Having swollen lymph nodes behind the ear can be very painful and it is usually as a result of many causes. These causes can range from mild to more serious conditions. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body and are part of body immune system.
Lymph nodes play other important functions in the body like storage of fluids and nutrients as well as flushing out waste from the body. Therefore, excessive accumulation of foreign bodies in the nodes causes swellings and enlargement.
In this post, you will be able to discover some of the common things or factors that may lead to swollen lymph nodes behind ears in both children and adults. You can also explore some of the pictures and natural home remedies for the causes.
What Does It Mean When You Have Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind Ear?
Generally, lymph nodes are certain glands found in the body and they do help to flush out fluids that circulate in the lymphatic system. According to doctors on WebMD, these small glands may become swollen due to infection and growth of tumors.
Lymphatic fluids help to circulate nutrients to the various parts of the lymphatic system just like the blood. The lymph nodes on the other hand help to store white blood cells that help to get rid of invading organisms.
Therefore, lymph nodes are part of the defense mechanism in the body and it helps to fight bacteria, viruses, and abnormal or diseased cells that tend to enter lymphatic system.
When the body is invaded with diseases or infections, the lymph nodes tend to accumulate bacteria and dead or diseased cells. This later causes swelling in the lymph nodes and it is generally a painful experience.
What causes swollen lymph nodes behind the ears? Well, it is important to note that there are several factors that may lead to a painful lump behind ear.
Swelling behind the ear on the bone is caused by a number of issues such as infections, acute or blunt force injuries, autoimmune disorders, cancer, German measles, an abscessed tooth, an allergic reaction, influenza or rhinoviruses, strep throat, or lipoma.
The following are some of the major causes with detailed discussion. They include:
- Ear cancer
Cancer can affect any part of the body. However, there are certain types of cancers that can result in swelling of the lymph nodes. According to WebMD, painful lump behind ear could be due to the growth of cancerous tumors that lead to lymphoma or leukemia.
Therefore, cancer cells are considered to be foreign bodies and they will accumulate in the lymph nodes causing the swellings. It also important to note that, cancer cells can have the ability to spread from one point to another.
Consider visiting your doctor for early treatment if you suspect the lump under ear lobe behind jaw bone is cancer. This will help to prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body causing more complications.
Localized infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses can result in the enlargement of the lymph nodes as they try to fight back the infections. This happens because the body tries to increase production of antibodies that can help to get rid of the infection.
Swollen lymph nodes behind your ears mainly occur when you have an infection on the upper respiratory, scalp or eye. Sometimes swelling of the lymph nodes can be due to HIV/AIDS or parasitic and fungal infections.
According to doctors on mayo clinic, it is advisable to treat the underlying infection in order to get rid of the swellings behind the ears. You can use prescription of antibiotic drugs from your doctor to treat bacterial infection.
- Acute or Blunt Force Injuries
When you have a physical trauma, it is characterized by a quite a number of symptoms such as swellings of lymph nodes behind your ears. This does happen especially when you receive a blow behind the ears or you had an accident or injury to the head or neck.
Swelling happens due to the accumulation of antibodies. It is advisable to seek medical attention in case the swelling is caused by a serious physical trauma. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers to help relieve the pain due to the swelling.
- Autoimmune Disorders
You can also experience enlarged lymph nodes behind the ear due to lupus or Hashimoto’s disease which are some of the common autoimmune disorders. According to doctors on WebMD, most autoimmune diseases cause breakdown of the immune system leading to swelling behind the ear.
- German measles
It is also known as Rubella. This is a viral infection that leads to the formation of a pea sized lump behind the ear that is swollen and painful. The rubella virus induces the appearance of skin rashes that may also spread up to the arms and back of your neck.
You can use over the counter ibuprofen and paracetamol in case the swelling of the lymph nodes is accompanied by muscular/joint pains and fever. Generally, measles does disappear on their own after some few days.
- Tooth Abscess
It results in the formation of a pocket around the infected area of the tooth. The infection leads to the accumulation of germs in the gums and later caused the formation of pus. The accumulate germs are considered to be the foreign material to the body leading to swollen lymph nodes behind the ear.
