ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have swollen lymph nodes?

Question

Why do I have swollen lymph nodes?

Hello- I am a very active 24 year old female. I own a grooming and kenneling facility. Thanksgiving I noticed a swollen lymph node- waited until January and it was still there along with more nodes that popped up. I had two normal blood tests and also a round of anti-biotics (no change to the nodes.) I did a CT scan and am awaiting results. There are two nodes that are visible. Other symptoms I have had for the last week include : achy, painful thighs and lower back- occasionally joint issues with my knee and hip also random unexplained bruises all over my legs. At times I feel faint, feverish, and dizzy.I have also began to feel extremely tired. I tested negative for mono and already went through a round of antibiotics without a change to anything. I have been bitten by ticks last year and the year before but no rash. My doctor did a Lymes test March 2011.

Answer

Swollen lymph nodes are are nonspecific finding, which requires careful thinking by your doctor in order to figure out what might be going on. Since lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system, they will also be swollen during an infection or shortly after your body has fought of an infection. However, persistently swollen lymph nodes do need to be evaluated, because they might indicate either an unresolved infection or inflammation or, more rarely, a cancer involving the lymph nodes. It sounds like your doctor has already performed a number of the necessary tests, such as some basic bloodwork to screen for common causes, as well as chronic infections (such as Lyme disease). The CT scan will also be useful, as it will help define better how big the lymph nodes are and also identify any other potentially swollen nodes elsewhere. Depending on what these pending CT scan results show, the next step your doctor may take is to refer you for a biopsy of one of the swollen lymph nodes. Often this is the only way to definitely rule out a cancer or other chronic condition, and it is a procedure typically done by a general surgeon, who your regular doctor will be able to refer you to. Book an appointment today.

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