OK, first of all, don’t panic. You probably don’t have cancer. But isn’t it always better to be safe rather than sorry?
So you may have felt a lump or two. First of all, it’s important to know what these lumps are. They are called lymph nodes and are most often found in the neck, head, armpit and groin areas. It’s also possible to feel them behind the ear if they become swollen.
What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes aren’t always bad. They are actually a very important part of your immune and lymphatic systems, and work to help fight off disease and infection. Most of the time your lymph nodes will just do their job and you won’t even feel them. They are very small and bean-shaped, and for the majority of your life they carry nutrients, waste, and fluids between the bloodstream and body tissues.
It is only when the lymph nodes become swollen that you will actually ever feel them – and when they might cause you problems or highlight a bigger problem. This condition is known as swollen glands, lymphadenitis, or lymphadenopathy.
Why do your lymph glands become swollen?
OK, so now let’s get to the point. When your lymph glands are swollen this can indicate a number of things. Sometimes it can mean that everything is still fine, and they are just swollen. However, if you are unsure and think yours are swollen it’s always best to get them checked out by a doctor just to be safe.
Here are some of the reasons why your lymph nodes might be swollen:
This can include things like herpes, HIV, a common cold, measles, chickenpox, and mono.
This can include issues such as staphylococcus, cat scratch disease, streptococcus, syphilis, tuberculosis, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.
This can include histoplasmosis and coccidiomycosis.
The main parasites linked with swollen lymph nodes include leishmaniasis and toxoplasmosis.
This can include lupus, sensitivity to medications, and rheumatoid arthritis.
It is possible to link lung cancer, lymphomas, and leukemia to swollen lymph nodes.
Swollen glands can also be a sign of transplant graft reactions, genetic lipid storage diseases and sarcoidosis.
How to spot swollen lymph nodes
If you can feel one of your lymph nodes and it is around the size of a pea (or is less than a centimeter in size) then it is probably just a normal swollen gland. However, if you feel the key areas and you notice that they have swollen to a much larger size and the following symptoms, then it’s probably best that you see professional advice:
- Lumps around the area
- The area is warm, swollen, and red
- Pain and tenderness in the area
- General infection symptoms like mouth sores, tiredness, coughing, sweating, a runny nose, chills, and a fever.
Treating swollen lymph nodes
Sometimes lymph nodes reduce back down to their normal size by themselves, but sometimes treatment is needed to help to treat whatever is causing the nodes to enlarge. However, there are also some natural remedies you can use for certain types of lymph node infections and swelling. Consult a homeopath for more information and to discuss your symptoms.
Recommended herbs, vitamins, and minerals
There are a number of supportive herbs, vitamins, and minerals that you can take to alleviate the symptoms of swollen lymph nodes, such as:
- Licorice root
- Slippery Elm
- Castor Oil
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B12
- Fish oil
If your swollen lymph nodes are connected with other symptoms, such as fever or weight loss, then it’s time to see a doctor. If you had a previous infection it’s also a good idea to get straight to the doctor if you notice this symptom.
Be aware of your body and make sure you take action as soon as you can!
Image Credits: http://www.wikihow.com
By Charlotte H.