Infected Lymph Nodes… No!

The lymph nodes themselves do not become infected; it is the infection in the body that causes the nodes to jump into action, and it may appear like they are infected. When there are pathogens present, white blood cells will be produced to fight and destroy the pathogen. This can cause them to swell, which may give it the appearance of them being infected. They trap bacteria, viruses, cancer, and other pathogens in the body to destroy them and to prevent them from spreading throughout the body.

Once there is an infection in the body, the immune system goes to work. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. The lymph nodes are an essential part of this system. The lymph fluid circulates throughout the body and travels through the nodes being filtered.

Common Infections That Can Cause Swelling

Lymph node swelling is generally noticed along the neck, around the groin, and under the arm. This swelling can be caused by something as minor as a throat infection or a childhood illness like chickenpox. It can also be caused by something as serious as cancer or MRSA. These are some common infections that can cause them to swell:

  1. Cold
  2. Oral
  3. Throat
  4. Cavity
  5. Flu
  6. Rash
  7. Urinary
  8. Skin
  9. Laceration
  10. Wounds
  11. STDs

Lymph nodes have a considerable role in seizing foreign particles and preventing the spread of illness and disease. When they become overwhelmed, they may end up transporting the pathogen throughout the body.

Infections and Biopsies

A virus will not cause to do a biopsy because the lymph node will need to be removed for testing. When they are enlarged, a physician will get the patient’s medical history, record the symptoms, and do tests to determine the cause. An infection will be the most common cause, but the swelling can be caused by cancer, so an accurate diagnosis is necessary to avoid missing a life-threatening condition.

Lymph nodes are glands that produce leukocytes and store white blood cells to fight illness. They will filter out pathogens and debris as it moves lymph throughout the body. This process can cause the nodes to look infected while they are doing their job.

Additional Information – Tender Lymph Node

Diagnosing the Cause of Enlargement

When an infection causes lymph nodes to swell and enlarge, it is imperative to get a prompt diagnosis because procrastinating can result in complications that can become fatal (How are swollen lymph nodes diagnosed?). Enlargement can be a symptom of infection in the body from bacteria or a virus. Swelling can be a symptom in the following:

When the lymph nodes are busy combating the epidemic, they are most likely to swell. Each region of the body has its own set of them that are responsible for draining and filtering the lymph to fight infection. Injury and cancers like Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer can also cause swelling.

Want More – Swollen Lymph Nodes


Lymph nodes commonly swell in response to infection, and it is often no cause to be concerned. Knowing the signs of when a doctor should examine them will prevent a severe disease or illness from going undiagnosed.