ZocdocAnswersWhat could be the cause of chronic face/neck swelling?

Question

What could be the cause of chronic face/neck swelling?

Hello, I have had face/neck swelling since age 17 or so. At age 14 I had mono and have had swollen lymph nodes in my neck ever since; but at age 17 I woke up one day to a swollen and "hot" feeling, concentrated mostly in my face/neck. The symptoms never completely alleviated; from time to time, however, symptoms will worsen(usually with a cold) and seem to originate in the left side of my jaw. Progressively(in waves, each wave being worse) the left side of my mouth and neck(front/side/back) have become more swollen(though the right side is swollen too). A blood test/lipid count was taken last year and came back normal, and appetite and weight remain good. But lately the swelling seems "hotter", very acute, and affects my sinuses, jaw, and deep into my neck. There's itching/pressure on my left ear/throat/eye. My mouth doesn't want to open fully and muscles tire easily. It's worse if I don't brush my teeth regularly; it makes it feel stiffer. What could this be?

Answer

Sorry to hear about this symptoms complex that you describe. It is important that you speak with your doctor about your concerns. It is certainly an interesting situation that you have described, and not one that is commonly encountered. There are lymph nodes throughout our bodies that can intermittently wax and wane in size. As with any tissue in the body, they are subject to injury, which may or may not make them function worse than they used to. There are several possible explanations for what you seem to be describing, one of which is that the nodes and the lymphatic drainage of your neck is not functioning as efficiently as it had previously. This would be unusual in a person who has not had surgery or irradiation, but is possible. Other thoughts could be that your nodes are larger in your neck for different reasons, which may require further investigation to determine if it is something serious. Doctors will often recommend waiting for a period of time to determine if something is serious or not, and also if something will go away on its own. At this point, you have watched these symptoms for some time already, and it is time to seek further information. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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