Lymph nodes are an important part of your body’s immune system. These small, round masses of tissue can be found behind the ears, in the lower part of the back of your head, and in your neck, groin, and armpits. When your body contracts an infection, these nodes try to trap and destroy bacteria and viruses that make you ill. That’s why your lymph nodes can become swollen and tender when you’re sick. If you’ve ever been to the doctor for a routine physical or for treatment of an illness, he or she likely felt around your head, neck, and ears to check for swollen glands.
Lymph nodes can become inflamed due to a variety of causes, including:
- Ear infection
- Sore throat
In some cases, more serious conditions can trigger lymph node inflammation such as an autoimmune disease or cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. While most cases of enlarged glands are not indicative of serious health concerns, they should not be ignored. Always have a medical professional evaluate and diagnose swollen lymph nodes so that you can get the proper treatment.
Swollen glands may be accompanied by:
- A warm sensation in the inflamed area
- Pain in the area of the lymph nodes
- Symptoms of the underling condition:
- Tenderness to touch