Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear Symptoms, Pictures, Causes &Treatment

Having swollen lymph nodes behind the ear? Could this be an inflammation or a symptom of underlying health condition? In this page, find the symptoms, causes and treatment to get rid of swelling of lymph nodes behind the ear. We have provide home remedies to cure the swelling naturally at home.

Lymph nodes are oval or kidney-shaped organ of the lymphatic system, present widely throughout the body and linked by lymphatic vessels. They important for the proper functioning of the immune system, acting as a filter for foreign particles and cancer cells. (Note, lymph node do not deal with toxicity, this is done by the kidney and liver). Lymph node may became inflamed or enlarged in various infection and disease ranging from trivial throat infection to life threatening cancer.

Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear
Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear

Depending with what is causing the swelling of the lymph node behind your ear, the symptoms and treatment option may vary. The condition of the lymph nodes is very important in cancer staging, which decides the treatment to be used, and determines the prognosis. When swollen, inflamed or enlarged, lymph nodes can be hard, firm or tender. Please visit your health care provide if you notice the symptoms behind your ear.

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Swollen lymph nodes behind ear symptoms

Our body’s immune systems vary from one person to the other. Depending on what is causing the swelling of the lymph nodes behind ear, the manifestation of the symptoms, will also vary.  The most common symptoms associated with lymph node swelling and relating to diseases includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Pain behind the ear
  • The nodes may feel hard and fail to move when pressed.
  • You may have sore throat and find it difficult to swallow or breath
  • Unexplained weight loss, night sweats or persistent high temperature (Fever)

You need to consult your doctor as soon as you notice the above symptom are getting worse, or the swelling does not go away after a few days. Your doctor may request some test to help identify the cause of the swelling. These would include blood test, ultrasound scan or a computerized scan.

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear images, pictures and photos

To see visually how swelling of lymph nodes actually look like, below here, is an image. We have more pictures and photos inserted throughout the post.

Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear Picture
Swollen Lymph Nodes behind Ear Picture

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear causes

1. Ear cancer

Cancer can appear anywhere in your body. Some types of cancer causes the lymph nodes to swell. This could be a sign of blood cancer (leukemia) and lymphoma that cause the malignant cells to flow through the whole body. Once the swelling is trapped behind the ears, a growth or tumor might develop there.

Cancer can appear in the lymph nodes in two way; it can either start from there or it can spread there from other body parts. Lymphoma is cancer that starts from the lymph nodes spreading to other parts.

When cancer breaks and spread from a tumor, they can travel to other areas of your body through the lymph system or the bloodstream. If the travel ids through though the lymph system, the cancer can finally find its way to the lymph nodes causing them to swell and become enlarged. This spread of cancer to other parts forming new tumor is called metastasis

Although the symptoms will vary depending with the type and stage of the cancer causing the swelling of the lymph nodes behind ears, the most common symptoms will include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes behind ears
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats

Please visit your health care provider if the above symptoms persist.

2. Hive

Hives are itchy, raised welts found on the skin. They are usually red, or flesh-colored and may sometimes hurt. In most cases, they are caused by an allergic reaction to a medication or food or a reaction to an irritant.

Hives are in many case acute, they may be alleviated with allergy medications. Most rashes go away on their own. If the rash fails to go away after use of allergic medication, this could be a bigger medical concern, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

3. Mono

Infectious mononucleosis (mono) refers to a group of symptoms usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It typically occurs in teenagers, but you can get it at any age. It is most commonly spread through saliva, that’s is why it is commonly referred to as “the kissing disease”

Most common symptoms will include:

  • High fever
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Sore throat

Most cases of mono are mild and resolve easily with minimal treatment. Otherwise, if the infection fails to go away after two months, it is good you see your health care provider to check on you.

4. Shingles

Shingles also known as zoster, herpes zoster or zona is a viral disease that can affect any part of your body surface.  It is caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. Only those who have previously had chickenpox and those who have received the varicella vaccine can develop shingles later in life.

