Home » Head and Neck » Lymph Nodes

Lymph Nodes in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL

Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system that trap and remove pathogens from your body. Swelling of the small glands often indicates an underlying condition that requires treatment. Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists is a leading provider of ENT medical care in the Tampa, Spring Hill and surrounding areas of Florida. Our board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons have the expertise needed to determine the cause of your swollen lymph nodes.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Located throughout your body, lymph nodes are an important part of your immune system. The small, soft glands may be oval or round in shape and are encased in connective tissue. Inside are special types of cells that promote immunity — lymphocytes to trap pathogens and macrophages to destroy and remove the trapped pathogens. The pathogens are removed from your body through the lymphatic vessels that connect to the veins or your circulatory system.

Groups of lymph nodes are connected via blood vessels to form lymphatic chains. The chains process your blood to target unwanted viruses and other physiological threats. Even though many lymph nodes are just under your skin, the small size makes then difficult to detect unless the glands are swollen.

What Causes Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Swollen lymph nodes are easily palpable, which is why your physician touches your glands when you have certain symptoms. The swelling is an indication that the glands are actively removing a pathogen from your body. The most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is infections stemming from viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic origins.

Viral causes of swollen lymph nodes include:

  • HIV
  • Adenovirus
  • Common colds
  • Measles and chicken pox
  • Infectious mononucleosis, also known as “kissing disease” or “mono”

Bacterial causes of swollen lymph nodes include:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and syphilis
  • Streptococcus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Staphylococcus

The lymph nodes may also increase in size due to inflammation caused by lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and other medical conditions.

What Do Swollen Lymph Nodes Tell an ENT Specialist?

If your ENT specialist detects swollen lymph nodes during your examination, additional testing may be recommended to determine the underlying cause. Additionally, your ENT specialist may ask about recent illnesses and symptoms that you have experienced, such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Toothaches and other oral care problems
  • Discharge

How are Swollen Lymph Nodes Treated?

Swollen lymph nodes typically indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment. Your ENT specialist may recommend additional testing, especially if your symptoms indicate that lymph nodes deeper in the body are affected.

Treatment varies by condition, but you feel confident in knowing that our board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons recognize even the most subtle signs of conditions affecting your lymph nodes.

ENT Consultation for Lymph Node Disorders

Swollen lymph nodes are rarely detected by patients. Most often adults and children come to our office for other symptoms, and swollen lymph nodes are found only during a comprehensive physical examination by our ENT physicians. Based on the findings of your consultation, your ENT physician recommends medication and other treatments, or additional tests to develop an accurate diagnosis.

The lymph nodes are an important part of your immune system. The small glands trap and destroy pathogens that may lead to complex health concerns. A physical examination by a qualified ENT specialist ensures that any health problems are found and treated early. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that often accompany swollen lymph glands, contact our office in Tampa or Spring Hill to schedule a personal consultation.