What Cause Sore Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes become swollen in response to illness, infection, or stress. Swollen lymph nodes are one sign that your lymphatic system is working to rid your body of the responsible agents.

Swollen lymph glands in the head and neck are normally caused by illnesses such as:

  • ear infection
  • the cold or flu
  • sinus infection
  • HIV infection
  • infected tooth
  • mononucleosis (mono)
  • skin infection
  • strep throat

More serious conditions, such as immune system disorders or cancers, can cause the lymph nodes throughout the body to swell. Immune system disorders that cause the lymph nodes to swell include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Any cancers that spread in the body can cause the lymph nodes to swell. When cancer from one area spreads to the lymph nodes, the survival rate decreases. Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system, also causes the lymph nodes to swell.

Some medications and allergic reactions to medications can cause the lymph nodes to swell. Antiseizure and antimalarial drugs can also cause lymph nodes to swell.

Sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis or gonorrhea, can cause the lymph nodes in the groin area to swell.

Other causes of swollen lymph nodes include:

  • cat scratch fever
  • ear infections
  • gingivitis
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • leukemia
  • metastasized cancer
  • mouth sores
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • measles
  • tonsillitis
  • toxoplasmosis
  • tuberculosis


Keywords: sore lymph, sore lymph node, painful lymph node, swollen lymph node

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.