What causes adenopathy?

Adenopathy is usually caused by an accumulation of immune cells and fluid inside a lymph node as part of your body’s response to an infection. Adenopathy can also be caused by an abnormal accumulation of circulating immune cells, due to cancer, an infectious abscess or other inflammatory triggers.

Among the common causes of adenopathy are strep throat, ear infections, and mononucleosis.

Infectious causes of adenopathy

Bacterial and viral infections are among the common causes of adenopathy. Examples include:

  • Fungal or parasitic infections
  • HIV
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Other bacterial or viral infections
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases
  • Staphylococcus bacteria (staph)
  • Streptococcus bacteria (strep)
  • Tuberculosis (serious infection affecting the lungs and other organs)
  • Upper respiratory viral infections

Noninfectious causes of adenopathy

Noninfectious causes of adenopathy include:

  • Drug hypersensitivity (antiseizure medications, antibiotics, allopurinol)
  • Inflammation in response to a foreign body
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes)
  • Secondary (metastatic) cancers that spread from other regions of the body
  • Systemic autoimmune disorders like sarcoidosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or amyloidosis

What are the risk factors for adenopathy?

Anyone can get adenopathy, and the risk factors vary widely depending on the cause of the adenopathy. A small number of factors increase the risk of developing adenopathy. Not all people with risk factors will get adenopathy. Risk factors for adenopathy include:

  • Current history of cancer
  • Family history of cancer
  • Frequent infections

What is adenopathy?

Adenopathy, also referred to as lymphadenopathy, is the enlargement of lymph nodes anywhere in your body. Lymph nodes are a part of your immune system and are where immune cells mature to fight infection and unfamiliar antigenic substances. Inflamed lymph nodes often indicate an infection or illness affecting nearby tissues.

The most common lymph nodes that you might notice as enl... Read more about adenopathyintroduction


What are the symptoms of adenopathy?

Symptoms of adenopathy include enlargement of the lymph nodes anywhere in your body. The nodes could feel firm or soft, and they could be painful or painless. Lymph node enlargements can vary in size, and can be as small as a pencil eraser. In many cases, severe adenopathy is associated with swelling of nearby tissues.

Common symptoms of adenopathy

You may experience ad... Read more about adenopathysymptoms


How is adenopathy treated?

Treatment of adenopathy depends on the underlying cause. Adenopathy caused by a bacterial infection is treated with antibiotics. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be helpful for symptomatic treatment associated with adenopathy.

If adenopathy is due to cancer, treatment is directed at the underlying type of cancer and will vary widely.

Treatment of infectio... Read more about adenopathytreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System