What are lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes (lymph nodes) are organs of the lymphatic system. They act as a filter for lymph from different organs and parts of the body.
Lymph nodes are round or oval formations from 0.5 to 50 mm in diameter. They are located near the lymphatic and blood vessels. The location of the lymph nodes helps the body create a barrier to various infections and cancer.
There are cervical, supraclavicular, hilar, axillary, elbow, femoral, inguinal and popliteal lymph nodes. There are also lymph nodes located in the lung area (bronchopulmonary), in the abdominal cavity (mesenteric and paraaortic), slightly higher than the inguinal (iliac).
How to independently recognize the inflammation of the lymph nodes?
Lymph node inflammation, or lymphadenitis, it’s hard not to notice. The first alarm is an increase in the lymph nodes: a bulge in the head, neck, pelvis and
If there is an increase in lymph nodes, you need to alternately answer these questions: one. How fast and how much has the lymph nodes increased? 2 Lymph nodes are mobile, or are in a fixed position? 3 Is the pain in the lymph nodes constant, occurs only with pressure or is it completely absent? four. Lymph nodes are dense or very soft? five. Is one lymph node inflamed, or several?
It is worth noting that an increase in one lymph node, not accompanied by painful sensations, is not yet a cause for concern. Perhaps this lymph node just works more actively than others, which led to this effect. This is often seen in people who have recently had an infection. When the body is fully restored after an illness, the lymph node also returns to normal. But if the healing process was delayed, or if there was pain in the lymph node area, a visit to the doctor would not hurt.
Medical diagnosis of inflammation of the lymph nodes
First, the doctor must carefully examine the patient and get answers to all the questions outlined above. Also, the doctor should examine the patient’s history,
If all of the above methods did not help to make an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to perform a biopsy of the lymph nodes. During this procedure, the doctor takes small samples of lymph node tissue and its contents, and studies the material obtained in the laboratory. After that, the chances of determining the cause of inflammation increase significantly.
How does the inflammation of the lymph nodes proceed?
Lymphadenitis most often occurs due to the ingestion of harmful microorganisms.
There are two types of inflammation of the lymph nodes: Purulent lymphadenitis This type of disease is characterized by a strong and constant, often throbbing pain in the lymph nodes. When purulent inflammation of the lymph nodes, as it were merge with each other and with other tissues located nearby. Another of the distinguishing features of purulent lymphadenitis is the stiffness of the lymph nodes.
Sometimes a purulent fusion occurs, during which large-sized suppuration appears on the soft tissues. In this case, the skin around the lymph node turns red, and directly above it. As a result, a tumor with clear contours appears in the lymph node area. Its density is different in different areas: somewhere the tumor is very hard, somewhere – softened. When feeling the tumor, you can hear the characteristic sound, which is compared to the crunch of snow.
The difference between purulent lymphadenitis is a sharp deterioration in the general condition. In humans, the temperature rises, heart rate increases, there is a headache and general weakness.
The danger of this disease is that it can quickly spread through the body, and lead to the fact that inflammation will cover the entire body.
Pestilent lymphadenitis This kind of illness brings less suffering to the patient,
There are also two types of the course of the disease: Acute lymphadenitis (lasts up to 2 weeks). This type of illness is characterized by a sudden onset. Suddenly, there is pain in the lymph nodes, which have increased dramatically. Heat and malaise are also characteristic of acute lymphadenitis.
Chronic lymphadenitis (lasts for more than 1 month). This stage occurs after the previous one. When the inflammatory process subsides, acute lymphadenitis flows into a chronic one. Although there are cases of chronic lymphadenitis without a pronounced acute stage.
This condition is characterized by an increase in lymph nodes without any discomfort in them. Other manifestations of the disease are absent.
If you suspect chronic lymphadenitis is usually prescribed cytological and histological analyzes. The first allows you to study the cells of the lymph node, and the second – the corresponding tissue. These studies are necessary to confirm the correctness of the diagnosis, because chronic lymphadenitis can be easily confused with a number of other diseases.
