Recent Blog Articles
Talking to your doctor about your LGBTQ+ sex life
Untangling grief: Living beyond a great loss
Thunderstorm asthma: Bad weather, allergies, and asthma attacks
Heart problems and the heat: What to know and do
I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Period equity: What it is and why it matters
Back pain: Will treatment for the mind, body—or both—help?
Colon cancer screening decisions: What’s the best option and when?
Cognitive effects in midlife of long-term cannabis use
If climate change keeps you up at night, here's how to cope
Swollen Glands (General)
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 Neck.
This guide is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the evaluation and advice of a health care professional.
Glands that remain persistently swollen for more than one month require evaluation by your doctor.
Have your glands been swollen for more than one month?
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!