The lymphatic system consists of the smallest vessels and large lymphatic ducts, which carry the lymph throughout the body, and then return it to the lymph nodes – the formations through which the body is cleansed of metabolic products, toxins and pathogens.
Large lymphatic ducts flow into the veins, and make there lymph, already cleared of foreign elements.
Lymph nodes are dense tissue formations resembling beans. Their sizes can vary from a few millimeters to 2 cm. Groups of lymph nodes located in different parts of the body become an obstacle to the spread of infection and oncological processes in certain areas of the body. For example, inflammation of the lymph nodes on the leg near the groin, the lymph node inflamed, this indicates pathological changes in the lower limbs or organs that are located in the pelvis, or the introduction of an infection.
How are the lymph nodes on the legs, and why do they swell? How to eliminate the inflammation of the lymph nodes and is it possible to conduct treatment conservatively?
The location of the lymph nodes on the legs
For some reason, not everyone knows whether or not there are lymph nodes on the legs. Many believe that the last major lymphatic formations are located near the groin. The lymph node filters the lymph coming from both the lower extremities — the legs: the feet, the legs, the thighs, and the organs of the small pelvis in the genital area.
The inguinal lymph nodes are divided into deep and superficial. Surface are in the area of the femoral triangle – on the broad fascia of the thigh, on the surface plate. People have a different number of lymph formations – from 4 to 20. They are associated with the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the perineum and lower extremities, with the genitals, the anterior abdominal wall.
On the wide fascia of the thigh, parallel to the large vessels – the veins and arteries – the deep inguinal lymph nodes are located. They can be from 2 to 7. They are interconnected by deep and superficial lymphatic vessels.
The inguinal nodes help to fight the infection of smaller lymph nodes located below the knee. They are responsible for the fingers, foot, spawn, and thigh.
As you can see, at the junction of the large vessels of the blood and lymphatic system there are several “beans” arranged in groups.
Depending on the immune status – high or low – if an infection gets into the lymphatic duct, one node can increase, locally limiting the spread of the infection, or several nodes at once. In this case, the body may not have enough strength to neutralize the pathogenic flora, and lymphadenitis takes an extensive character, spreading throughout the body. In this case, without surgical intervention, it is impossible to stop the purulent-inflammatory process.
Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the legs
The lymphatic system in the groin may react to the following factors:
- injuries affecting the groin or entire leg;
- acute allergic reactions;
- skin infections;
- purulent-inflammatory processes in the lower extremities;
- oncological diseases.
In addition, a group of inguinal nodes becomes inflamed when infected with sexually transmitted infections, gynecological diseases and prostatitis.
Popliteal lymph nodes react to injuries, common infectious diseases and purulent-inflammatory processes below the knee area, during oncological processes.
Causes of acute lymphadenitis:
- the introduction of pathogens from the area for which this lymph formation is responsible;
- spread of infection through the bloodstream.
If the lymph node is inflamed on the leg, if the lymph node is inflamed, the skin may turn red and touch the affected area will be very painful. If lymphadenitis affects the groin area, then inflammation can be a serious threat to the patient. The accumulation of pus causes the formation of phlegmon.
In children, lymphadenitis occurs more often. Its occurrence can provoke any disease – from seasonal ARVI to tuberculosis. The immune system at an early age very strongly reacts to the invasion of the pathogenic flora.
An increase in several lymph nodes in adults can simultaneously be a symptom of the following diseases:
Interestingly, when a chancre appears on the genitals, a very characteristic syphilitic symptom, a significant elevation appears in the groin. But if lymphadenitis, which occurs for other reasons, causes the patient suffering, especially while walking, syphilitic changes are painless.
There are other states – more serious, in which lymphadenitis in the groin area is almost painless.
The main reasons for the increase of the inguinal nodes
What are the diseases to which the lymphatic system of the lower extremities responds?
- Inguinal lymphadenitis. To eliminate it, you need to find a focus of inflammation. Most often it is a festering wound on the leg. The disease is treated with agents directed against the pathogen that provoked inflammation – antifungal or antibacterial drugs. If pus has accumulated in the lymph node, it has to be opened and drained, clearing the pus;
- Inguinal lymphogranulomatosis. If earlier doctors of the European territory of the CIS practically did not come across this venereal infection – the disease is common in countries with a tropical climate – then after the elimination of the “iron curtain” it occurs quite often. First, a papule filled with liquid appears on the skin, then an ulcer forms in its place, which heals rather quickly. And after 2 months in men, the entire group of inguinal lymph nodes increases, and in women, only the deep nodes in the pelvic area become inflamed.
It is rather difficult to cure the disease, especially since it is desirable to stop the inflammatory process at a stage until the pus has spread throughout the body. Special immunological remedies do not always help. Often it is necessary to resort to operative measures and to connect chemotherapeutic methods;
- Lymphosarcoma or lymphoma. A malignant tumor develops in the lymphoid tissue without affecting the circulatory system. Because of this course of the disease, patients late in seeking medical help — at the stage of metastasis, since at the very beginning of the disease, pain does not appear when touching the inguinal region.
Round dense neoplasms merge into a conglomerate, grow together with the skin, ulcerate, destroy the bone marrow.
In oncological processes, it is most often necessary to remove the inguinal lymph nodes.
After removal of the inguinal lymph nodes, complications can occur, as with any surgery. This inflammation of the postoperative suture, fever, suppuration of the scar.
But there may be specific consequences of such operations – swelling of the lower extremities. Why do the legs swell after the removal of the inguinal lymph nodes?
Lymphatic edema or lymphedema almost always develops after surgery, as the balance between the removal of fluid through the lymphatic vessels and the capillaries of the tissue itself is disturbed.
Lymph drainage is blocked because the lymph system is destroyed. To eliminate the complication, wound drainage is carried out after the operation for 1-2 months.
The complication does not manifest itself immediately – it often takes up to 2 months before fluid accumulates. As soon as the patient notices a slight fever, feeling of discomfort in the area of operation, he should immediately consult a doctor.
Without medical manipulations, it is impossible to stop the inflammatory process.
It is necessary to monitor the state of the lymphatic system and in case of inflammation of the nodes – especially if the temperature rises – consult a doctor. In the initial stage of lymphadenitis, the function of the lymphatic system is preserved.
If the node has to be removed, then to eliminate edema of the lower extremities for a long time you will have to use special therapeutic underwear and attend massage courses.