Taking Charge of Your Health

Lymph nodes help your body recognize and fight
germs, infections and other foreign substances. A swollen gland is an enlargement of one or
more lymph nodes. We went to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and spoke with
Dr. Andrew Alexander, asking him to tell us why people get swollen glands? Glands are important Be glad you have them.
Now everybody needs them because if you don’t have them you have real trouble. They’re part
of the immune system. Lymphatic tissue is really what we’re talking about here. They
lymph system is a system where fluid is retrieved back from the peripheral tissues back towards
the heart. Now when that happens it goes through a series of these glands or lymph nodes. Lymph
glands are throughout your entire body the most prominent ones that you’ll see as a patient
are going to be in your neck, your arm pit and your groin and these are tissue once again
I said that fluid comes back into it. Now the most important thing about the fluid is
that first it’s being retrieved from the body so you don’t swell up but secondly, it’s full
of white blood cells, infection fighters where these cells can identify foreign material
like viruses like things that don’t belong there and then they become activated in the
lymph nodes, they can magnify the response and with some memory now they can send out
little infection fighters on white blood cells throughout the system to fight further infection.
It’s normal to have an infectious response. You want to have an infectious response, you
want to have your immune system activated to anything that’s foreign. And so if you
get a cold, you’re going to swell up, now upper respiratory the glands that are most
prominent are the tonsils. Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. The glands of the
neck will often swell. If you have an eye infection or pink eye, you’re going to have
swelling right in front of the ears because that’s where the drainage occurs as the lymph
tissue goes towards the heart, towards that lymph node where it activates and magnifies
that response so that infection fighting cells can be specific for that particular attacker
but there are also other things, bacteria, the most common cause of an enlargement nowadays
is cat scratch fever. A lot of cats run around the house, about half of them are infected
with this bacteria and so you can get a lymph node that be enlarged and we take lymph nodes
out because sometimes they’re malignant. But the large majority of those are infectious
and so there’s lymph nodes that enlarge from bacterial causes. Some of the more famous
ones in history, syphilis, tuberculosis, the bubonic plague. These are things whether they’re
bacteria or from ticks and bacteria from ticks, the bite occurs and the regional lymph node
tries to wall off that infection and sometimes it’s a disaster because of these huge leaking
nodes of the past. Today we have antibiotics, we cure those. Then there’s the real problematic
notes. A rarely small amount of these are cancerous and so depending upon the patient,
we always want them to be very cognizant of the size and duration of these lymph nodes.
If they get to within about three quarters of an inch in size and they haven’t gone away
in a couple of weeks you need to have a pow wow with your doctor and let you and them
together decide what the next step is. If they stay there, the get biopsied and then
there are high risk people because there are some lymphomas, there are cancer to the lungs,
there are breast cancers that go to their regional protective nodes. Breast cancer go
to the arm pit. Some of the lung cancers might make a node above the clavical so if you have
a smoker who’s been coughing and they have a lump up here in the so called Virchow’s
node, that’s problematic. Dr. Alexander told us how serious swollen glands can be. I remember
when I was a kid, if you had a red streak going up your arm- the regional wisdom was
that when it got to your heart you died. Well that’s not really true, that’s lymphangitis.
Now there’d be one where you treat because the most common cause there would be a gram
positive bacteria, a staph or a strep. That would be treated with antibiotics, so that
regional lymph node would be treated. A cat scratch fever would be treated, tuberculosis
and it’s associated nodes would be treated, but you’re watching most of these and doing
nothing hoping they’re viral but time is on your side. You have a couple weeks, if they
don’t regress, if they stay three quarters of an inch, two centimeters in size, it’s
time to talk to your doc with the thought that maybe they’ll be a biopsy if the next
treatment doesn’t work.

67 thoughts on “Lymph Nodes & Swollen Glands – Andrew Alexander, MD

  1. Thank God haha. I'm going on holiday in a few months and I really didn't want to get anything super bad. (I thought I had cancer)

  2. very useful, the thought of cancer always makes me think when something unusual I'd going on in my body. this gives me some kind of reference to go by.

