According to Howsmb, lymph node inflammation or lymph vessel inflammation is called lymphadenitis in technical terms. It describes an inflammatory reaction of the lymph nodes present in the body. This is often directly related to a previous illness; Under certain circumstances, however, lymphadenitis can also occur without such an infection.
What is lymph node inflammation?
Doctors understand lymph node inflammation to mean inflammation of the lymph nodes. This usually leads to swelling of the affected lymph nodes, some of which can be painful. Depending on where in the body the inflamed lymph nodes are located, the enlargements may be visible from the outside.
Lymphadenitis can be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or general fatigue. A basic distinction is made between acute and chronic lymph node inflammation. The causes of the inflammatory reaction can be bacterial or viral. The course of the disease and therapy also depend significantly on the cause.
Lymph node inflammation is often caused by a previous infection in the body. The function of the lymph nodes is to support the body’s defences; for this reason, the defense cells inside them become active when they register an infection.
As a result, the nodules, which are about the size of a pea, swell. If bacteria or viruses get directly into the lymph nodes, an infection develops there. It is not uncommon for respiratory diseases, for example, to be responsible for lymphadenitis. Tonsillitis, for example, can result in inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck.
Under certain circumstances, however, lymph node inflammation can also occur without a corresponding previous illness being present: This is the case, for example, when bacteria settle in the tissue and thus cause an infection.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Inflamed lymph nodes typically manifest themselves as swelling of the lymph nodes. There are usually general symptoms such as fever and fatigue. Inflammation in the mouth area can cause swallowing difficulties, a sore throat and painful itching. In the course of the disease, the inflammation of the lymph nodes often causes an indefinable tiredness in the patient, which already occurs in the morning after getting up and intensifies over the course of the day.
This can lead to problems concentrating and a general decrease in physical and mental performance. If treated early, the symptoms usually subside quickly. Symptoms usually peak after a week. Only the sore throat can sometimes persist longer. If the inflammation of the lymph nodes is not treated sufficiently or too late, further symptoms and, in the worst case, even serious complications can arise.
Possible symptoms include weight loss due to difficulty swallowing, chronic sore throat, hoarseness, a temporary loss of voice, and severe infection. In people with a weakened immune system, a superinfection may develop, which is associated with further complications. This can result in potentially life-threatening blood poisoning. There is also a risk of chronic disease if the lymph nodes are inflamed.
Diagnosis & History
The doctor treating you can often quickly diagnose lymph node inflammation. If the swelling of the affected nodes is visible, it can also be felt easily. To more accurately determine the cause, a general blood test is performed. This provides information about whether there is actually an inflammation and whether viruses, bacteria or other reasons are responsible for it.
In case of doubt, the affected lymph node can be punctured and the tissue sample obtained in this way examined in the laboratory. If lymph node inflammation remains untreated, it can weaken and impair the entire organism. If it is based on another disease, it depends on this how the patient’s state of health develops.
In most cases, lymph node inflammation can be diagnosed relatively quickly and easily. For this reason, early treatment of this disease is also possible. Those affected primarily suffer from swollen lymph nodes. These can lead to various complaints and significantly reduce the patient’s quality of life.
In most cases, those affected suffer from a sore throat or difficulty swallowing. It is also not uncommon for the patient to experience fever and exhaustion. The resilience also decreases significantly due to the inflammation of the lymph nodes, so that there are restrictions in everyday life. Those affected can no longer easily carry out certain physical activities of everyday life and are often very tired.
However, the further course of the lymph node inflammation depends heavily on its cause, so that a general course of the disease cannot usually be predicted. In the case of a flu-like infection, this complaint can usually be treated easily, so that the course of the disease is usually positive.
Usually there are no special complications. In the case of cancer, however, there can be various complications that depend on the type of tumor. The life expectancy of those affected may also be reduced by the disease.
When should you go to the doctor?
Lymph node inflammation is manifested by fever, sore throat and difficulty swallowing, among other things. A doctor should be consulted if these symptoms occur and cannot be treated with general measures such as rest and rest. If there is severe sore throat, fatigue and other signs of inflammation, it is best to see your family doctor immediately . At the latest when symptoms such as weight loss or circulatory problems occur, this must be reported to a doctor. Otherwise, life-threatening complications can occur.