After the episode of chickenpox has resolved, the virus remains in a dormant state in certain nerve cells of the body located in the spine. While in this inactive state, you will not experience any symptoms from the varicella zoster virus. However, in certain people it leads to the development of chicken pox.

Some common symptoms will include:

  • Rash may occur on your face
  • Pain on the on the part the rash occurs
  • Nerve pain that may go for some time

5. Chicken pox

Chicken pox is caused by a virus- varicella-zoster which is spread through the air or by direct contact with an infected person. Once you are attacked by chicken pox, your body develops antibodies making you immune to future attacks. Your lymph nodes may swelling from fighting this virus.

Chicken pox produces an itchy, blistery rash that typically last about a week. It is sometimes accompanied by fever and sweating. Though mostly common to children under the age of 15years, chicken pox can attack people of all ages, provided you have never contacted the disease before. To avoid this you need to take an immunization against it. The vaccine is known as varicella vaccine

6. Leukemia

Leukemia is the cancer of the bloods-forming tissues- bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Different form of leukemia exist, same are more common to children whereas others are more prone to adults. It usually involves the white blood cells-the potent infection fighter. When you have leukemia, your bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which do not function properly.

Many types of leukemia produce no obvious symptoms in early stages, eventually, symptoms may include:

  • Anemia, fatigue and general feeling of illness.
  • Tendency to blood easily.
  • Visual problems due to high white blood cells count (retinal hemorrhage)
  • Swollen spleen might cause discomfort under the left lower rib
  • General loss of body weight.                                

Treatment for leukemia can be complex — depending on the type of leukemia and other factors. You need to see your health care provider s soon as you notice the above symptoms. The sooner the treatment begins the better the chances of healing.

7. Bug bite

Insect bites are common and usually cause only minor irritation. However, some stings can be painful and trigger a serious allergic reaction. When the insect bites, it releases a saliva that cause the skin around the bite to become red, swollen and itchy. Though painful, it is harmless most of the cases.

You need to immediately see your doctor if you notice the following symptoms:

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • nausea
  • a fast heart rate
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • confusion, anxiety or agitation

8. Ear eczema

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear can be common for those with eczema. This is because eczema is usually related to a bacterial infection. The lymph nodes, in their attempt to trap the bacteria, swell and grow tender. Your lymph nodes may become swollen before or during the outbreak.

If you have eczema, you can have your lymph nodes swollen if you are scratching the eczema and it gets inflamed or infected. If you notice red, swollen eczema, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. Oozing eczema could be a sign of infection. Otherwise, antibiotics together with your eczema treatment will help treat the condition.

9. Ear infection

Swollen lymph nodes behind your ears can as well be ear infections. This can occur when a cold, throat or allergic attack causes fluid to be trapped in your middle ear. When a bacterial or affects the middle ear, the lymph nodes behind end up swelling as way to fight infection. The white blood cells are forced to increase in number and collect in the lymph nodes behind the ear to fight the infection. Ear infection are painful as a result of inflammation and build-up of fluid in the middle ear.

Ear infection
Ear infection

The infections can be chronic or acute. When you have an acute infection in your middle ear, it can be painful but the duration is short. Chronic ear infection on the other hand, can cause permanent damage to your middle and inner ear causing hearing impairment.

How are ear infections treated? In most cases, mild ear infections will clear up on their own without intervention. Otherwise you may treat the following methods to effectively relieve the symptoms:

  • Apply warm compress to the affected ear
  • Take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Use drops to relieve pain

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear in child

Having a swollen node behind the ear of your kid can be painful and cause a lot discomfort to the kid. What could be causing the swelling? How do I get rid of the swelling behind the ear of my child? Does the swelling mean that my child has cancer? For a parent it is worrisome when your child has inflamed lymph nodes.  However, you do not have to worry, you need to see a pediatrician who will examine the kid, and advised on the best possible medication depending with what is causing the swollen lymph nodes behind the ear of your child.

