Lymph nodes are one part of the body that plays an important role in the immune system. However, when problems occur, this condition causes inflammation and triggers lymphadenitis.
What is lymphadenitis?
Lymphadenitis is swelling of the lymph nodes due to inflammation caused by a bacterial or viral infection. This infection usually occurs in one limb and then spreads to the lymph nodes.
In addition, swollen lymph nodes can occur as a result of the tumor.
Broadly speaking, lymphadenitis is divided into two types:
1. Local lymphadenitis
This condition is among the most common. Localized lymphadenitis usually occurs in one or several adjacent lymph nodes.
Take, for example, enlarged glands due to tonsillitis infection so that swelling will be felt in the neck.
2. Generalized lymphadenitis
This condition occurs due to infection that spreads through the bloodstream or the presence of other diseases that affect the whole body.
What are the symptoms of lymphadenitis?
Symptoms of lymphadenitis usually vary, depending on the severity and type. Sometimes, this condition does not show any symptoms.
Swelling in the lymph nodes due to viral or bacterial infection usually has the following characteristics.
- The size of the lymph nodes is enlarged.
- It hurts when you touch it.
- The lump on the neck feels soft.
- The skin on the bumps is reddish.
- Pus appears from the lump.
When to go to the doctor?
Mild cases of lymphadenitis will usually subside on their own. However, if you start to feel the following signs, you should immediately see a doctor.
- Bumps suddenly appear for no reason.
- Swollen glands are getting bigger.
- It doesn’t go away for two to four weeks.
- The lump feels hard and doesn’t slide easily when you press it.
- High fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
What are the causes and risk factors for lymphadenitis?
The following are some of the common causes of lymphadenitis.
- Skin infection: this condition is caused by infection with Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria and causes impetigo, cellulitis, and purulent skin.
- Sore throat: this infection is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes.
- Measles: Measles is caused by a paramyxovirus.
- Infections of the teeth and gums: damaged and infected teeth and gums usually have anaerobic bacteria and can trigger periodontitis.
- Mononucleosis: Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus can cause lymphadenitis of the neck.
- AIDS: HIV will flow until it reaches the lymph nodes, and swelling will appear.
- Tuberculosis (TB): TB disease arises due to infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- Syphilis: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.
- Toxoplasma: this disease occurs due to infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii through cat feces or undercooked meat.
Children under the age of 12 and having physical contact with animals are at risk of developing lymphadenitis. Several types of animals such as cats, mice, and cows can be hosts for the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
What are the complications caused by lymphadenitis?
Lymphadenitis that does not get medical treatment may cause several complications such as the following.
- Accumulation of an abscess or wound with pus.
- Cellulitis (infection of the skin).
- Sepsis (bloodstream infection).
- Carotid artery rupture.
- Irritation of the lining of the heart or pericarditis.
How do doctors diagnose lymphadenitis?
The doctor will usually assess the size, tenderness, texture, and temperature of the lump in lymphadenitis.
This is important because the location of the swelling and the characteristics of the lump can help the doctor determine what is the main cause.
Below is an examination procedure to diagnose lymphadenitis.
1. Laboratory test
Laboratory tests are useful for detecting bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. There are several types of test procedures to check for infection.
- Gram stain or gram method.
- Network culture.
- Serological examination (blood test).
- Skin test or purified protein derivative (PPD).
- Complete blood count (CBC test).
2. Imaging test
To diagnose lymphadenitis, your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as ultrasound, to accurately estimate the size and type of swelling.
In addition to an ultrasound test, the doctor will run a chest radiograph to determine if there is a problem with the lungs that could be triggering the swelling.
3. Surgical procedures
Doctors also perform a lymph node biopsy procedure, which is the act of removing part of the infected lymph node. This action makes the examination results more accurate.
The procedure for this procedure is to take a sample from the lymph node and examine it under a microscope.
How to treat lymphadenitis at home?
You can also try some of the following at home.
- Compress with warm water: apply a cloth moistened with warm water to help promote blood circulation and relieve swelling.
- Adequate rest: adequate rest and sleep help recovery.
- Consumption of turmeric: Turmeric has the potential to help fight E. coli, S. aureus, and Salmonella bacteria.
- Consume anti-inflammatory herbs: some spices contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, including castor oil, peppermint oil, honey, and spirulina tea.
Lymphadenitis is a condition that causes swelling of the lymph nodes. This condition usually arises due to infection with microorganisms.
If you experience symptoms, consult your doctor for further treatment.