Swollen lymph nodes, also called lymphadenopathy or swollen glands, is a condition in which the small lymph nodes that span the lymph system enlarge significantly. When this happens, the white blood cells filled nodes become prominent and they can easily be felt by touching. In some instances, and depending on its location, you may be able to see the swelling.
Lymph nodes are present all through the body. They are part of the lymph system, which is a component of the immune system. When lymph node swelling occurs, it signifies that there is a problem such as an infection within the body. Swelling is most noticeable in the neck, the armpits, and the groin, where there are clusters of nodes.
Many types of infections can cause lymph node swelling. This article looks at some of the top 10 causes of swollen lymph nodes.
Cause #1: Cold or Flu
A cold is usually a viral infection. When the body catches an infection, its immune system reacts and produces antibodies to fight the infection. The lymph nodes are part of the immune system and they produce fighter cells whose function is to fight the invading microorganisms.
This is what happens when you catch a cold. Your lymph nodes become enlarged due to inflammation arising from the increased activities. This should not worry you because the lymph nodes will go back to normal once the cold infection heals in 5 to 7 days. However, if your lymph nodes remain enlarged after the cold is gone, you probably need to see your doctor and get checked to find out if you have a more serious problem.