Swollen Glands in Neck - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The neck is an essential part of the human body. Anatomically speaking, it houses the veins, arteries, lymph nodes, muscles and it is where the food passes through. The lymph nodes are also called lymph glands which are bean shaped organs that are small. It is a vital composition of the lymphatic system. It functions as a waste collector from the person’s bloodstream, where it freely circulates. The lymph is known to contain the white blood cells. In addition to that, the lymph glands are known to have different types of tissues and cells which abundantly it has lymphoid tissues and white blood cells. The lymph nodes or glands are located in groups and it is known to drain a specific part of a human body. It is found in the neck region. Those found in the neck are called as cervical lymph nodes. .




Lymph Nodes found in the Neck
Image Source: A.D.A.M.
When a person has swollen glands in the neck, it means to say that his or her lymph nodes or lymph glands are enlarged. When this happens, it signifies that the immune system of the body is responding to inflammation an infection which will lead to the elevation of the white blood cell number in the lymph nodes which leads to its swelling.

Swollen Glands in Neck Symptoms

You can’t normally feel your own lymph nodes or glands for they normally measure half inch across. It is only when a person is sick which leads to the swollen glands in neck. When it swells it can lead to two to three times larger than their normal size. Then, it will be the time that you will be able to feel the swollen glands in neck. Other symptoms associated with swollen glands in neck that are commonly reported are as follows:
  • Lump
  • Red skin over the lymph gland
  • Warm skin over the lymph node
  • Swollen skin over the lymph gland
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Swollen limb
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sore
  • Chills
  • Rapid growth of the lymph nodes which leads to its firmness and hardening

When a person has swollen glands in neck region that appears to be tender, moves easily and softer may indicate a sign of inflammation or infection. Meanwhile, when a person reports to have hard swollen glands in neck region that do not move and is painless will need additional evaluation by a specialized physician. On the other hand, when a lump is felt in the swollen glands in neck region may indicate the cancer spread found in the lymph glands located in the person’s neck. While a rapid growth of the lymph nodes which leads to firmness and hardening indicates a possibility of tumor developing and it will need further evaluation from a licensed physician.

Swollen Glands in Neck Causes


When a person has swollen glands in neck region becomes inflamed, it is medically termed as lymphadenitis. The most common reasons why persons suffer from swollen glands in neck are as follows:
  • Measles
  • Mononucleosis
  • Skin infection
  • Wound infection
  • Abscessed or infected tooth
  • Ear infection
  • Lyme disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV
  • Strep throat
  • Cat scratch fever
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Symphilis which is a sexually transmitted disease or STD
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lupus
  • Leukemia
  • Tonsillitis
  • Rubella
  • Peritonsillar abscess
  • Epiglottitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lymphoma
  • Mouth sores
  • Side effects from medications or vaccines
  • Sebaceous cysts
  • Dental infection
  • Gum disease
  • Impetigo
  • Acne
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parasitic infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Mouth cancer

Swollen Glands in Neck Treatment

The focuses for the treatment of swollen gland in neck are the etiological reasons. For instance, if the reasons behind the swollen glands in neck region are due to bacterial infection then the treatment is medical through the prescription of antibiotics. Hence, the following are the common treatment done for persons suffering from swollen glands in neck:

Medical Treatment

As mentioned earlier, if the cause behind swollen glands in neck region is due to infection, the physician will most commonly prescribed antibiotics, antiviral and over the counter medications like analgesics and antipyretics or pain and fever reduction medication, respectively. If a person is a child who have swollen glands in neck, the child should avoid the intake of aspirin because aspirin may lead to the condition called Reye’s syndrome. If for instance, the reason behind swollen glands in neck region is due to immune disorder, the physician will prescribe anti inflammatory medications to treat the condition.

Surgical Treatment

This is the last treatment option in persons with swollen glands in neck region. Most often, persons who undergo surgical treatment for swollen glands in neck region are those that have a diagnosis of cancer where surgery as well as chemotherapy or radiation treatment is the effective and common treatment option for them. A common surgical procedure done is called as neck dissection. This surgical procedure deals with the removal of the lymph nodes. The surgery is a short procedure that last for approximately 2 to 4 hours. The surgeon will be the one to determine what kind of surgical procedure done to the patient. Along with the option to undergo surgical procedure, there are risk associated as bleeding and infections. Hence, health teachings are done and given to persons who will undergo surgical treatment procedure.

Home Remedy Treatment

As mentioned earlier, the swollen glands in neck region may be painful and tender in nature. You can get relief by doing the home remedy treatment such as:

Application of warmth

What you do here is you apply a wet and warm compressed with the use of a wash cloth that has been dipped in hot water and apply it to the area that is affected. Aside from that, you can also elevate the area to reduce swelling episodes

Adequate rest periods

There is a need for you to rest to help in the recuperation period and to aid in the boosting of the immune system. Through doing such, it will aid in the treatment of swollen glands in neck region. Prevention of the experience of swollen glands in neck region will greatly depend on the prevention of the underlying etiological factors. Placing an effort consciously into the suggested treatment will also give a big help in the reduction of the possibility of contracting the swollen glands in neck.

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