Pain in the ganglia: should I worry?
The lymph nodes they are small oval shaped and encapsulated structures that we find interspersed in the long path of the lymphatic vessels. Sometimes they are quite dispersed throughout our body, but in certain areas they are grouped in a much larger number; This is what happens, for example, with areas such as the groin, neck or armpits. Inside the lymph flows, specifically in its fibrous trabeculae. With regard to their principal functions, surely you will know that The lymph nodes act as a real barrier system against infections, since they are capable of acting as a kind of filter capable of destroying microorganisms and toxins.
Although the way we know that our body is defending itself from an infection is from the inflammation of the ganglia, when this enlargement is not due to any specific known cause or when it continues to enlarge for several weeks, it is usual to worry about its possible causes, since the enlargement of a lymph node may be due to a simple flu, tonsillitis or the infectious mononucleosis itself , even for more serious causes such as a non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and leukemia.
Therefore, the key is in observe the characteristics of that ganglion and go quickly to the doctor when it remains enlarged more than 2 weeks without there being an apparent cause. In this sense, for example, we refer to an apparent cause, for example, that we have had a cold or a cold and we have also suffered a throat infection, which in many cases causes the enlargement of some of the nodes located in the neck.
The same happens, for example, against an infectious mononucleosis whose recovery can be slow and take about a month. Or something as simple as a toothache caused by a local infection. It's more, after a viral or bacterial infection even when we are cured the ganglion can remain pleasant for a longer period of time, without evidently meaning anything serious.
Can the nodes hurt?
Believe it or not, the lymph nodes can hurt, especially when there is a sudden inflammation usually as a consequence of a certain injury or infection. In most cases, pain in the lymph nodes is indicative of an infection or inflammatory condition. Why? Mainly because the ganglia swell rapidly in the early stages when our immune system fights the infection.
In this sense, it is common for the pain to be sudden and to occur just after feeling that the ganglion has increased in size. This pain may increase when, for example, our doctor listens to us and analyzes its characteristics when we try to move it and touch it.
As usual, the pain in the lymph nodes disappears in a couple of days with and without medical treatment. But as we indicated earlier, even when the lymph nodes no longer hurt, they may not return to their normal size for several weeks after the infection has been cured.
Should I be worried?
As many doctors say, painful adenopathy usually indicates an underlying infectious process. That is, this sudden infection causes a rapid distension of the capsule that becomes painful. Moreover, it is rarely due to necrosis in a metastatic ganglion.
However, pain is not a good discriminatory criterion that helps to suspect between benignity and malignancy, so when there are doubts - for any other suspect symptom - it is necessary to carry out more tests. In this sense, when the enlargement of a lymph node is gradual and painless (that is, it grows over several weeks and does not hurt), it can be the result of a cancer or a tumor.
What symptoms can alert of something dangerous?
As we indicated in the previous lines, a pain in the ganglia is something normal and usual, especially when there is a process of infectious origin that has caused the inflammation of the aforementioned ganglion, when there is a rapid distension of the capsule, which has been so sudden that it becomes painful.
In any case, unlike what is mistakenly thought, although in most cases the pain of the lymph nodes is a possible indication of the existence of an infection, it is not a good discriminatory criterion that can help to know if it is a benign or malignant process.
For this reason, there are two symptoms or vital signs that become alarm signals:
- Enlargement of the gradual and progressive ganglion.
- Enlargement of the ganglion painlessly . That is, it does not hurt.
Be as strong, before any other symptom, or before a ganglion that enlarges without an obvious infection (for example in areas near it), it is convenient always and quickly go to the doctor. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.