Swollen Lymph Nodes (Swollen Glands)

Swollen glands (lymph nodes) and normal lymph node

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Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures in the body that are sometimes incorrectly called "glands." They are part of the lymphatic system, which carries lymph fluid, nutrients, and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, which is the body's defense system against disease.

Lymph nodes are found singly or in groups. They may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as an olive. Groups of lymph nodes can be felt in the neck, groin, and underarms. Many lymph nodes in the body cannot be felt.

When a part of the body is infected, the nearby lymph nodes can become swollen. For example, if a person has a throat infection, the lymph nodes in the neck may swell and become tender.

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease

Current as ofMay 24, 2016

Current as of: May 24, 2016

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease