Swollen lymph nodes: causes and home remedies that help

Swollen lymph nodes
Photo: CC0 / Pexels / Roman Biernacki

Swollen lymph nodes can cause pain and an unpleasant feeling of pressure. Find out here what could be causing the swelling and what you can do about it.

Lymph nodes are small, round tissue nodes that are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and runs through our entire body. Its main function is to transport fluid from the tissue. This fluid reaches the lymph nodes, where it is filtered and cleaned of bacteria and foreign bodies, for example. It then returns to the blood.

Every person has around 600 to 700 lymph nodes in their body. They are not only located on the neck, but also in numerous other places in the body, for example in the groin, in the armpits or in the neck. If lymph nodes are swollen, this can have various causes. We will introduce you to the most common ones here.

How do swollen lymph nodes occur?

Simple flu infections are the most common cause of swollen lymph nodes.
Simple flu infections are the most common cause of swollen lymph nodes.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / ThorstenF)

Swollen lymph nodes indicate the body’s defense reaction against an illness. The swelling occurs because antibodies are formed in the tissue nodes. Even a simple cold can result in a swollen throat and difficulty swallowing.

Lymph nodes are often swollen, especially in children, because their immune systems are still very active in producing antibodies against many different pathogens.

Causes of swollen lymph nodes can be:

  • A cold
  • flu
  • measles
  • rubella
  • Lyme disease
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • bacterial infections such as tonsillitis
  • Covid-19
  • Toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by parasites
  • Vaccinations
  • Hormonal fluctuations in the female cycle

The range of causes for swollen lymph nodes extends from a simple flu to serious illnesses. If the swelling occurs in combination with fever, a runny nose and a sore throat, the cause is usually a harmless cold. However, you should have your lymph nodes checked by a doctor if…

  • you notice the swelling over a longer period of time of more than three to four weeks
  • there is no evidence of infection
  • the swollen lymph nodes are only on one side of the body

Home remedies for swollen lymph nodes

Honey is said to help against swollen lymph nodes.
Honey is said to help against swollen lymph nodes.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / stevepb)

The treatment of the swelling depends on the specific cause and the disease that is causing it. In general, however, you should leave the swelling alone and press on it as little as possible.

Some home remedies for swollen lymph nodes caused by a simple infection are:

  • Warm and cold compresses: You place these on the swelling for five to ten minutes. According to popular belief, cold compresses are primarily said to have a pain-relieving effect. Heat is said to promote blood flow to the lymph nodes. However, this effect has not yet been clearly proven scientifically. If you find the compresses to be pain-relieving and soothing, they can at least make your sick days a little easier.

  • Honey: One to three teaspoons of honey a day is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect on infections of the throat and mouth and thus promote the reduction of swelling of the tissue nodules.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is said to have an antibacterial effect. To help with swollen lymph nodes, you can gargle apple cider vinegar mixed with water. You should do this once or twice a day.

  • Gargle with salt water: Salt water is said to have a decongestant effect, particularly in the case of infections in the throat and neck area. Mix half a teaspoon of salt with 300 milliliters of water and gargle the solution several times a day.

However, the effectiveness of some of the remedies presented has not been scientifically proven. Although they will not cause any additional damage to the swelling, their positive effect is also questionable. The only universal measure against swollen lymph nodes in the case of a harmless illness is therefore: wait and see! However, if you are unsure or worried, you can of course ask a doctor for advice.

Read more on Techzle\.com:

  • These 6 herbal home remedies will help you with a cold
  • Cold feet: causes, possible diseases and home remedies
  • Going for a walk: How healthy a few steps a day are

Revised by Lea Hermann

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