ZocdocAnswersWhat causes swollen glands?

Question

What causes swollen glands?

There is a swollen spot under my jaw on my neck. I?m uncertain as to why this happened. Can your glands swell if you aren?t sick?

Answer

Most of these swollen spots or "swollen glands" end up being lymph nodes. The area in the front of the neck and under the jaw bone is full of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small organs located under the skin that are involved in the body's system of fighting off infection. Basically, they serve as locations where infections can be trapped, identified, and removed by the body's immune cells. The most common reason for a lymph node to become swollen is due to an infection of some sort. However, since the body is constantly exposed to various viruses and other infections, it is very likely that you could have had a small infection without really noticing it or having any significant symptoms. Nevertheless, your glands might swell a bit. Also, it sometimes takes quite a while (several weeks) for the swelling in the lymph nodes to go down completely after an infection is over. If the gland persists or becomes larger over time, then something more serious might be happening. Rarely, a swollen lymph node can be a sign of a type of cancer called lymphoma. Please talk to your primary care doctor for more information about your swollen glands!

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

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