When the cause of lymph node enlargement is infection, it can take up to a month for nodes to go back to normal, states WebMD. Someone can also have swollen lymph glands due to other medical conditions, such as cancer, tonsillitis and mononucleosis. For this reason, if lymph glands do not shrink in size in this time period, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.
If lymph nodes are swollen due to bacterial infection, antibiotics may be needed. However, viral infections may not need any medications and can often resolve on their own. In such cases, it can take up to 4 weeks for the nodes to shrink back to normal size, but the nodes may feel hard and still be visible even after the infection has gone away, according to WebMD.
When lymph nodes remain swollen for longer than a month, people should see a doctor because it may be due to underlying conditions such as syphilis or different types of cancers. Medication can also cause lymph enlargement, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Similarly, if there are other symptoms, such as a fever or node tenderness, it is important to seek a diagnosis.
The lymph nodes play an important role in the immune system and are found in parts of the body including the groin, neck and underarms. The main function of lymph nodes is to fight off pathogens that can cause infection.