(1)Please describe exeacty how one can determine if the lymph glands are
swollen? Can they be mistaken for a sore muscle? How far down your arm
do the run? What size are they? Please do your best to describe exactly
what they are and how to determine if they are swollen. Thanks for your
(2)Hi, and thank you for this service. I have heard that swollen lymph
glands can be an early sign of HIV infection, but I am not sure what
these glands are, or how one can tell when they are swollen. I know they
are located in the neck, armpits, and groin area, but I am not sure how
to tell if they are swollen. I have had some aching in my upper arm,
near the armpit but not exactly there. Also, are swollen salivary glands
a sign of HIV infection? Thank you for your help, as you can probably
tell I am a bit confused. Thanks.
Hi.Thank you for your question.
It's very difficult to describe to you in words what swollen lymph glands
"feel like". These glands are found at various points around the body,
including under the armpits, in the neck, and in the groin area. Normally,
if you can feel them at all, they may feel like a painless "pea" under your
skin. The best way to know if they are swollen, is to compare them to what
it "normally" feels like. Sometimes, you can't feel lymph glands. But if
you later feel something like a "bump" under your skin, this could be what we
call swollen glands. If they are enlarged, you can feel them being larger
than they were previously. Sometimes, swollen glands may be sore to the
There are numerous causes for swollen glands, both infectious and
non-infectious in nature. Things like colds and the flu can cause swollen
glands around your body. There can also be non-infectious diseases that can
lead to swollen glands. I know some people who are so worried about swollen
glands, that they constantly feel them over and over. Ironically, doing this
can actually cause them to enlarge and become irritated.
The best way to see first hand where these glands are located on your body is
to ask your physician at your next visit. They can physically show you where
they are. Having swollen glands while having things like the cold is not
unusual. But if you have swollen glands that do not return back to normal
size after a week or two, or if they are accompanied by severe pain, seek the
advice of your physician.
Swollen salivary glands can be a serious medical problem that isn't
necessarily related to HIV infection. Only your physician can tell you
whether you have this problem or not.
In summary, swollen lymph glands can be related to HIV infection, but they
can be due to many other things as well. They are a very general response of
your body to infection. Having swollen glands for a short period of time
(like a few days) is nothing unusual. But if the swelling is prolonged, or
very painful, seek the advice of your health care professional.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).
Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS