Lymph nodes are little glands that filter lymph, the clear liquid that circulates through the lymphatic system. Lymphatic fluid circulates through the lymphatic system, made of small vessels that run throughout the body. The lymph nodes are organs that store white blood cells. White blood cells are meant to protect the body from foreign organisms.They may become swollen because of infections and tumours.
The lymph nodes act as a checkpoint for these invading microbes. If viruses, bacteria or any unwanted cells pass through the lymphatic system, they are stopped at nodes. They can be found under the skin in numerous spaces, including:
Lymph nodes enlarge from an infection in the area where they are found. For instance, the lymph nodes in the neck can get swollen in response to a respiratory infection.
Lymph node swelling in the neck can be caused by:
Severe conditions like cancers or immune system disorders can also cause lymph nodes to swell. Some medications can also cause swelling in the lymph nodes.
Swollen lymph nodes may return to their standard size without any treatment in any non serious disease. In case of infections, antibiotics or antivirals may be prescribed by the doctor. In case of cancer, the swollen lymph nodes may not shrink to their normal size until the cancer is treated.
Sometimes Lymph node biopsy or excision biopsy is advised to know the cause of its enlargement