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Lymph node enlargement: causes and treatment

Inflammation-lymph nodes-on-neck-treatment This seemingly simple symptom, like an increase in lymph nodes( LU), may be a sign of not at all commonplace diseases.Some of them are simply unpleasant, others can lead to serious complications and even a tragic outcome.Diseases leading to the appearance of this symptom are not very many, but all of them require thoughtful diagnosis and thorough, sometimes very long treatment.

Table of contents: What are lymph nodes for? Where are the lymph nodes? Causes of enlarged lymph nodes. Features of lymph node enlargement in various pathologies. Lymphadenitis Respiratory diseases Specific infections Tuberculosis infection Syphilis Rubella HIV infection Lymph nodes in autoimmune diseases Lymph node growth in oncological pathologies

WhyNeed lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small clumps of lymphatic tissue scattered all over the bodySpruce.Their main function is the filtration of lymph and a kind of "storage" of elements of the immune system, attacking foreign substances, microorganisms and cancer cells falling into the lymph.The knots can be compared to military bases, where peacetime troops are located in peacetime ready to act immediately to fight the "enemy" - the causative agent of any disease.

Where are the lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are a kind of collectors that collect lymph from certain areas of the body.This fluid flows to them through a network of vessels.There are superficial lymph nodes and internal, located in the cavities of the human body.Without the use of instrumental methods of visualization, it is impossible to detect an increase in the latter.

Among the superficial, depending on the location, lymph nodes of the following locations are identified:

  • popliteal, located on the posterior surface of the knee joints;
  • superficial and deep inguinal, localized in inguinal folds;
  • occipital - in the area of ​​the transition of the neck into the skull;
  • BTE and parotid, located at the front and back of the auricle;
  • submandibular, lying approximately in the middle of the branches of the lower jaw;
  • chin, located a few centimeters behind the chin;
  • network of cervical LU, densely scattered on the anterior and lateral surfaces of the neck;
  • ulnar - on the anterior surface of the same joint;
  • axillary, one group of which adjoins the inner surface of the pectoral muscles, and the other is located in the thickness of the axillary tissue.

Lymphonoduses in the fow-1

Thus, there are many places where it is possible to detect enlarged lymph nodes and an attentive doctor will certainly probe them to obtain additional information about a possible disease.

Causes of enlarged lymph nodes

There are no natural causes for increasing LU.If they become more, then in the body there must necessarily be some kind of pathology. The appearance of this sign indicates the occurrence of:

  1. Infections:
    • viral;
    • bacterial;
    • fungal.
  2. Parasitic infestation.
  3. Autoimmune lesion.
  4. Cancer of the lymphatic system.
  5. Metastatic lesion of LU at the tumor process.

Features of lymph node enlargement in various pathologies

With different diseases, lymph nodes increase in different ways. In addition to the dimensions, the following parameters can also change:

  • surface structure that can remain smooth or become bumpy;
  • mobility - in some diseases, LUs are welded to each other or to surrounding tissues;
  • consistency - dense, soft;
  • skin condition above them - with LU inflammation the skin can become edematous, blush.

And now it makes sense to consider the increase in lymph nodes in relation to the diseases most often causing this symptom.


This disease is characterized by the most vivid symptomatology on the part of LU, which in this case significantly increase in size, become sharply painful, immobile.Skin over them blushes, local swelling is observed.As the disease progresses, the temperature rises more and more, chills appear, and intoxication develops.

Lymph node inflammation

The most common occurrence of lymphadenitis is preceded by any purulent disease of the relevant area:

  • boil;
  • carbuncle;
  • phlegmon;
  • felon;
  • abscess;
  • infected wound;
  • erysipelas, etc.

Germs from the source of infection through the lymphatic vessels enter the lymph node, provoking an inflammatory reaction in it, initially catarrhal( without pus), and then purulent.The extreme degree of development of lymphadenitis is adenophlegmon - in fact, the complication of this disease.In this case, the pus impregnates the surrounding LD fatty tissue.

Other complications of purulent lymphadenitis are purulent thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, sepsis.

Pediatrician tells about lymphadenitis in children:

Treatment of lymphadenitis

In catarrhal lymphadenitis, primary purulent disease is primarily treated.With timely intervention, there is a high chance of stifling the acute process in the lymph node.

With the development of purulent lymphadenitis or adenophlegmons, surgical intervention is required - opening the abscess, cleaning it with antiseptics and antimicrobials, draining the abscess cavity.

Respiratory Diseases

StrepthroatJamesHeilmanMDWiki This group of diseases is the most common cause of enlarged lymph nodes.Brighter this symptom is manifested in various forms of tonsillitis( angina).Along with an increase in LU there are high fever, sore throat during swallowing, severe weakness and malaise.

Slightly less often, the lymph nodes increase in size with pharyngeal inflammation.The symptomatology of this disease is similar to the clinical picture of tonsillitis, although inferior to it in the brightness of manifestations.

With respiratory infections, LU becomes dense to the touch, moderately painful, their mobility remains when palpation.