There is a classification of lymphadenitis by the types of fluid that appears at the site of inflammation. On this basis, the following types of lymphadenitis are distinguished:
- hemorrhagic – in this case, blood dominates in the liquid;
- purulent – with this type of disease in the fluid contains more pus;
- serous – the place of inflammation is filled with a translucent liquid saturated with protein;
- fibrous – in the composition of the liquid, fibrin protein prevails, which ensures blood coagulation.
Causes of lymph node inflammation
There are two types of this disease: 1. Nonspecific lymphadenitis. The cause of this disease is inflammation caused by the ingestion of various parasites (staphylococcus, streptococcus). These microorganisms are distinguished by the fact that they become hazardous to health only under certain conditions. Most often, nonspecific lymphadenitis is associated with inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck, although the submandibular group is sometimes affected.
2. Specific lymphadenitis. So called inflammation resulting from exposure to the body more serious infectious diseases such as AIDS, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis and
Nonspecific lymphadenitis can occur with the following diseases: Abscess tooth. Infectious disease, the focus of which is located near the root of the tooth. An abscess (abscess) can occur due to undertreated caries, gum disease or another dental disease. A mechanical trauma, as a result of which the tooth was broken, or an infection that entered the body during an injection during a dental procedure, can also cause an abscess. This disease can lead to the development of inflammation of the lymph nodes under the jaw. Other symptoms: prolonged pain in the tooth, feeling of bitterness in the mouth, redness or swelling of the gums, bad breath, pain when chewing.Allergy. Special body sensitivity to certain substances. Other symptoms: runny nose, pain in the eyes, coughing, sneezing, swelling.
Angina (acute tonsillitis). Acute disease characterized by inflammation of the tonsils. The causative agents of angina are bacteria such as staphylococcus, meningococcus and
SARS. Viral disease of the nasal cavity, pharynx and epiglottis. In this case, several groups of lymph nodes may increase at the same time. In adults with viral infections, the lymph nodes are almost always enlarged, and the inflammation of the lymph nodes in a child is usually so insignificant that it is not detectable when probing. Other symptoms: runny nose, cough, headache, sore throat, vomiting, general weakness, loose stools.
Cat scratch disease (benign lymphoreticulosis). Infectious disease that occurs after a cat bite or deep scratches. It is she who often causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in children. The disease occurs due to the fact that the body gets a small stick – Bartonella. This disease often causes inflammation of the axillary lymph nodes. But it can also organize inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin. Cat scratch disease is not transmitted from person to person. Other symptoms: a small speck with a red rim, which eventually turns into a bubble; an increase in the lymph node nearest to it, occurring in about a week; signs of general poisoning; temperature rise; concomitant diseases of the nervous system can sometimes occur (meningitis and
Lymphangitis. Inflammation of the lymphatic vessels. Pathogens – streptococci, staphylococcus and
Toxoplasmosis. A disease that provokes a parasite called Toxoplasma. Get the parasite can be in contact with cats, dogs, rabbits and other domestic or predatory animals. You can also become infected by eating meat and eggs that have not undergone the necessary temperature treatment. If the inflammation of the lymph nodes in women caused precisely toxoplasmosis, then the situation is especially dangerous, and urgent measures should be taken. The fact is that in the case of pregnancy, the disease will be transmitted to the child. And with such a problem, children either die in the womb, or are born with multiple lesions of the nervous system, eyes and other organs. Other symptoms: fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, enlarged liver and / or spleen, decreased performance. However, the disease may be asymptomatic, or with partial symptoms.Cellulite (erysipelas of fatty tissue). It is a purulent inflammation, which suffers from subcutaneous fatty tissue. The disease is caused by harmful microorganisms that have entered the fiber through damaged skin. May cause inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck or head. Other symptoms: reddening of a large area of skin, pain in the area of inflammation, swelling, chills, fever, increased sweating.
