ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have a swollen lymph node?

Question

Why do I have a swollen lymph node?

I am 2 years old and female. I have what i think is a swollen lymph node in my inguinal region(along my panty line). I am not sick, nor do i have any type of infection. I also have no STDs, that I am CERTAIN of. It just showed up about two days ago. It is painful to the touch, I can feel a solid lump underneath the skin.Is this a sign of something serious, should I see a doctor? Or could it be caused by something simple like eating something strange or too little sleep?

Answer

It is doubtful that a swollen lymph node (doctors call this lymphadenopathy) would be caused by something as simple as eating something strange or getting too little sleep. Lymph nodes function to allow the body the chance to fight infections locally before they spread to the rest of the body. They filter and trap things that are new to the body, and then expose them to the infection fighting cells so that your body can address them as needed. When they are swollen, it indicates that there is some reaction in that area of your body that is necessitating more infection fighting cells and more blood flow. Some things that do this are very simple, such as a cold or other small infection. Other things can be serious, such as STDs or even cancer. Since it is impossible to tell (from the question you have asked) more of your personal history, it is best to treat this cautiously and see a physician soon. He or she will do a physical examination and possibly some blood work, in addition to a medical history. These things will then allow him or her to give you a likely reason for the node, and follow up appropriately to make sure that things improve.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.