Overview of Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
Swollen lymph nodes usually occur as a result of infection from bacteria or viruses. Rarely, swollen lymph nodes are caused by cancer.
Your lymph nodes, also called lymph glands, play a vital role in your body's ability to fight off infections. They function as filters, trapping viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses before they can infect other parts of your body. Common areas where you might notice swollen lymph nodes include your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin.
In some cases, the passage of time and warm compresses may be all you need to treat swollen lymph nodes. If an infection causes swollen lymph nodes, treatment depends on the cause.
Home Remedies for Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin :
If your swollen lymph nodes are tender or painful, you might get some relief by doing the following:
- Apply a warm compress. Apply a warm, wet compress, such as a washcloth dipped in hot water and wrung out, to the affected area.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
- Get adequate rest. You often need rest to aid your recovery from the underlying condition.
When to see doctor for Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin :
Some swollen lymph nodes return to normal when the underlying condition, such as a minor infection, gets better. See your doctor if you're concerned or if your swollen lymph nodes:
- Have appeared for no apparent reason
- Continue to enlarge or have been present for two to four weeks
- Feel hard or rubbery, or don't move when you push on them
- Are accompanied by persistent fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss
Seek immediate medical care if you're having difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Treatment for the Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
If swollen lymph nodes are only found in one area of your body it?s called localized swollen lymph nodes. And most of the time, you have a virus ? so there?s no treatment truly needed and it will just run its course. The nodes will gradually shrink back to their normal size.
For some infections (like pink eye or tinea), your doctor may prescribe an antiviral or antibiotic to clear it up.
When swollen lymph nodes are found in two or more areas (generalized swollen lymph nodes), it usually points to a more serious systemic (meaning it?s all over your body) disease. These are wide-ranging and include:
- Autoimmune diseases (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
- Sexually transmitted infections (like HIV or syphilis).
- Bacterial infections (like Lyme disease or typhoid fever).
- Viral infections (like measles or Epstein-Barr).
- Cancers (like lymphoma or leukemia).
These conditions will require more aggressive treatments over a longer period of time. Your swollen lymph nodes may not return to their normal size until after your treatment has ended.