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Stop Swollen Lymph Nodes Caused by Anxiety

Wendy M Yoder, Ph.D.
Stop Swollen Lymph Nodes Caused by Anxiety

Anxiety can cause a lot of extremely unusual symptoms. Many of these symptoms are similar to those of real medical conditions, which is why they can go unnoticed or contribute to further anxiety. Of course, because they are related to real medical conditions, you should always see a doctor. That is especially true if the symptom you’re struggling with is swollen lymph nodes.

Swollen lymph nodes are more commonly the result of medical conditions, such as infections. There are also more serious conditions that may be related to swollen lymph nodes. Talk to a doctor if you’re concerned. But it should be noted that in rare cases, anxiety may cause a feeling of having swollen lymph nodes or swollen glands, and for those with health anxiety, this sensation can be incredibly frightening.

Interestingly, it's unclear if anxiety or stress actually causes swollen lymph nodes. What is clear, however, is that anxiety cause people to feel as though they have swollen lymph nodes, and this may lead to further anxiety about your overall health.

Does Anxiety Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Swollen lymph nodes are one of the most controversial symptoms of anxiety. It does appear that swollen lymph nodes can be caused by anxiety, but the reason isn't clear, because there isn't a medical connection between lymph nodes and stress.

The reality is that in many cases it's not that simple. Lymph nodes themselves cannot swell as a result of stress, because their swelling generally only occurs to fight off an infection. Yet there is no denying that some people with severe stress and anxiety do report swollen lymph nodes. So what is happening?

In addition, it is possible that your lymph nodes are swelling for reasons that are still unclear. Anxiety causes a lot of strange reactions in the body, and many people experience anxiety differently. While the neck is the most common place to find swollen lymph nodes, it may also occur in other areas, such as:

It's a bit less common for these swollen glands to be anxiety related, but it's still possible for the reasons listed above. Remember - only a medical professional can rule out other health conditions, and and because swollen lymph nodes are linked to serious illnesses, it is important to always see a doctor if you are concerned. Their training allows them to identify swollen lymph nodes well. Yet, if your doctor has ruled out a medical condition, note that it is still possible for anxiety to cause sensations that indicate these lymph nodes are swollen as well.

How to Diagnose and Manage Anxiety Related Swollen Lymph Nodes

Only a medical professional can diagnose any lymph node problems. Always see a doctor if your lymph nodes appear swollen for more than a week or two or are accompanied by any signs of illness.

However, when anxiety is causing your lymph nodes to feel swollen because other issues have been ruled out, you can treat them in the comfort of your own home. You can't treat the lymph nodes themselves, however. Instead, you need to find a way to get your anxiety under control so that it doesn't cause your lymph nodes to swell.

Anxiety Solutions for Lymph Nodes

There are few rapid anxiety solutions. Anxiety is a long term issue, and so you will need to find treatments that decrease not only the amount of anxiety you experience, but also how you experience it. Luckily, there are a few quick ways to manage anxiety:

You may also want to include more general anxiety and stress reduction strategies. These include:

Yet again, these are all designed to reduce your stress in the short term. You'll still need to find an effective solution for controlling your anxiety in the long term and reducing any health anxiety you may have.

For that, you should strongly consider cognitive behavioral therapy, which is known to be very effective for reducing anxiety. Medications are also very helpful, and there are self-help techniques out there that others have found success with. Anxiety is a manageable condition, provided you take the first step to seek treatment.

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