Specific lymphadenitis appears in the following diseases:
HIV or AIDS. Viral disease affecting the immune system. You can become infected through unprotected sex, the use of contaminated medical instruments. Also, the disease is transmitted from mother to child during childbirth and during breastfeeding. With this disease, the lymph nodes become inflamed behind the ears and in the occipital region. For HIV and AIDS, mass lesions of various groups of lymph nodes are characteristic. Other symptoms: fever, weak immunity, inflammation of the skin (urticaria), ulcers of the oral mucosa and genital organs, fibrous tongue and
Gaucher disease. Extremely rare inherited disease in which fat accumulates in large quantities in the liver, spleen, kidneys and lungs. When this occurs, the inflammation of the lymph nodes. Other symptoms: strabismus, difficulty in swallowing, laryngeal spasms, dementia, bone damage.
Niemann-pick disease. It is also a very rare genetic disease associated with the accumulation of fat in the internal organs. Other symptoms: disruption of the liver, difficulty breathing, developmental delays, eating disorders, eye movement and coordination of movements.
Systemic lupus erythematosus. A disease of the connective tissue in which the human immune system begins to attack healthy cells. Other symptoms: a red butterfly-shaped rash located on the cheeks and bridge of the nose; general weakness; sudden changes in temperature; headache; muscle pain; fast fatiguability.
Measles. Acute infectious disease transmitted by airborne droplets. Measles often causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in the intestine. Other symptoms: very high fever, dry cough, conjunctivitis, runny nose, rash, signs of general poisoning, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.
Leukemia (blood cancer). Disease resulting from mutation of bone marrow cells. Leukemia can cause inflammation of the ear and lymph nodes, as well as other types of lymphadenitis. Other symptoms: tendency to bruises, frequent bleeding and infection, pain in the joints and bones, general weakness, enlarged spleen, sudden weight loss, lack of appetite.
Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Cancer disease of the lymphatic tissue that affects many internal organs. Lymphoma can cause inflammation of the lymph nodes under the chin, as well as cause other types of lymphadenitis. This disease is characterized by lesions of many lymph nodes in different parts of the body. Other symptoms: weight loss, decreased appetite, weakness, high fever.
Mononucleosis. Acute viral disease, which can become infected through blood transfusion or by airborne droplets. Virtually any group of lymph nodes may be involved in the pathological process. Other symptoms: dizziness, migraines, weakness, pain when swallowing, mucus in the lungs, high fever, skin inflammation, enlarged liver and / or spleen.
Breast cancer Malignant tumor of the breast. Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the axillary areas in women can often indicate breast cancer. Other symptoms: seals in the mammary glands; nipple discharge not related to pregnancy or breastfeeding; scales and ulcers in the nipple area; swelling or change in the shape of the breast.
Rheumatoid arthritis. A disease of the connective tissue that affects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the main causes of disability. Other symptoms: swelling near the joints, change in their shape, local fever, pain in the joints, aggravated by movement.
Syphilis. Infectious venereal disease, transmitted not only sexually, but also through blood, medical instruments, and also in everyday life – through toothbrushes, razors, towels and
Tuberculosis (lupus vulgaris). A widespread infectious disease that most often affects the lungs. Other symptoms: prolonged cough with sputum and / or blood, abrupt weight loss, increased night sweats, general weakness, fever.
Shankroid A sexually transmitted infection only. Chancroid usually causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in men
Complications of inflammation of the lymph nodes
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the abdomen, like any other lymphadenitis, if untreated, can cause complications. In particular, an abscess or blood infection (sepsis) may occur.
An abscess is a large accumulation of pus, blood and particles of dead tissue in one place. It is treated either with antibiotics or with the help of surgical intervention.
Blood infection – the spread of infection throughout the body through blood vessels. Treated with antibiotics. With no treatment, vital organs quickly begin to fail, and death occurs.
To which doctor to treat for inflammation of the lymph nodes?
Since the inflammation of the lymph nodes can be caused by various diseases, the treatment of which is within the competence of doctors of different specialties, then you will have to apply to different specialists in this condition. Moreover, the specialist who needs to be treated for inflammation of the lymph nodes in each specific case should be selected depending on the area of the body where the lymph node pathology is observed and how it is provoked.