Your child’s lymph are likely to swell in certain body part when fighting an infection nearby. If the lymph nodes are infected by a virus, such as a cold, or a bacteria, they can grow to about two centimeter. When lymph nodes are swollen or become enlarged, it means that the lymphocytes have increased in number due to an infection or illness, and are being called to action to produce extra antibodies.

Swollen glands, particularly long-lasting and without other sings of inflammation, such as redness or tenderness will really indicate a tumor.

If your child has swollen lymph nodes behind ear, you will be able to feel them or actually see them swelling. They may also be tender to touch. Often, if you look near the gland, you will be able to see the infection or injury causing the glands to swell. At times the illness might be general one, example the swelling might be caused by a virus. In general, given that children have more viral infection than adult, the lymph nodes are more likely to be enlarged.

To rule out on the possibility of tumor, you need to take your child to a pediatrician as soon as possible. The pediatrician will examine your child and prescribe the best treatment of how to get rid of the swelling as soon as possible.

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear itchy scalp

Swollen lymph nodes behind     ear could cause the scalp to itchy.   When this happens, this could be the first clear sign of possible lymphoma. Nodes may be tender or even painful to touch. The lymph nodes are widely distributed throughout the body. Some are deep others are fairly close to the surface. Swelling in the superficial location are more noticeable.

Although swollen lymph nodes behind ear do not necessarily indicate lymphoma. The nodes are likely to swell due to an infection rather than cancer. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system- specifically, it is a cancer that of the immune system cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. They are two type of lymphoma:

  • Hodgkin lymphomas (HL)
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL)

The most noticeable sign and symptoms of lymphoma includes;

  • Drenching sweats
  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Itching
  • Feeling tired

If the above symptoms persist, please visit your health care provider as soon as possible. Your doctor will examine you and prescribe the best possible procedures of how to treat the cause of the swollen lymph nodes behind ear.

Swollen lymph node behind ear doesn’t hurt

Having swollen lymph nodes behind ear causes the affected lymphocytes to lose their infection-fighting properties, making you more vulnerable to infection. Having swollen lymph nodes that do not hurt is a possible sign of lymphoma. The nodes may be tender or even painful to touch. However, many people have no pain. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are more likely to cause painless swelling.

If you notice the swollen lymph nodes behind ear that do not hurt, and do not go away after sometime, please see your general practitioner as soon as possible.

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear jaw pain

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear or any part of your body is mostly as a result of an infection. It shows that your body if fighting infection to help you stay healthy and strong. If you notice the gland getting bigger and fails to go away after a few weeks, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Swollen lymph node behind ear painful to touch

As we have already seen from the explanation above, swollen lymph nodes behind ear is a clear sign of infection. When your body is fighting off pathogens and virus causing diseases, the lymph nodes may swell. When your lymph nodes swell, you might notice:

  • Tender and painful lymph glands
  • Swollen nodes that are usually the size of pea.
  • Hardened, fixed, rapidly growing nodes indicating a possible tumor.

The lymph nodes maybe painful when touched and can go away and regain their normal size after few days, even without medical attention. If you notice the symptoms persisting, please visit your health care provider, as this may be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition such as lymphoma or tumor.

Enlarged lymph nodes behind ear for years

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear may fail to disappear after sometime, and may thus take year being inflamed. Depending on what is causing the lymph to swell, the sign and symptoms might vary. Normally, swollen lymph nodes as a result of an infection may heal as soon as the infection causing the swelling has been cured.

However, some causes may take long before they are completely fought from the body. When this happens, the swollen lymph nodes resulting from this kind of infection, may take long before they became normal again. This may take years, for example, if the lymph behind your ears were swollen as a result of HIV infection, then the swelling may take long as opposed to those caused by a mere cold or tonsils.

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear getting bigger 

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear getting bigger is one of the most common symptom of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The swollen lymph nodes tend to be painless and gradually get bigger. A symptom that occurs to about 1 in 10 cases is pain in the affected glands after drinking alcohol.

