Learn about the causes of Swollen Glands & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Swollen Glands within New Zealand.
Swollen glands are in fact swollen lymph nodes. Glands, or lymph nodes, are part of the body's immune system and help to fight infection. Glands are small, oval and soft in structure and can be located under the skin's surface or deep within the body. Swollen glands are usually noticeable in the neck, under the armpits or in the groin. Swollen glands are typically as a result of a viral or bacterial infection but can be a sign of more serious conditions such as cancer.
Swollen gland symptoms can vary and
the glands may not appear or feel to be swollen until they are examined
by a doctor. Other times, the glands can feel extremely swollen, tender
to the touch and painful.
Other symptoms will usually indicate the presence of problem rather than the swelling of the lymph nodes alone. The cause of the swollen gland may be better determined by problems such as fever, sore throat, night sweats or weight loss.
The lymph nodes closest to the
surface of the skin can be diagnosed by a GP's examination. Swollen
glands in the neck (known as the cervical lymph nodes), under the arms
(known as the axillary nodes) and in the groin (known as the inguinal
nodes) can be easily felt and visible. Tonsils are also lymph nodes and
easily visible by everyone (unless of course you've had them removed).
Deep set lymph nodes require examination using a diagnostic test such
as a CT scan.
When examining your lymph nodes, a doctor will make their diagnosis based on medical history and other accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, fever, weight loss, family history etc. Swollen glands in a particular area of the body will usually indicate a problem close to that area. For example, lymph nodes in the groin that are swollen may be caused by the presence of a sexually transmitted disease.
The characteristics of the gland will often be a useful indicator of the type of problem. For instance, glands that are not tender, have no movement and are hard may indicate that cancer has spread to that node. Cancer of the lymphatic system is known as Lymphoma. If cancer is suspected, a biopsy of the node may be taken to determine the type of cancer.