So, if the lymph nodes are inflamed in the submandibular region, and before that there have been any dental interventions or diseases, then you need to turn to dentist (to make an appointment), since this situation is most likely caused by an infectious-inflammatory process in the oral cavity, tooth holes and
If the lymph nodes are inflamed in the groin, pubis, on the woman’s labia, then you need to contact urologist (to sign up) (both men and women) or gynecologist (to sign up) (women), because in such a situation the inflammatory process is caused by diseases of the pelvic organs.
If the lymph nodes in the neck are inflamed, then you need to contact otolaryngologist (ENT) (register), as in this case, the inflammatory process is most likely caused by diseases of the upper respiratory tract (for example, angina, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis and
If inflamed lymph nodes appeared in any other area (for example, in the armpit, on the arms, on the legs, on the body and
Accordingly, for inflammation of the lymph nodes, it may be necessary to contact the following specialists:
- Therapist (for children – pediatrician (enroll));
- Urologist (for men and women);
- Gynecologist (for women);
- Otolaryngologist (ENT);
- Infectious diseases;
What studies can appoint doctors for inflammation of the lymph nodes?
When inflammation of the lymph nodes of any location (on any part of the body), the doctor will prescribe a complete blood count and urinalysis, as well as inspect, feel the knots and ask about recent diseases or any unusual, previously absent sensations, symptoms, changes and
If the lymph nodes are inflamed under the jaw and in the recent past, the person had dental problems, dental procedures (eg, injections, implant placement, tooth extraction and
Inflammation of the submaxillary and cervical lymph nodes often develops on the background of past or chronic infectious diseases of the upper respiratory tract (for example, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis and
When inflammation of the lymph nodes of the neck, submandibular region and behind the ears develops in the background or shortly after an acute respiratory viral infection or flu, the doctor usually limits himself to a general blood test x-ray of the sinuses of the facial skull (to sign up) or lymph nodes.
If a person has inflamed lymph nodes in the groin, in the armpit, in the hip area, and there are no other symptoms and there was no serious illness for a month, but then the cat scratched him for 10-14 days before, then most likely the lymphangitis is manifestation of benign lymphoreticulosis (cat scratch disease). At the same time, the lymph nodes that are located closest to the scratches of the cat become inflamed. The inflamed lymph node is dense and increased in size by 5 – 10 times, and it remains so for 1 week – two months. In such a situation, the doctor usually prescribes only a general blood test, and sometimes a blood test may be performed on a bartonella to confirm the diagnosis of cat scratch disease (if in doubt).
If there is an isolated inflammation of the lymph nodes in the absence of any specific symptoms, the doctor may prescribe blood test for the presence of antibodies to toxoplasma (to enroll), since toxoplasmosis provokes long-lasting lymphadenitis, and otherwise it can be completely asymptomatic.
When inflammation of the lymph nodes located near the cellulite focus (erysipelas of subcutaneous fat, manifested by redness, swelling, pain in the focus, sweating, and increased body temperature), the doctor usually prescribes only a complete blood count and an ASL-O titer test. Other studies for this pathology are not needed.
With persistent inflammation there are various groups of lymph nodes, especially those located behind the ears and in the neck, which is combined with ulcers on the mucous membrane of the mouth and genital organs, fibrous tongue, frequent colds, the doctor prescribes blood test for HIV / AIDS (sign up), as similar symptoms of the nature for this particular disease.
When a person has inflammation of the lymph nodes, combined with the accumulation of fat in the liver, spleen, kidneys and lungs, difficulty in swallowing, developmental delay (dementia), impaired eye movements, the doctor sends it for further examination in a medical institution engaged in the identification of rare genetic pathologies . And already in this specialized medical institution a geneticist prescribes specific tests for diagnosis, which are performed in the laboratory of the same organization. With the above symptoms, sequencing of exons and the near-exon sections of the GBA introns of the GBA gene, as well as determination of the activity of chitotriosidase and beta-glucocerebrosidase in the blood can be prescribed.
