ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have a hard, moveable lump under my left lymphnode in my neck?

Question

Why do I have a hard, moveable lump under my left lymphnode in my neck?

I am a 23 year old college student. For the last few weeks, I have had a swollen left lymph node in my neck, and now there is a hard, moveable lump directly underneath it. I have been taking antibiotics but there seems to be no change.

Answer

Lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system. They function as places in the body where immune cells collect and counteract infections. Lymph nodes in the neck, such as the ones you are describing, are commonly involved when there are infections of the throat or ears or teeth, as well upper respiratory infections. When the lymph nodes in the neck encounter these infections, the immune cells inside begin to multiply to fight off the infection. This results in swelling and enlargement of the lymph node. This can be quite noticeable; as you are experiencing, you can often feel the enlarged nodes when you feel around in the neck. This swelling is a normal part of the body's reaction to the infection and is nothing to be worried about. In fact, the swelling can sometimes persist for days to weeks after the infection. Rarely, the lymph nodes can develop abscesses inside of them and this may need to be treated. If you have severe pain, fever, redness over the lymph node, or difficulty swallowing or breathing, these may be signs that the swelling has gotten out of hand and that you should talk to your doctor or go to the emergency room.

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

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