Why Do I Have Swollen Glands? What Do They Mean
When people talk about swollen glands, what they are really referring to are lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are tiny organs in the body that are responsible for filtering lymph, hence the name. Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system that helps to synthesize substances like hormones and release them into the bloodstream. They are also an important part of the body’s immune system. Immune cells contained in the lymphatic fluid helps to trap viruses, bacteria and other harmful substances and contain their spread.
Lymph nodes can become swollen due to infection or tumors. It is important to know that just because you may have a swollen gland that does not mean it is a tumor. Recent studies indicate there are several causes for swollen glands. Below we will explore those causes as well as prevention methods and even treatments scenarios.
The most common causes of lymphatic swelling are infections. These infections can include mononucleosis, strep throat, certain types of skin infections, dental infections, or even common ear infections.
The most serious infections related to swollen glands are STDs like syphilis HIV. Unfortunately, those are not the last of the serious indicators. Immune system malfunctions and cancers can also wreak havoc on the lymph nodes, especially lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and lymphoma. In addition, allergic reactions to certain medications can also cause swelling.
Although not all forms of swollen glands are preventable, those that are will mainly involve proper skin care considering the entire lymphatic system exists just beneath the surface of the skin. Here are some preventative measures to consider:
• Wash Often – Keeping your skin clean and free of oils and particles that can clog your pores is important.
• Don’t Poke and Prod – If you have an irritated bump, don’t break the skin. This will reduce chances of a deeper infection.
• Avoid Oily Skin Products – Oily skincare products can cause your pores and increase the chances of infection.
In some cases, the swollen gland will dissipate by itself over time. In other cases, antibiotics may be needed to treat the infections causing the swelling. In severe cases like cancer, sometimes the gland will need to be removed all together or attacked with chemotherapy treatment.
Swollen glands are pretty common occurrences that, while perhaps scary, have a wide range of causes. It is important to understand first what causes the swelling. Then it is possible to explore prevention and treatments that can help with the condition.