You can use simple home remedies like rinsing your mouth with salty water for faster healing or use over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to ease the pain. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, always consult your dentist.
- An Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction can be triggered by environmental factors as well as our diet or medications. There are certain medications that can result in allergic reactions leading to swelling of the lymph nodes behind your ears among other symptoms.
It is advisable to visit your doctor in case you have developed an allergic reaction to the prescription of antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. This will help to combat the reaction as well as ease the pain.
- Influenza A or B and Rhino Virus
It is also known as cold and flu. It results in the appearance of a lump behind ear on the bone. It happens as the body keep on fighting these viruses and in turn causes inflammation. The accumulation of excess white blood cells causes swollen lymph nodes behind the ear.
It is recommended to treat the cold and flu in order to get rid of swellings behind the ear due to enlarging lymph node. Consult your doctor for the proper form of treatment.
- Strep Throat
This is a common condition among young children and the infection is highly contagious. It can spread from one child to another through sharing infected toys or crawling on a dirty floor.
Swollen and enlarged lymph nodes do happen when the Streptococcus bacteria gather in the throat and the body produce white blood cells to help fight the bacteria causing the infection.
Visit your doctor for a prescription for antibiotics to help get rid of the infection of the throat. You can also use non-steroid over the counter medication to help reduce the swellings behind the ears.
You can also experience swollen lymph nodes behind ear due to the formation of a fatty lump in between layers of skin. However, this type of swelling due to lipoma is usually painless and it is advisable to visit your doctor for a physical examination as well as removal.
- Other causes
Swollen lymph nodes can also be caused by STDs, shingles, tuberculosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications, gingivitis, and mouth sores.
According to doctors on Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of swollen lymph nodes is variable hence different from one person to another. Below are some of the symptoms that usually accompanied swollen lymph nodes behind ear:
- Tender to touch or painful glands
- An increased body temperature due to infection
- Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
- Warmth or redness of the area surrounding the lymph nodes
- A runny nose or a sore throat indicating an infection of the upper respiratory tract can be present with enlarged lymph nodes behind the ear.
The article contains some images or photos that will help you understand how swollen lymph nodes behind ear look like. The images will also help you to differentiate between a swollen lump that is cancerous and the one that is just a fatty growth. Here are some of the swollen lymph nodes behind ear pictures:
According to doctors on mayo clinics, swollen lymph nodes are treated depending on the underlying cause. This is the reason why it is important to visit your doctor for the appropriate form of treatment. Some of the common home remedies for swollen lymph nodes include:
- Apply warm compresses
- Massage the lymph nodes
- Gargle salt water
- Consume garlic
- Drink diluted apple cider vinegar
- Consume honey
- Apply castor oil to the swollen lymph node
- Make a paste with turmeric and honey and apply to the swollen area
- Try over-the-counter pain medications
When to See a Doctor
According to doctors on WebMD, swollen lymph nodes do not imply that you have serious health issues. It simply implies that the body is trying to fight some infection that is creeping into your body by release more antibodies.
However, in case you experience the following signs and symptoms, it is advisable to visit your doctor immediately for treatment. The symptoms include:
- If the swollen glands do not decrease in size after a few weeks or they continue to grow larger.
- If the swollen glands painful and tender
- If the swollen glands are hard, irregular and in a fixed position.
- If you experience high body temperatures as well as night sweats and unexplainable weight loss
- If you notice that the lymph nodes behind the ear of your child are more than 1 cm in diameter.
- Causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind Ears: https://www.epainassist.com/earache-or-ear-pain/swollen-lymph-nodes-behind-ears
- What’s Causing My Swollen Lymph Nodes? https://www.healthline.com/health/swollen-lymph-nodes#causes
- Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind Ear: http://www.newhealthguide.org/Swollen-Lymph-Nodes-Behind-Ear.htmlB
- Swollen Lymph Nodes behind the Ear: https://www.dailyhealthcures.com/ent/swollen-lymph-nodes-behind-ear/
- Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear causes, symptoms, and home remedies: https://www.belmarrahealth.com/swollen-lymph-nodes-behind-the-ear-causes-symptoms-and-home-remedies/