What is Lymphadenitis?
What is Lymphadenitis? Lymphadenitis is a swollen lymph node caused by infection. Swollen lymph nodes can also be caused by cancer though very rarely.
Lymph nodes have functions against viruses, bacteria, and other things that can cause illness. In addition, lymph nodes are also a gathering place for body protective cells from disease.
This gland can be found in several parts of the body including the neck, under the chin (head area), armpits, and groin. The majority of lymph nodes are in the head and neck.
Symptoms of Lymphadenitis
Symptoms are something that is felt and told by the patient. If it appears lymphadenitis means the lymph nodes are infected, either from the gland itself or due to complications from infection in other parts of the body. Two things that can be felt when lymphadenitis occurs are the lymph nodes are painful and the surface of the skin on it is red, the size of the lymph nodes can swell up to larger than the peas.
Common symptoms that occur with lymphadenitis when there is infection in other body parts are:
- Have an upper respiratory tract infection. Common lymphadenitis is accompanied by runny nose, sore throat, and fever.
- Swollen lymph nodes throughout the body, may indicate HIV infection, mononucleosis, or lupus.
- Swelling of the hands and feet, can signal the obstruction of the flow of lymph nodes.
- The lymph nodes are hardened, stiff, and enlarged. This may indicate a tumor.
- Fever and night sweats.
Swollen lymph nodes can return to normal when the body condition also returned to normal. Immediately consult a physician if you have swollen lymph nodes without a clear reason, accompanied by sore throat, difficulty breathing and swallowing, swelling continues to grow for 14-30 days, fever and night sweats, and weight loss for no apparent reason.
Causes of Lymphadenitis
Generally the cause of lymphadenitis is the occurrence of infection, either virus infection, bacteria, or parasites. Here are the types of infections that can cause swelling of the lymph nodes:
- Common infections, such as ear infections, dental abscesses, mononucleosis, skin or wound infections, HIV, measles, sore throat.
- Special infections, such as tuberculosis, some sexually transmitted diseases, toxoplasmosis, bacterial infections from scratches and cat bites
Diagnosis of Lymphadenitis
Diagnosis is a doctor’s step to identify a disease or condition that explains the symptoms and signs experienced by the patient. To diagnose lymphadenitis, in addition to checking the patient’s health record, the doctor will perform the following checks:
- Physical examination. The doctor will check the size, elasticity, temperature and texture of the lymph nodes that are close to the skin surface.
- Blood test. Blood tests will be performed to determine the cause of lymphadenitis.
- Imaging test. X-ray imaging or CT Scan in the infected part of the body will help the doctor to know the source of the infection.
- Lymph node biopsy. The doctor will take some or all of the lymph nodes to be examined in the laboratory if not able to diagnose in other ways.
Treatment and Complications of Lymphadenitis
Viral-induced lymphadenitis will usually heal by itself when viral infection is treated. Some types of lymphadenitis treatment are:
- Self-handling. Doctors will advise patients to take painkillers while compressing warm water on parts of the body that have lymphadenitis.
- Drying pus. If the infected lymph nodes, then pus will appear. The swelling will subside quickly when the abscess is drained by your doctor.
- Drugs. Giving antibiotics helps the body fight bacterial infections that cause lymphadenitis. Antiinflammatory drugs to reduce swelling can also be used.
If left untreated, there are some risky complications affecting people with lymphadenitis:
- The appearance of an abscess. Abscess is a collection of pus due to infection. Abscesses can cause severe damage if they occur in vital organs.
- Blood flow infections (bacteremia). Bacterial infections of any part of the body can cause sepsis due to infection in the bloodstream. Sepsis can cause organ failure and death.