Swollen lymph nodes mean that there is something amiss in the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. MedlinePlus explains that the lymph nodes may swell due to an infection, an immune or autoimmune condition, cancer or certain medications.
Infections caused by bacteria or viruses, such as tooth abscesses, tonsillitis, ear infections, colds and influenza, can cause swollen lymph nodes, notes MedlinePlus. Rheumatoid arthritis and HIV are examples of immune system conditions that can lead to swollen lymph nodes. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin disease and leukemia are cancers that can cause swollen lymph nodes. Typhoid vaccines and anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin, can cause the lymph nodes to swell.