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Is it normal for lymph nodes to fight off common infections?
May 26, 2002

Hi I just have a few small questions regarding lymph nodes. I'm sure you get questions like this all the time, but if you would, please answer mine. A lymph node that swells and is not accompanied by other symptoms (like fever, extreme fatigue, and weight loss, etc) and do not hurt a lot or persist very long are nothing to worry about as far as cancer or HIV, right? I had a inguinal node (in the crease where the leg meets the abdomen i guess) swollen once and had no other symptoms, and the swelling lasted less than a month, and didn't get larger during that time. I was wondering because like I said I had no other symptoms, so is it normal for the nodes to engage like that to fight off some common infection that is no big deal? Can you give me an example of one?

It is normal to be able to find your lymph nodes on your body, too, isnt it? I mean, ones that arent necessarily swollen, but are there (simply because they exist in the body normally)?

Response from Dr. Dezube

As your query indicates, I do indeed get lymph node questions all the time and I would refer you to some of the other queries (listed under the lymphoma category) for a more detailed answer. Most lymph nodes represent nothing more than your body's attempt at trying to fight off an infection. Lymph nodes are more worrisome when they continue to grow; if one lymph node is way out of proportion to the others; or if the lymph node enlargement is accompanied by systemic symptoms (fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss). In cases such as these, further evaluation if often necessary. The three most common places to get lymph node swelling is in the neck (from oral infections), under the armpits (from infections in the hand) and in the groin area (from infections in the toe/feet). People who walk barefoot (and this includes me) are very prone to lymph node swelling as infectious organisms enter their toes/feet. This lymph node swelling is usually transient and is a rather healthy apsect of the immune system.


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