Treatment of respiratory infections

Tactics of treatment depend on the type of pathogen causing the disease.So, for the bacterial nature of pathology, antibiotics of a wide spectrum of action are used, with viral therapy - symptomatic therapy, with fungal - specific antimicrobial agents.At the same time, general strengthening measures are carried out with simultaneous administration of immunomodulators.


Specific infections

The most common lymph node enlargement is accompanied by specific infections such as tuberculosis and syphilis.

TB lesion

For pulmonary tuberculosis, hilar lymph nodes are first affected.Without special methods of research to identify their increase is impossible. In the absence of treatment, the tuberculosis process can spread throughout the body, affecting also surface LU:

  • submandibular;
  • cervical;
  • axillary;
  • inguinal;
  • elbow.

At the initial stage, they increase and moderate soreness.As the inflammatory process inflames, the lymph nodes coalesce with each other and with the tissues surrounding them, turning into a dense conglomerate, which then grows, forming a long-lasting non-healing fistula.


Since the increase in LU is caused by the main disease - tuberculosis, it is this that is treated.Special anti-tuberculosis drugs are used according to specific admission schedules.


In the case of syphilis, LU grows in size only a few days after the appearance of the primary syphilida, known as chancroid.Due to the fact that the genital organs predominate, the inguinal nodes often increase.

Image006 However, with shankramgdalit( syphilitic sore throat), for example, a symptom may appear from the submaxillary or subordinate nodes.

Important: With syphilis, LU can reach the size of the nut, while maintaining its consistency, while remaining painless and not soldered to the tissues.Often simultaneously, lymphangitis occurs - inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, which are felt in the form of a crook, sometimes with thickenings on its length.


Syphilis at any stage is well amenable to antibiotic therapy.Apply mainly penicillin drugs.With the development of complications, treatment of infection can be significantly delayed.


With rubella this symptom appears one of the first, for several hours ahead of the appearance of the rash.Most often occipital, cervical, parotid nodes increase, becoming painful, however, not soldering with surrounding tissues.

Rashes in uncomplicated rubella may remain the only vivid symptom, although along with it, there are sometimes fever( moderate) and runny nose.


A patient with rubella isolate and prescribe symptomatic treatment if necessary.Serious measures are carried out only with the development of complications.For example, with joint damage, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed, and with encephalitis - corticosteroids, diuretic, anticonvulsants, etc. It should be noted that rubella refers to relatively benign infections and in most cases passes without treatment at all.

HIV infection

With this dangerous disease, lymph nodes of all localizations can increase.Often it is this symptom that causes the doctor to suspect HIV infection, which for a long time may not show itself otherwise.

When the disease progresses to the stage of AIDS, the increase in LU becomes constant, their inflammation joins.

Treatment of

It is common knowledge that there are no methods that can definitively cure an HIV-infected person.All efforts doctors direct to suppress the activity of the virus, for which special antiretroviral drugs are used.Parallel to this, concomitant infections are treated, the development of which is most often the cause of death of people with AIDS.

Lymph nodes in autoimmune diseases

An autoimmune process is a group of diseases in which the immune system ceases to be considered "its own" cells of various organs.Taking them for a foreign substance, the body activates protective mechanisms in order to destroy the "aggressor".One of the manifestations of this activity is the increase in regional LU.

An autoimmune process can affect almost any organ, beginning with the joints and ending with the glands of internal secretion and even the nervous system.Such diseases are characterized by a long, chronic course and are quite difficult to treat, leading the patient to disability, and sometimes even to death.


In the treatment of autoimmune diseases, drugs that suppress the excessive activity of the immunity system-immunosuppressors and agents that block certain chemical reactions in the cells of the lymphocyte system-are used.

Lymph node enlargement in oncological pathologies

Oncologists use this symptom as one of the diagnostic criteria of the tumor process.LU increases only in malignant tumors in the case when cancer cells are separated from the site of the primary focus and enter the node with the current of lymph.Here they are "attacked" by the protective forces of the body, trying not to let the process "break free" into the body.The appearance of this symptom is an unfavorable sign, indicative of the spread of the tumor process.However, there are malignant cancers that affect the lymphatic system directly:

  • Hodgkin's lymphoma, otherwise called lymphogranulomatosis;
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are a group of over 80 types of tumors originating from the lymphatic tissue and having great differences both in the course of the disease, and in its causes and mechanisms of development.


Several methods are used to combat oncological pathology:

  1. cytostatic chemotherapy with drugs that stop tumor growth;
  2. irradiation of lymph nodes by ionizing radiation:
    • X-rays;
    • gamma and beta radiation;
    • neutron beams;
    • flow of elementary particles;
  3. immunosuppressive therapy with powerful hormonal agents.

Special schemes for the use of complexes of various types of treatment have been developed, which make it possible to suppress the tumor process and prolong the life of the patient.

Note: It is necessary to remember that enlarging the lymph nodes is only a symptom of various diseases.Therefore, self-medication, and even more so to use folk methods, instead of consulting a doctor - is unacceptable.Delay in the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases can cost the patient's life.

More information on the possible causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes can be obtained by reviewing this review:

Volkov Gennady Gennadievich, medical reviewer, ambulance.

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