What Causes Glands in the Neck to Become Swollen?

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Glands in the neck become swollen when the patient is suffering from a bacterial infection such as tonsillitis or strep throat, when a tooth infection or mouth sores are present, and as a result of viral infections such as mononucleosis, explains WebMD. Swollen glands in the neck, behind the ears or the lower part of the back of the head occur when skin and ear infections are thriving.

Some patients experience swollen glands as a side effect from medications or a vaccine, according to WebMD. Certain sexually transmitted diseases, cancers and immune system disorders cause the glands to become swollen in the neck.

Swollen glands or lymph nodes are a sign that inflammation or an infection exists within the body, explains WebMD. Patients often notice pain or tenderness when pressing on the neck as well as a sore throat, mouth sores or a fever. Additional symptoms include a visible lump on the neck or red, swollen and warm skin over the affected area. Swollen glands that are hard, do not cause pain and do not move need evaluation from a medical professional.

Common treatments for swollen glands include applying a warm, wet washcloth to the neck, resting to recover from the underlying cause of the swollen glands, and taking nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs, explains WebMD.