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  4. Hi, i have swollen lymph nodes in the neck for about a year now, and in my arm pits, I have an open biopsy scheduled.
    But i just want to know maybe there is anyone that has had the symptoms i have before. The swollen lymph node on the right is quite painful at times, it hurts every time i try to open my mouth wide, my tonsils are so swollen and very itchy but i dont experience any throat pain, i feel tired most of the time, my doctor prescribed vitamins so my appetite is fine, but i keep loosing weight, my eyes are so itchy, especially at night, i also experience upper stomach pains, and very painful pain below the shoulder like (something is sticking me) and my ear is painful at times, its like my jaws are exhausted every time
    . Please assist

  5. I have a swollen lympth node on my armpit and fever. Everyone's telling me to go get it checked out right now. My doctor clinic is not open on weekends. My doctor has. done blood work on me 8 months ago as part of routine and my white count was high then. I suffer from anemia and so by default they keep track of my iron. This has nothing to do with my lympth node on my arm pit but my white count being elevated before and now this. concerns me.

  6. my jaw hurt last night and then i woke today with it swollen in front of my ear , i had the common cold nothing else i cant tell if this is a good thing or bad

  7. well explained, sir, I have 2 large lumph nodes on my right side of neck, about 2 months, I have caugh now from 3 days, I have pain in my breast, I checked from Dr, she told me every thing is OK, but my lumph node on neck is concerned, I m terrified, if lumph node don't go, then is there any other way to biopsy,

  8. this video was helpful. although for 9 months I have had swollen lymph nodes that feel like lumps. they are completely painless, rock hard and slightly moveable. they are only in the areas of the glands. I now have 9 of them. 4 in the neck, 2 under the jaw and 3 in the groin. At first they werent growing an awful lot but for the past 3 months, they have been growing rapidly. I have also had a cough for 1 year. it gets worse when I get colds but it never goes and it makes me bit breathless. And the swollen glands do not change when I am sick. I sometimes get itches that may only occur in one area at a time for a couple hours. Is this something to be concerned about? im only a young teen please help.

  9. So i have something for you. I have seen 2 doctors so far, and both have no idea whats wrong. But my right arm pit is swollen, not hardened at all, and not painful. How ever, sometimes not always, i get this very painful red line going accross my skin, going down my arm to my right hand, which after this appears, i then get very small marks on my fingers or palm that are very very painful, and if i use a needle and pop it, puss comes out. I also have a prolonged cough, but doc said it was just allergy, so thats probably nothing to do with the right arm. And recently, the red line has come back, and now its 2 red lines, but only one goes all the way down my arm. Its causing kind of an acking pain this time. Also hurts to straighten my arm, i think it might be slightly swollen as well its hard to tell. But if you are interested in guessing what is wrong, or want to help me you can email me at [email protected] or find me threw messanger on facebook under "joshua chiodo". I do have a military back ground, and i was injured in 2012 due to a 500lb ied blast which broke my left arm, damaged my spin/back, and i have a piece of metal go into the top of my scalp, idk if any of that info will help you. But i have been out of the army for 5 years now, so i doubt that has anything to do with it. I also had a cat scan done of the lump, and i know it is not cancerious and there is no shrapenal. I do have photos and video i can share if needed. Please help, thank you.

  10. I wish I never ever came to Canada, I have been experiencing swollen glands all over my body and some of them growing to 10 CM and all the fucking bastards doctors that I have seen they told me that there is no fucking treatment for this problem. They have sent me for diagnostic imaging test for years and if that doesn't show any abnormality then they say since your swollen lymph node is not malignant they can't take it out. I have been experiencing night sweat, nausea, vomiting, severe weight loss to the point that I have no fucking meat on my body and every day goes by feeling sick and generally unwell and I have to put up with this shit for rest of my fucking life. I'm sure if this problem would have happened to a white person she would have received a treatment in a blink of an eye. I can't believe I have to face discrimination for a fucking most basic right living in this bloody country. THEY ARE COMPROMISING MY HEALTH AND THERE IS NOTHING THAT I CAN DO. A FUCKING IMMIGRANT<A FUCKING REFUGEE< A FUCKING FUGITIVE GET A FUCKING BETTER TREATMENT THAT I DO. WELL< WHAT MORE CAN I SAY> I FUCKING HATE MY LIFE. ALL THE DOCTORS PUTTING ME IN A EARLY GRAVE BY GIVING ME A FUCKING FALSE OR DELAYED TREATMENT AND I MUST BE A FUCKING FOOL TO PUT UP WITH IT. FUCK MY LIFE. xx

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  12. I have multiple lumps under my chin one by my lower lip under the chin seems too be getting bigger solid mass. For x4 months now . Now need too get a CTA scan with dye. What does this sound like to you

  13. Cancer can be taken fully away if you are willing to fully get nutrition into your bodies. People even in usa are in such a state of malnutrition. You eat junk foods and your health will defiantly suffer in the end.

