What are Lymph Nodes?
Lymph nodes are collections of cells designed to fight infections. When the lymph nodes are enlarged, lumps in the neck, armpits and groins are frequently felt.
The most common cause of enlarged lymph nodes are infections, e.g. viral infections can cause multiple enlarged lymph nodes or a bacterial infection of the hand can cause enlarged lymph nodes of the elbow, armpit and neck on the same side. Occasionally lymph node enlargement can be due to medications, or a malignancy.
Depending on the diagnosis suspected, your doctor may choose to observe the lymph node, prescribe a course of antibiotics, or advise you to undergo some tests, which may include blood tests, imaging studies or even a lymph node biopsy.
You should be concerned if your enlarged lymph nodes is associated with the following:
- Persistent cough (neck nodes)
- Persistent ear/nose related symptoms (neck nodes)
- Breast lump (neck or armpit nodes)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained fevers/night sweats
- Large size
- Persistent beyond a week