Disease And Illness

How to Get Rid of Swollen Glands

What are Swollen Glands?

Swollen glands refers to the enlargement of one or more lymph nodes. This condition is also referred to as swollen lymph nodes, or more scientifically—lymphadenopathy. The swelling of the lymph glands is normally a result of local or widespread infection, inflammation, or an abscess. Also, cancer cells could make the lymph nodes swell. Other causes of enlarged lymph nodes are rare. Inflammation of a lymph node is referred to as lymphadenitis. Other glands that are sometimes perceptible when swollen include the tonsils, parotid glands, tear (lacrimal) glands, salivary glands, and the thyroid gland.

Where Swollen Glands Appear

Lymph nodes play a significant part in the body’s defense against infection. They are responsible for lymph, which travels the human body and filters impurities along the way. To determine if your lymph nodes are swollen, here are areas of the human anatomy where they could be felt:

  • Groin
  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Under the jaw and chin
  • On the back of the head
  • Behind the ears

When swelling suddenly appears and is painful, it is often caused by infection or injury. If the swelling manifests gradually and painlessly, it may be, in some cases, caused by cancer or tumor. You should therefore be aware of your condition and be responsible enough to set up a doctor’s appointment as soon as any suspicious enlargement happens, or it may prove too late.

Causes of Swollen Glands

Infections that commonly cause swollen glands include German measles, mononucleosis, mumps (learn how to get rid of mumps), ear infection, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, an abscessed or impacted tooth, mouth sores, gingivitis (swelling of the gums), and sexually transmitted diseases. The location of the swollen glands could tell you where the infection is. An infection in the feet, legs, or genital area may just be athlete’s foot or an ingrown toenail (for ingrown nail treatments, read how to get rid of ingrown nails), or it may be something serious. A swollen gland in the armpit may be caused by an infected cut on the arm or finger. Allergies and bug bites could also cause glands to swell. Immune or autoimmune disorders may also cause swollen lymph nodes, including rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. While cancers that could cause swelling of the glands include leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Depending on the type of problem and the body parts involved, swelling of the lymph nodes varies. You could determine the possible cause by identifying the location of the problem. Swollen lymph nodes could also be caused by certain vaccinations (such as typhoid immunization) or medications (such as those used for seizures).

Remedy for Swollen Glands

Soreness in lymph glands often disappears in a couple of days without treatment. However, the nodes may not return to their normal size for several weeks after the infection has cleared, in which case, ignoring the swelling may not be the best solution. Generally, if glands are painful, it is due to rapid swelling that happened in the early stages of fighting an infection. If you feel something peculiar about the swelling of your glands, you may want to contact a medical professional immediately. Here are symptoms that the lymph nodes need medical attention:

  • Your swollen glands are red and tender
  • Your glands don’t get smaller after several weeks or continue to get larger
  • Your glands feel hard, irregular, or fixed in place
  • You have a fever, night sweats, or an unexplained weight loss
  • For children, any node larger than one centimeter in diameter would require medical attention

If you experience one of these symptoms, you probably need to see a doctor right away. Your doctor would perform a physical examination and check all of your palpable lymph nodes for texture, size, tenderness, and warmth, among others. Expect the doctor to ask the following medical history questions:

  • Which nodes are affected?
  • Is the swelling the same on both sides?
  • When did the swelling begin?
  • How long has it lasted (how many months or weeks)?
  • Did it begin suddenly or did it develop gradually?
  • Is the swelling increasing in size?
  • Are the number of nodes that are swollen increasing?
  • Are any of the swollen node painful or tender when you gently press on them?
  • Is the skin over or around the nodes red?
  • Have you had any other symptoms?

So, be prepared! Answer all the question as accurate as possible.

Treatment of Swollen Glands

Most of the time, swollen glands are caused by viral infection and require no treatment. However, there is a possibility that a bacterial infection is lodged within the glands, which could make them red, hot, tender, and sore. Infected glands may require antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, swollen glands may have to be surgically drained, which is rare but possible.

Self-Care

If you feel significant discomfort, you could use warm or cold compress to relieve pain and swelling. You could also take acetaminophen (Tylenol, or a generic would do). The soreness would get better in just a few days; however, the glands would probably remain somewhat swollen for several weeks. It takes longer time for glands to return to their normal sizes than it does for them to reach abnormal proportions.

