Condition 101 About Lymphadenitis

What is the definition of Lymphadenitis?

Lymphadenitis is an infection of the lymph nodes (also called lymph glands). It is a complication of certain bacterial infections.

What are the alternative names for Lymphadenitis?

Lymph node infection; Lymph gland infection; Localized lymphadenopathy

What are the causes for Lymphadenitis?

The lymph system (lymphatics) is a network of lymph nodes, lymph ducts, lymph vessels, and organs that produce and move a fluid called lymph from tissues to the bloodstream.

The lymph glands, or lymph nodes, are small structures that filter the lymph fluid. There are many white blood cells in the lymph nodes to help fight infection.

Lymphadenitis occurs when the glands become enlarged by swelling (inflammation), often in response to bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The swollen glands are usually found near the site of an infection, tumor, or inflammation.

Lymphadenitis may occur after skin infections or other infections caused by bacteria such as streptococcus or staphylococcus. Sometimes, it is caused by rare infections such as tuberculosis or cat scratch disease (bartonella).

What are the symptoms for Lymphadenitis?

 Symptoms may include:

  • Red, tender skin over lymph node
  • Swollen, tender, or hard lymph nodes
  • Fever

Lymph nodes may feel rubbery if an abscess (pocket of pus) has formed or they have become inflamed.

What are the current treatments for Lymphadenitis?

Lymphadenitis may spread within hours. Treatment should begin right away.

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection
  • Analgesics (painkillers) to control pain
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce inflammation
  • Cool compresses to reduce inflammation and pain

Surgery may be needed to drain an abscess.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Lymphadenitis?

Prompt treatment with antibiotics usually leads to a complete recovery. It may take weeks, or even months, for swelling to disappear.

What are the possible complications for Lymphadenitis?

Untreated lymphadenitis may lead to:

  • Abscess formation
  • Cellulitis (a skin infection)
  • Fistulas (seen in lymphadenitis that is due to tuberculosis)
  • Sepsis (bloodstream infection)

When should I contact a medical professional for Lymphadenitis?

Call your provider or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms of lymphadenitis.

How do I prevent Lymphadenitis?

Good general health and hygiene are helpful in the prevention of any infection.



Pasternack MS. Lymphadenitis and lymphangitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 95.

Top Global Doctors For Lymphadenitis

Latest Advances On Lymphadenitis

  • Condition: Methotrexate-Associated Lymphoproliferative Disorder with Histiocytic Necrotizing Lymphadenitis
  • Journal: Modern rheumatology case reports
  • Treatment Used: Methotrexate Discontinuation
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with rheumatoid arthritis that was being treated with methotrexate for 15 years and developed lymphoproliferative disorder with histopathological features of histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis.
  • Condition: Tubercular Lymphadenitis
  • Journal: The Indian journal of tuberculosis
  • Treatment Used: Anti-Tubercular Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 130
  • Published —
This study investigated the clinical outcomes of patients with tubercular lymphadenitis that underwent anti-tubercular therapy.

Clinical Trials For Lymphadenitis

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Device
  • Participants: 70
  • Start Date: January 2, 2020
Evaluation of a Novel Axillary Lymph Node Ink Localization Technique: A Feasibility Study
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Biological
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: December 1, 2019
BCG Vaccination Scar Formation in Children Under Five Years :Factors Affecting Its Formation and Subsequent Adverse Effects .