Enlarged lymph nodes (Cervical lymphadenopathy)

Has this article been insightful? Share it!

Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, medically known as cervical lymphadenopathy, is a condition where the lymph nodes in the cervical area (the neck) become swollen or enlarged. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands throughout the body that play a crucial role in the immune system. They act as filters for foreign particles and cancer cells, and they are sites where immune responses are initiated. While cervical lymphadenopathy is often a response to infection or inflammation in the body, it can sometimes indicate more serious conditions, including autoimmune diseases or malignancies. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition is vital for effective management and ensuring overall health.

 

Causes

Cervical lymphadenopathy can result from various causes, ranging from benign and self-limiting conditions to more serious health issues:

 

  • Infections: The most common cause, including viral infections like the common cold, flu, mononucleosis, and bacterial infections such as strep throat, tuberculosis, or infections caused by infected wounds in the head and neck area.
  • Immune System Disorders: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and HIV can cause swollen lymph nodes as the immune system is activated.
  • Cancers: Lymphomas (cancer of the lymphatic system) and metastasis from cancers located in other parts of the body can present with cervical lymphadenopathy.
  • Other Causes: Rarely, certain medications and allergic reactions can lead to swollen lymph nodes.

 

Symptoms

The primary symptom of cervical lymphadenopathy is the noticeable swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck. Other symptoms may accompany the swelling, depending on the underlying cause:

 

  • Tenderness and Pain: The enlarged lymph nodes may be tender or painful to touch.
  • Symptoms of Infection: Fever, sore throat, runny nose, or other signs of infection may be present if the lymphadenopathy is due to an infectious cause.
  • Night Sweats and Weight Loss: These symptoms can accompany lymphadenopathy in more serious conditions, such as cancers or systemic infections.
  • Localised Symptoms: Depending on the cause, there may be symptoms related to specific infections or diseases, such as a rash in lupus or joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis

At Aglow ENT Centre, the diagnosis of cervical lymphadenopathy typically involves a comprehensive approach, including:

 

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: A detailed history of the symptoms, recent infections, travel history, and a physical examination focusing on the size, texture, and tenderness of the lymph nodes.
  • Blood Tests: To check for infections, inflammation, and markers that might indicate cancer or an autoimmune disorder.
  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI can provide detailed images of the lymph nodes and surrounding structures.
  • Biopsy: In cases where malignancy is suspected, a biopsy of the lymph node may be performed to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

 

Treatment

Treatment for cervical lymphadenopathy varies widely depending on the underlying cause:

 

  • Infections: Antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed if a specific infection is identified. In many cases, lymphadenopathy due to viral infections will resolve on its own as the infection clears.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Treatment may involve medications to suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
  • Cancers: Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapies, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

 

Management and Prevention

While not all cases of cervical lymphadenopathy can be prevented, certain measures can reduce the risk:

 

  • Good Hygiene: Regular handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick individuals can help prevent infections that may lead to lymphadenopathy.
  • Timely Medical Care: Seeking medical attention for infections or other ENT conditions before they become severe can prevent complications, including swollen lymph nodes.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol can support the immune system and overall health.

 

Conclusion

Cervical lymphadenopthy is a common condition that can arise from a variety of causes, both benign and sinister. Recognising the symptoms and understanding the potential underlying causes are crucial steps in seeking appropriate care. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing the condition effectively, especially in cases where lymphadenopathy is a sign of a more significant underlying health issue.

If you experience persistent or severe swelling of the lymph nodes in your neck, along with other concerning symptoms, it is important to consult an ENT doctor in Singapore for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.

When should you see an ENT specialist in Singapore?

Please consult an ENT specialist if you are suffering from any ear, nose, or throat symptoms. It is also advisable to visit an ENT doctor if you experience persistent mouth breathing due to a chronic blocked nose or encounter snoring issues.

Dr Ker Liang sees adults and children for general ENT conditions and provides comprehensive management in a broad range of Ear, Nose, and Throat, as well as Head and Neck conditions. In particular, she has a special interest in treating throat and voice conditions, including persistent sore throat, voice issues, snoring, and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

Medical Teaching

Assistant Professor Ker Liang has a passion for teaching and is an Assistant Professor with NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSOM). As the NUS-NUH Otolaryngology Department Undergraduate Medical Director, Dr Ker Liang supervises the training of medical students from YLLSOM, NUS. She is actively involved
in the training of postgraduate junior doctors and residents in the Head and Neck Surgery department. She was conferred with an Undergraduate Teaching Award by the National University Health System in 2016 for her outstanding efforts as an Otolaryngology educator.

Medical Teaching

Assistant Professor Ker Liang has a passion for teaching and is an Assistant Professor with NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSOM). As the NUS-NUH Otolaryngology Department Undergraduate Medical Director, Dr Ker Liang supervises the training of medical students from YLLSOM, NUS. She is actively involved
in the training of postgraduate junior doctors and residents in the Head and Neck Surgery department. She was conferred with an Undergraduate Teaching Award by the National University Health System in 2016 for her outstanding efforts as an Otolaryngology educator.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Has this article been insightful? Share it!

Dr Ker Liang
ENT Surgeon

MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edin),
MMed (ORL), ACGME-I (ORL)

Specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions affecting the

ENT system, our doctor brings expertise, compassion, and a personalised approach to

every patient interaction. From common concerns such as allergies and sinus issues to

more complex conditions like hearing loss and throat disorders, our ENT specialist is

equipped to address your unique health needs with skill. 

Title Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Hello! I'd like to inquire about products/services you offer!