Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why would only one of the glands in my neck be swollen?"
I noticed that my gland on the left side of my neck is swollen. It is a little tender too. Why would only the one side swell up? Does it mean I have infection or some kind and don?t know it? Would a doctor be able to tell?
A swollen gland is a term we sometimes use to describe an enlarged lymph node. Lymph nodes are small organs in the body that harbor immune cells that are poised and ready to fight infection. When one of them enlarges, that can be due to a few different causes. First, if you have an infection in the area, then the lymph nodes will get bigger because the immune cells within them are dividing and getting ready for the battle. If you have an enlarged and tender node in your neck, that suggest that your body is trying to fight off an infection of your throat. There are other possible causes of enlarged lymph nodes that are less common. For example, some cancers can cause enlarged lymph nodes. If your node does not get better, or if you don't feel any sign of infection, then you should have the node evaluated by your doctor. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your neck, and your lymph node to see if there is any sign if infection that could be causing this enlargement. If a bacterial infection is found, you doctor may prescribe you a short course of antibiotics.
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