The main people at risk are allergy sufferers, people with an immune deficiency, as well as children, pregnant women and the elderly. Lymph node inflammation also occurs in connection with measles, rubella, chlamydia and rheumatoid diseases. Affected patients must inform the doctor about the symptoms and arrange for a diagnosis. For this purpose, the family doctor or an ENT doctor can be consulted. Other points of contact are the lymphologist or an internist. Accompanying the symptomatic treatment, the cause must be treated. In addition, the affected tissue must be observed closely in order to detect any malignant changes at an early stage.
Treatment & Therapy
Once the attending physician has made a diagnosis, he will then initiate appropriate therapy. If the lymph node inflammation is due to a flu-like infection, no treatment may be necessary because the symptoms usually subside on their own after a few days.
If bacteria are thought to be the cause of lymphadenitis, antibiotics are prescribed to kill them. It may be necessary to inject these directly into the blood; then the patient should go to the hospital for a few days. If the affected lymph nodes fill with pus from the bacterial infection, they may need to be surgically removed. Otherwise there is a risk that the pus will leak out and infect the area (in this case, experts speak of phlegmon). In the worst case, there is a risk of blood poisoning, which can be life-threatening.
If the lymph node inflammation persists for days or even weeks despite medical treatment, it is advisable to examine the tissue itself to rule out a malignant change. Here either a tissue sample or the entire knot can be removed. If it is actually cancer, appropriate steps must be taken.
In addition to the surgical removal of the affected tissue, this can also include chemotherapy, which switches off the cancer cells. In order to prevent negative effects on the body, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the lymph nodes are permanently swollen.
Outlook & Forecast
Lymph node inflammation is easily treatable under normal circumstances. If medical treatment is sought, freedom from symptoms can be expected within a few weeks. With a stable immune system, this is supported by the administration of medication during the healing process. The pathogens are killed by the drugs and then removed from the organism. There is a gradual improvement in health until recovery can then be documented.
Those affected often experience healing even if they do not claim any medical help for themselves. This is especially possible if the person concerned does not suffer from any other health impairments and has a strong immune system. With a healthy lifestyle and compliance with a few guidelines from the area of self-help measures, significant relief and subsequent healing of the lymph node inflammation can be achieved.
With sufficient rest, support and strengthening of the immune system on a natural basis and the avoidance of risks, self-healing can occur. The prognosis worsens when existing symptoms increase continuously or new symptoms develop. Therapy must be initiated for these disease developments, since blood poisoning can develop in severe cases. This represents a potential threat to life and must be treated by a doctor so that the chances of improving health increase.
Since lymph node inflammation can have various causes and is often a side effect of another infection, it cannot be prevented directly. However, a healthy lifestyle that supports the immune system is helpful. If swollen or painful lymph nodes are found, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the exact cause of the symptoms and, if necessary, to initiate treatment.
Aftercare then has the task of preventing complications and making the everyday life of those affected bearable. If the symptoms are not treated conclusively, it is not uncommon for further consequences to arise. The prospects of healing from lymph node inflammation are considered good, which is why there are usually no complications afterwards.
Doctors take great care to make an accurate diagnosis. This is due to the fact that other diseases can also cause the typical symptoms. Depending on the underlying condition causing the inflammation, follow-up care will focus on managing it and preventing it from recurring.
In the case of tonsillitis, for example, the treating doctor arranges a blood test and, if necessary, orders a throat swab. This means that the success of the treatment can be clearly documented. Above all, the consumption of nicotine should then be avoided as far as possible. General measures such as a balanced diet and protection against the cold around the neck are considered the best measures against infections that can cause lymph node inflammation.
You can do that yourself
A mild inflammation of the lymph nodes usually goes away on its own after a few days. The recovery can be promoted with some natural remedies and self-help measures.
The most important thing is relaxation and rest. The affected person should avoid stress and, if possible, avoid stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes or alcohol. Instead, a balanced, vitamin-rich diet is recommended. You should also drink a lot of water, because liquid improves the lymph flow and accelerates the flushing out of toxins. A warm bath also helps and is taken with a soothing additive from nature for best effect.
A massage stimulates the function of the lymph nodes and reduces swelling. If the inflammation is mild, the massage can be repeated two to three times a day, preferably with an essential oil or lotion from the field of natural medicine. A good alternative is warm compresses. Simply dip a washcloth in warm water, wring it out briefly and place it on the swollen lymph nodes for five to ten minutes. A good household remedy is apple cider vinegar, which is best applied directly to the affected area. If the inflammation of the lymph nodes has not subsided after a few days, a visit to the doctor is recommended.