Tips on How to Handle Swollen Glands

The state of your swollen glands may differ within hours or days. Here are scenarios you may encounter during the swelling, which in turn have corresponding courses of action:

  • Swollen glands without any serious symptom.

What to do? Symptoms could be treated at home. If symptoms persist, you should call your doctor for advice.

  • Swollen glands with a sore throat or fever higher than 100°F or 37.8°C.

What to do? Symptoms may be treated at home or may require a visit to your doctor. Often, you and your doctor need to share additional information about your condition to determine the best course of action. So, update your doctor as often as possible.

  • Swollen glands that are very red and tender.

What to do? Symptoms need to be evaluated by your doctor. Call your doctor for immediate remedy and advice, and ask about the schedule of the appointment.

  • Swelling that has lasted for more than two weeks.

What to do? Symptoms need to be evaluated by your doctor. Call your doctor for immediate remedy and advice, and ask about the schedule of the appointment.

  • Difficulty opening your mouth or moving your neck.

What to do? Symptoms are quite serious and you should see your doctor within the next two hours. Depending on your health insurance policy and your capability to travel, you may choose to call your doctor to determine the course of action. He or she may ask you to either go to the office, go directly to an urgent care center, or straight to the emergency room.

  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing.

What to do? Symptoms are life-threatening and would require immediate medical treatment. Swollen glands, though would not usually mean something medically serious, should be carefully monitored. Treat it like any other medical condition, which is with great consideration. You would not want a simple enlargement of your glands to be the cause of your demise. So, better be extra careful than regretfully sorry. If you enjoy learning this article, you’ll surely enjoy reading how to get rid of swelling too.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of swollen glands.

About the author

Nicole Harding

12 Comments

  • Stacy, I too have swollen glands today. I left work yesterday at 12:00 and came home and slept. I have a fever with mine too. I have noticed that when the fever comes I take some advil and it breaks the fever and I can get some rest then, but I sweat like a pig. I guess that is the infection coming out of me. Anyway I am enjoying not wanting to eat to much. I have had some clear soup from the chinese restaurant and some jello. Hope you feel better soon. Kelly

  • I have a swallow gland in my neck and under my chin/jaw. I sometimes sweat @ night.use to feel tired and pains on my shoulders. what wrong with me?

  • Ya, i just got swollen lymphs for the second time this year. maybe the infection never really went away.. anyway, it’s really annoying =/ But I don’t have fever or anything. i’m fine except that it kind of hurts when i move my head. i’m going to take Tylenol tonight and maybe try the cold compress…
    i have a presentation at school tomorrow and i don’t want to look like the Elephant Man. Lol.

  • I have red around my gland under my jaw and its hard im worried if theres any advice i took anti biotics and it went down but didnt go away and then i ran out then it started to turn red plz give me advice

  • Sounds like you all need to be tested for mono….those are all symptoms for mono, i should know i have mono right now. go get a blood test from your doctor to confirm it.

  • HOLA NECESITO AYUDA YA LLEVO COMO 3 AñOS ME SALEN LLAGAS EN LA ENCIA ,EN LA GARGANTA ,Y POR DENTRO DE LOS LABIOS CDO ESTOY ASI ME DA FIEBRE PERO BAJITA Y MUCHO MALESTAR EN EL CUERPO SE ME INFLAMAN LAS GLANDULAS DE LA GARGANTA Y AVECES SE ME INFLAMAN TAMBIEN EN AS PIERNAS Y ESO ME OCURRE CASI TODOS LOS MESES Y LAS GLANDULAS DE LOS MUSLO Y PIERNAS SE ME PONEN ROJA Y CALIENTE HACE 2 AñS A ATRAS ME DIO MONONUCLIOSIS POPOR FAVOR AYUDENME GRACIAS

  • TK and Kelly. You guys need to go to the doctor and have then check you out. TK, I had the same problem with swollen glands, sweating at night, and shoulder pain. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I know this was posted over a year ago but please please please go get checked at the doctor. Best wishes. -Kai

  • Hey i got a problem i have like its under my chin like bottom left of my face around the chin area it doesnt seem to big and only hurts when i swallow or mess with it it isnt hard or nything and do you think it might be from i gave my girlfriend my sweater in 19 degree wether? if so how long till goes away and what to do to help it

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