Swollen Glands (General)

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

Welcome to our Decision Guide on Swollen Glands.

The term "swollen glands" is often equated with enlarged lymph nodes. However, lymph nodes are not actually glands. They are small bundles of white blood cells. One of the ways the body's immune system responds to infections and inflammation is to greatly increase the number of white cells in the lymph nodes causing them to swell.

Most often swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection or some other benign condition. Less commonly, lymph nodes enlarge related to cancer.

We have lymph nodes throughout our bodies. The parts of the body where people and their doctors can see or feel swollen lymph nodes include the neck, armpit, and groin areas.

This guide will help you understand the most common reasons for swollen glands that you may feel in one or multiple parts of your body.

If you feel swollen glands only in your neck and no where else, your will learn more about your condition by visiting our Health Decision Guide called Swollen Glands in the Neck. If you are not sure, continue with this guide and also visit the Swollen Glands in the Decision Guide.

Click here to begin.


Medical Reviewer: Faculty of Harvard Medical School Last Annual Review Date: 2006-08-23T00:00:00-06:00

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