There are many cervical (neck) lymph nodes, like the Submandibular one, which is in the neck that can cause swelling or enlargement in the neck. Enlargement can often mean the presence of an infection or disease. Lymphatic fluid drains from different regions of the head and neck.

When these lymph nodes become overwhelmed with debris from an illness or infection, it can cause them to become swollen and sensitive. Only a medical professional can diagnose the cause of the swelling.

The Fundamentals

The submandibular lymph nodes are located along the underside of the jaw on either side. It is responsible for lymphatic drainage of the tongue, submaxillary (salivary) gland, lips, mouth, and conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and under the surface of the eyelid). Infections of the following can cause the submandibular nodes to swell:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Sinuses
  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Scalp
  • Pharynx

Some of the most common reasons for an enlarged or swollen submandibular lymph node are cytomegalovirus (human herpesvirus), tuberculosis, sexually transmitted disease, bacterial infection, Epstein-Barr virus, and cat-scratch disease.

Causes And Risk Factors

When the submandibular lymph node swells, it is called submandibular lymphadenopathy. Infection and cancer can cause lymphadenopathy. Other causes include drugs like phenytoin sodium (Dilantin), collagen vascular disorders, and sarcoidosis (immune system cells form lumps called granulomas).

Lymph Nodes

The hundreds of lymph nodes in the body filter the lymphatic fluid. They also produce white blood cells that fight infections and diseases. They are part of the lymphatic system and a very crucial part of the immune system. They can become enlarged when there is an infection or illness in the body.

Additional Information – Lymph Node Locations

Other Lymph Nodes In The Neck

Some of the lymph nodes that are in the neck include the following lymph nodes

  • Submandibular
  • Submental
  • Posterior cervical
  • Suboccipital
  • Postauricular
  • Preauricular
  • Supraclavicular

Lymphatic Fluid

The ultra-fine blood that is collected within the lymphatic channels is called lymphatic fluid. It slowly runs throughout the body and passes through approximately 600 lymph nodes. It is part of the lymphatic system, which carries cells that help fight infection and other diseases. It takes waste and debris from the cells.


Sometimes people refer to swollen lymph nodes as swollen glands. It is especially common for lymph nodes on the neck. Some of the common reasons that the lymph nodes will swell up are because of infection, an abscess, cancer, or inflammatory conditions. The most common cause is infection around the area of the lymph nodes that are enlarged and painful.

An injury can also cause the lymph node to swell up. Infection or injury will usually cause a lymph node to swell and become sore suddenly. Other illnesses or diseases like cancer may cause the lymph node to increase gradually and painlessly. A medical professional should check any lymph node that is causing concern.