Treatment

Swollen lymph nodes caused by a virus may return to normal after the viral infection resolves. Antibiotics are not useful to treat viral infections. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes from other causes depends on the cause:

  • Infection. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes caused by a bacterial infection is antibiotics. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, you'll receive specific treatment for that condition.
  • Immune disorder. If your swollen lymph nodes are a result of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying condition.
  • Cancer. Swollen nodes caused by cancer require treatment for the cancer. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Oct. 26, 2016
References
  1. Longo DL, et al., eds. Enlargement of lymph nodes and spleen. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed July 25, 2016.
  2. Fletcher RH. Evaluation of peripheral lymphadenopathy in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 25, 2016.
  3. Lymphadenitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/bacterial_skin_infections/lymphadenitis.html. Accessed July 25, 2016.
  4. Motyckova G, et al. Why does my patient have lymphadenopathy or splenomegaly? Hematology and Oncology Clinics of North America. 2012;26:395.
  5. AskMayoExpert. Lymphadenopathy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Rochester, Minn.; 2016.
  6. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders; 2011. http://dorlands.com/index.jsp. Accessed July 25, 2016.
  7. Litin SC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2016.