Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear
Swollen lymph nodes behind ear are a common symptom of an infection. The lymph glands are an important part of the human immune system. These are prone to swelling when the body is infected by germs. When more than one of the glands is swollen, this is referred to as swollen lymph nodes. Normal size of an enlarged lymph node should not be more than 1cm in size. Anything more than this should be shown to a doctor. Although lymph nodes are located near the thing, armpits and a number of other places in the body, the one in the neck or behind the ear are more susceptible to be affected when experiencing an infection, especially in the upper body areas.
What will cause the Ear Lymph Nodes to Swell?
There are several reasons as to why your lymph nodes will swell behind the ear. These can be viral infections, bacterial infections, parasites and fungal infections. For example, viral infections such as chicken pox, measles, HIV, herpes and common cold viruses cause the gland behind ear to swell. Bacterial infections such as syphilis, tuberculosis, strep throat, Chlamydia etc also cause swollen glands behind ear. Other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are also responsible for such swollen glands.
Can it be Cancer?
Swollen glands behind ear can be an indication of a more serious underlying condition. Cancer is the most common condition that is characterized with swollen glands apart from infections. These cancers can originate from lymph nodes or blood cells such as leukemia and lymphomas. Throat cancer, for example, is characterized by an enlarged lymph node behind the ear that does not go away. This is followed by a persistent sore throat. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer of the lymph tissue. A swollen gland behind ear is the first indication in Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Therefore, there is a good chance that the swollen lymph nodes behind ear can be caused by cancer. However, not every swollen lymph gland indicates cancer. Medical attention is the only reliable method to obtain a proper diagnosis.
What is the best Time to Visit a Doctor?
Most often swollen lymph nodes are not something to worry about. However, there are some symptoms that should be attended to by a doctor. If the nodes last for more than two or three weeks behind the ear, if you have prolonged fever, if there is swelling close to the neck or collar bone, if the skin is red and inflamed, it is definitely time to visit a doctor. However, precautions are better than aggravations that results from delayed medical attention. Therefore, you should not delay medical consultation more than one week from the time you observe a lymph node inflammation as early diagnosis will help nip the problems in the bud.
How are Swollen Lymph Glands Diagnosed?
Swollen lymph glands are diagnosed by a doctor through a physical examination. The doctor will check the size of the node, the texture, temperature and other factors before medication or treatment is prescribed. In addition, he may prescribe certain tests such as blood tests, CT scans, chest x-ray and lymph node biopsy. These tests will provide in-depth information on the underlying problem on which a proper prognosis can be made. While not all lymph node inflammations will be prescribed with such tests, if the cause is not obvious, these tests would be instrumental in making a proper diagnosis of what is causing the swelling in the lymph nodes.
How to Treat Generalized Swollen Lymph Nodes?
Swollen lymph nodes behind ear or anywhere in the body can be either painful or painless. The texture of the lymph nodes will vary from soft to hard or rubbery. If the lymph node behind your ear does not grow in size, this may not be a major problem. Standard treatment methods of swollen lymph nodes include pain relievers. As fever is a common symptom associated with swollen lymph nodes, medication will also be prescribed to lower fever. Warm compresses and antibiotics will help reduce the gland swelling. If there is an abscess, draining it will help in relieving the swelling.
If you are feeling any swollen lymph nodes behind the ear, obtain medical attention right away. This will help in ruling out any complicated underlying conditions such as cancer. If in a worst case scenario, the swellings are diagnosed to be manifestations of cancer symptoms, then too, the fact that you have sought early medical attention is bound to help you recover from this serious condition.