If the inflammation of any lymph nodes is persistent, does not diminish over time, it is combined with a rash on the face in the form of a butterfly, cutaneous skin (presence of blue or red areas on the skin that form a fancy mesh pattern), headache and muscle pain, fatigue, weakness and irregular temperatures, the doctor directs such a patient to a rheumatologist, since such symptoms indicate a systemic autoimmune disease – systemic lupus erythematosus. A rheumatologist or therapist may order the following tests to confirm his presumptive diagnosis of lupus erythematosus:
- Antinuclear antibodies, IgG (anti-nuclear antibodies, ANAs, EIA);
- IgG class antibodies to double-stranded (native) DNA (anti-ds-DNA);
- Antinuclear factor (ANF);
- Antibodies to nucleosomes;
- Antibodies to cardiolipin (IgG, IgM) (sign up);
- Antibodies to extractable nuclear antigen (ENA);
- Complement components (C3, C4);
- Rheumatoid factor (enroll);
- C-reactive protein.
If the inflammation of the lymph nodes is combined with pain, swelling and changes in the shape of the joints, then the doctor suspects rheumatoid arthritis and sends the person to a rheumatologist, who, in turn, prescribe the following tests to confirm or refute this diagnosis:
- Antibodies to keratin Ig G (AKA);
- Antifilagrin antibodies (AFA);
- Antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptide (ACCP);
- Crystals in a smear of synovial fluid;
- Rheumatoid factor;
- Antibodies to modified citrullinated vimentin.
With an acute infectious disease that resembles the common cold, which is called mononucleosis, any lymph nodes can be inflamed. When mononucleosis, in addition to lymphangitis, a person has headaches, pain when swallowing, fever, inflammation of the skin, enlarged liver and spleen. If mononucleosis is suspected, the doctor prescribes a complete blood count with obligatory manufacture and examination of a smear on glass, and can also prescribe a blood test for the presence of antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus (anti-EBV EA-D IgG, EBV VCA IgG, EBV VCA-IgM ), which is the causative agent of infection.
Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin area indicates the presence of an infectious disease of the genital or urinary organs. In this situation, the doctor prescribes a list of tests that can detect the infection, including:
- Blood test for syphilis (sign up);
- Chancroid analysis;
- Blood tests, detachable vagina or smear from the urethra for genital infections (gonorrhea (enroll), syphilis, ureaplasmosis (to sign up), mycoplasmosis (to enroll), candidiasis, trichomoniasis, chlamydia (enroll), garnerellosis, fecal bacteroids and
If a person has inflammation of the lymph nodes of any location, which is combined with a sharp causeless weight loss, poor overall health, loss of appetite, aversion to meat, as well as the presence of a visible or palpable tumor in any part of the body, the doctor will refer the person to an oncologist, since similar symptoms indicate the presence of a malignant neoplasm. And the oncologist prescribes x-rays, Ultrasound (enroll), computer or magnetic resonance imaging (enroll) in order to determine the location and size of the tumor. The oncologist also prescribes a complete blood count, biochemical blood test, urinalysis and coagulogram, which allows to assess the general condition of the body, its readiness for therapy and the ability to undergo surgery, radiotherapy (enroll) and chemotherapy (enroll). In addition, an oncologist may prescribe specific tests for each type of tumor, allowing it to monitor its progression, the effectiveness of treatment and
All the tests and examinations described can be supplemented with X-rays or even biopsy (enroll) sore lymph node. Usually, a lymph node puncture and X-rays of nearby parts of the body are produced when a specific systemic disease (AIDS, Gaucher disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, syphilis, tuberculosis, measles and
How to treat inflammation of the lymph nodes?
What to do with inflammation of the lymph nodes?
If a person has lymphadenitis, the doctor should prescribe the treatment. It so happens that a person himself has detected an inflammation of the lymph nodes, but does not know which doctor to consult. In this case, you just need to go to the district therapist who will prescribe treatment, or write out a referral to another specialist.
But on weekends and holidays it is quite difficult to find a doctor. Then the question arises: How to remove the inflammation of the lymph nodes at home?.
Temporarily relieve the condition can be with the help of ordinary warm compresses. A piece of clean cloth should be wetted with warm water and applied to the site of inflammation. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that the skin in the area of inflammation always remains clean.
In case of pain in the lymph nodes and fever, an anesthetic that can be obtained without a prescription should be taken. Naturally, rest and proper sleep will be helpful.