies that treat swollen glands and the lymphatic system include Echinacea, cleavers, licorice root, peppermint, turmeric, slippery elm, ginger, goldenseal, olive leaf, mullein, fenugreek, colloidal silver, and castor oil.
Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can also help build the immune and lymphatic systems, including vitamin A with carotenes, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, zinc, selenium, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), vitamin B12, fish oil, and probiotics.
A prostate infection diagnosis is based on your medical history, a physical exam, and medical tests. Your doctor can also rule out other serious conditions such as prostate cancer during the exam. During a physical exam, your doctor will conduct a digital rectal exam to test your prostate and will look for:
enlarged or tender lymph nodes in the groin
swollen or tender scrotum
Your doctor may also ask about your symptoms, recent UTIs, and medications or supplements you’re taking. Other medical tests that can help your diagnosis and treatment plan include:
urinalysis or semen analysis, to look for infections
a prostate biopsy or a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
urodynamic tests, to see how your bladder and urethra store urine
cystoscopy, to look inside the urethra and bladder for blockage
Your doctor may also order an ultrasound to get a closer look. The cause will help determine the correct course of treatment.
A swollen lymph node can be as small as the size of a pea and as large as the size of a cherry.
Swollen lymph nodes can be painful to the touch, or they can hurt when you make certain movements.
Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or on either side of the neck may hurt when you turn your head in a certain way or when you’re chewing food. They can often be felt simply by running your hand over your neck just below your jawline. They may be tender.
Swollen lymph nodes in the groin may cause pain when walking or bending.
Other symptoms that may be present along with swollen lymph nodes are:
If you experience any of these symptoms, or if you have painful swollen lymph nodes and no other symptoms, consult your doctor. Lymph nodes that are swollen but not tender can be signs of a serious problem, such as cancer.
In some cases, the swollen lymph node will get smaller as other symptoms go away. If a lymph node is swollen and painful or if the swelling lasts more than a few days, see your doctor.
Lymph nodes often swell in one location when a problem such as an injury, infection, or tumor develops in or near the lymph node. Which lymph nodes are swollen can help identify the problem.
The glands on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears commonly swell when you have a cold or sore throat. Glands can also swell following an injury, such as a cut or bite, near the gland or when a tumor or infection occurs in the mouth, head, or neck.
Glands in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection to the arm or hand. A rare cause of axillary swelling may be breast cancer or lymphoma.
The lymph nodes in the groin (femoral or inguinal lymph nodes) may swell from an injury or infection in the foot, leg, groin, or genitals. In rare cases, testicular cancer, lymphoma, or melanoma may cause a lump in this area.
Glands above the collarbone (supraclavicular lymph nodes) may swell from an infection or tumor in the areas of the lungs, breasts, neck, or abdomen.
What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands throughout the body. They are part of the lymph system, which carries fluid (lymph fluid), nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream.
The lymph system is an important part of the immune system, the body's defense system against disease. The lymph nodes filter lymph fluid as it flows through them, trapping bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances, which are then destroyed by special white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Lymph nodes may be found singly or in groups. And they may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as an olive. Groups of lymph nodes can be felt in the neck, groin, and underarms. Lymph nodes generally are not tender or painful. Most lymph nodes in the body cannot be felt.
Lymph nodes are small glands that filter lymph, the clear fluid that circulates through the lymphatic system. They become swollen in response to infection and tumors.
Lymphatic fluid circulates through the lymphatic system, which is made of channels throughout your body that are similar to blood vessels. The lymph nodes are glands that store white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for killing invading organisms.
Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:
Infection. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes caused by a bacterial infection is antibiotics. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, you'll receive specific treatment for that condition.
Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph nodes are a result of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
Cancer. Swollen nodes caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have swollen lymph nodes, you're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor. When you call to set up your appointment, you may be urged to seek immediate medical care if you're experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance.
List any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long. Among other symptoms, your doctor will want to know if you've had flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or sore throat, and may ask whether you've noticed changes in your weight. Include on your list every symptom, from mild to severe, that you've noticed since your lymph nodes began to swell.
Make a list of all recent exposures to possible sources of infection. These may include travel abroad, hiking in areas known to have ticks, eating undercooked meat, being scratched by a cat, or engaging in high-risk sexual behavior or sex with a new partner.
Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions you're being treated for
Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes
The other day I discovered a small bump on my neck. This bump turned out to be nothing serious—but sometimes it could be a sign of a greater problem. When lymph nodes swell in a particular location like the neck, it could indicate a minor infection like a common cold, or something more serious such as an injury, inflammation, or even cancer. The following are potential causes of swollen lymph nodes in the neck:
Viruses: Including herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a common cold, adenovirus measles, chickenpox, and infectious mononucleosis (mono).
Bacteria: Including staphylococcus, streptococcus, cat scratch disease, syphilis, chlamydia, tuberculosis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Fungal diseases: Including histoplasmosis and coccidiomycosis.
Parasites: Parasites linked with swollen lymph nodes include leishmaniasis and toxoplasmosis.
Inflammatory causes: Inflammatory causes of swollen lymph nodes include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and sensitivity to certain medications.
Cancer: Cancers linked with swollen lymph nodes include lung cancer, lymphomas and leukemia.
Other causes of swollen lymph nodes in the neck include transplant graft rejections, sarcoidosis, and genetic lipid storage diseases.
Less often, swollen glands may be the result of:
rubella – a viral infection that causes a red-pink skin rash made up of small spots
measles – a highly infectious viral illness that causes distinctive red or brown spots on the skin
cytomegalovirus (CMV) – a common virus spread through bodily fluids, such as saliva and urine
tuberculosis (TB) – a bacterial infection spread that causes a persistent cough
syphilis – a bacterial infection usually caught by having sex with someone who is infected
Swollen glands are usually caused by a relatively minor viral or bacterial infection, including:
a throat infection
an ear infection
a dental abscess
cellulitis (a skin infection)
The glands in the affected area will often become suddenly tender or painful. You may also have additional symptoms, such as a sore throat, cough, or fever.
These infections usually clear up on their own, and the swollen glands will soon go down. You will normally just need to drink plenty of fluids, rest and relieve the symptoms at home using over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
See your GP if your symptoms don't improve within a few weeks.
Swollen lymph glands are usually a sign of infection and tend to go down when you recover. However, they can sometimes have a more serious cause and may need to be seen by a doctor.
Lymph glands (also called lymph nodes) are pea-sized lumps of tissue that contain white blood cells. These help to fight bacteria, viruses and anything else that causes infection. They are an important part of the immune system and are found throughout the body.
The glands can swell to more than a few centimetres in response to infection or disease. Swollen glands, known medically as lymphadenopathy, may be felt under the chin or in the neck, armpits or groin, where they can be found in larger clumps.
Many different types of infection can cause swollen glands, such as a cold or glandular fever. Less commonly, swollen glands may be caused by a non-infectious condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or even cancer.
When to see your GP
See your GP if you have swollen glands and:
they haven't gone down within a few weeks or are getting bigger
they feel hard or don’t move when you press them
you also have a sore throat and find it difficult to swallow or breathe
you also have unexplained weight loss, night sweats or a persistent high temperature (fever)
you don't have an obvious infection and don't feel unwell
If necessary, your GP may request some tests to help identify the cause. These can include blood tests, an ultrasound scan or computerised tomography (CT) scan, and/or a biopsy (where a small sample of fluid is taken from the swelling and tested).
The lymph nodes are located under your arm. This is why many people, especially women, get nervous when they find an armpit lump.
The lumps can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, allergies, harmless fat or tissue growths, and cancerous growths.
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and may order a biopsy to determine the cause of the lump.
An armpit lump usually refers to the enlargement of at least one of the lymph nodes under your arm. Lymph nodes are small, oval-shaped glands that are located throughout the body and play an important role in your body’s immune system.
The lump may feel small. In other cases, it may be extremely noticeable. Armpit lumps may be caused by cysts, infection, or irritation due to shaving or using antiperspirants. However, these lumps may also indicate a serious underlying health condition.
Seek medical attention if you have an armpit lump that gradually becomes enlarged, isn’t painful, or doesn’t go away.
Causes of armpit lumps
Most lumps are harmless and are usually the result of abnormal tissue growth. However, armpit lumps can be related to a more serious underlying health problem. Any unusual lumps should be carefully evaluated by a doctor.
The most common causes of armpit lumps are:
bacterial or viral infections
lipomas (harmless fat tissue growths)
fibroadenoma (noncancerous fibrous tissue growth)
adverse reactions to vaccinations
breast cancer response
lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
leukemia (cancer of the blood cells)
lupus (an autoimmune disease that targets your joints and organs)