  14. I was cooking early this morning and was standing in front of my running microwave (that is about 5 feet of the ground). As I was moving around the kitchen my right side of my head was close to microwave. Then all the sudden I felt my right ear get real tight. Then I touched in this spot and noticed under my right ear was quite swollen where the lymph lode area is? I feel fine but it's been slightly swollen all day? I have always felt a weird feeling in front of the microwave so I try to stay away when it's on. Has anyone ever heard of this?

  15. brother has 9 mm para aortic node in retroperitoneum andit has stayed the same for 10 months after 2nd ct scan. Something to worry about?

  16. Any type of cervical lymphadenopathy or lymph node swelling in the neck is meaningful. It must represent infection of some type in the head and neck. That's typically the cause. More unusual causes can include lymphoma, tuberculosis and cat scratch ( two unusual infections)disease.

  17. I currently have one in my neck, but is it normal for it to sting or burn. I usually never get swollen when I get sick or have signs of infection BODIES ARE SO CONFUSING!!!

  18. I'm 20 and have had a painless soft pea-sized lump in my groin for months. You reminded me that a year ago I had suspected cat scratch fever. Could this be the reason?

  19. Hard fixed lump below my left ear under the skin. Larger than a grape in size near the top of my jaw line. It is hard fixed and immobile. No pain just pressure and numbness. Feels like something is attached to my neck. Doctors sent me away as they wore not concerned. I attended A&E they sent me for a ultrasound. The lump was diagnosed as a swollen lymph node. Months later still present seen by the ENT again he diagnosed the lump as a swollen lymph node. No further tests or investigations wore mentioned or offered. Since the ENT appointment no further investigations suggested to see if any changes have happened in that time frame. The lump has just been left and ignored 😕😕 Still large in size and has never reduced in size in that time. Now I have a much smaller swollen lymph node present on the back of my neck.

  20. mine swell up on both sides of my neck when I eat certain things and it gets like softball size. it stays like that for about 30mins to an hour then goes back to normal. i have no idea what it is and when it happens I can't get to my Dr in time to show him. it worries me.

  21. I found out I have glandular fever out I have three years ago when I have become very sick with cold, swollen tonsils, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and so on. After two weeks I was back to normal, let's just say I recovered. Everything with me is fine but my lymph is still swollen till this day on the right side of my throat and the back of my neck right side. It is extremely visible if I bend or raise my neck but I don't get pain. I asked my doctor what should I do but the reply I have gotten was it's less than 1 inch I don't need to do anything and it's fine for me to live with it. Do you guys have any suggestion I fear the worst thinking it can be cancerous or am I just paranoid.

  22. Does a tender left collarbone node about 1cm ALWAYS a bad sign indicating tumor spread even though lab test confirmed no malignant cells noted except inflammatory cells and some scatter foamy macrophages? thank you Dr

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  25. Does anyone have information on the cause of swollen lymph nodes on the inside of the arm? no other noticeable symptoms.

  26. Swollen small gland on my right side of neck for 2 years. 20 years old, it got smaller than before but still exists, im a hypochondriac ever since this incident and webmd.

  27. I’m 23. My right tonsil is larger than my left. My right lymp node is swollen but not my left one. I had Strep Throat in December and in January I had sore throat. My right tonsil has decreased in size slightly. My lymp node is small but not going away. Is this common? Am I okay? Please help me.

  28. I've had swollen painless lymph nodes all over body cor the last 5 years. Now they're itching like crazy every day all day. Along with night sweats, tired all the time, nerve pain. So I may need to get another biopsy.

  29. I have mine in my neck for almost 4 years? It's bigger than pea size but not that big? It's not painful and not hard. I also have one below my chin which i got 3 months ago and below my ear also. So i have 3 swollen nodes. Sorry for my bad english. Im not an english speaker you see hahahaha

  30. My 7 year old granddaughter has ha a quarter sized lump for a year .she has had strep several times the doctors did ultra sound said we could watch it or have it removed I say biopsy.her strep is very hard to get rid of.she is going in to have tonsils out

  31. What if lymph nodes only swell when u eat and u have lots of swelling issues throughout ur body and your back of head bottom of feet and armpits and lower legs itch like wildfire mostly at night?

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