For enlarged lymph nodes that persist, get bigger or happen along with other symptoms such as fever, unexplained weight loss and night sweats, your doctor may order blood test, x-ray or other studies to try and determine the cause. A biopsy of the swollen nodes behind ear may be needed if the cause is not found.

Swollen lymph node behind ear not going away

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear is a sign of infection and tend to go down when you recover.  However, they can sometime have a more serious cause and may need to be seen by a doctor. The swelling may fail to go away causing the symptoms to persist.  This could be a clear sign of lymphoma.

The glands can swell to more than a few centimeters in response to infection or disease. Swollen glands, known medically as lymphadenopathy, may also be felt under the chin or in the neck, armpits or groin, where they can be found in larger clumps.

Depending with the findings of the test your doctor may carry out, different treatment options are available, your doctor will prescribe either a chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a surgical procedure to try and heal the swelling.

Note: the most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is infection. For example, it is very common to develop swollen nodes in the neck during a bout of tonsillitis. Lymphoma is an uncommon cause of swollen lymph nodes. However, a lymphoma may be suspected if lymph nodes remain swollen for more than a couple of weeks or so, or if there is no infection to account for the swelling.

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear treatment

Treatment for swollen lymph nodes behind ear vary depending on the underlying cause of the swelling. When you  visit your health care provider, and the cause of the swelling is established, the doctor will advise on the best treatment procedure available for you  depending on different other factors.

Treating the underlying cause of the swelling, means treating the swollen glands all together.

The treatment options will include:

  1. For swelling lymph nodes due to cancer, your doctor will prescribe different procedure depending on the stage and age. This will include:
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Draining the lymph from the nodes.
  1. if the cause of the swelling is a bacterial infection such as hives, your doctor may prescribe;
  • antibiotics
  • antiviral medicine
  1. in case of swollen lymph node behind ear caused by chicken pox, your doctor will recommend;
  • varicella vaccine
  • antiviral medicine

Swollen lymph nodes behind ear home remedies

Swollen lymph nodes behind ears is usually not a causes for alarm. For a healthy individual, the swelling usually doesn’t last long, the swelling goes away after a few days. Otherwise, the following would help you easy the pain, and educe the swelling:

a) Over the counter antibiotics

Before you visit a health care provide, you may find yourself same over the counter antibiotics such as bruffen and aspirin. This may help alleviate the pain and fever. Please do not give aspirin to your child without consulting your pediatrician.  This is because of its link to Reye’s syndrome in children. Reye’s syndrome is a rare but serious illness that can affect the blood, liver and brain of a child or teenager recovering from a viral infection

b) Warm compress

Apply a worm, wet compress with lukewarm warm around the affected area may help soothe the skin around your ear.  If done repeatedly it could help reduce the inflammation of the lymph nodes and reduce the pain associated with the swelling.

c)Take enough rest

T recover from the underlying medical condition causing the swelling of the lymph nodes, you need adequate rest. This will give your body the adequate and resources required to fight the disease causing the swelling.

d) Massage the nodes

Another effective option is to gently massage the lymph nodes every day for 20 min. this is a simple remedy that works on the concept of stimulating the lymph nodes so that the normal function

One of the most effective options is to gently massage the lymph nodes every day for a period of 15 minutes. This relatively simple remedy works on the concept of stimulating the lymph nodes so that the normal functioning is restored and the swelling subsides over a period of time.

Experts have surmised that lymph nodes begin to swell due to an accumulation of impurities in these nodes. When the nodes are massaged, it can reverse the blockage and hence the swelling of the nodes subside.

e) Exercise

Our lymphatic system has millions of vessels, basically just like the blood vessels. The lymphatic system has no strong heart to keep lymph moving, lymph in the vessels is therefor moved by breathing, walking, intestinal activity and many other body activities and muscles action. As muscles tighten, lymph vessels are squeezed and lymph is pushed along and filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the veins and the heart.

To keep the lymph moving efficiently, you need to do regular exercise to facilitate this. Some of the preferred options would be to hit the gym,

  1. Hit the gym
  2. Go for walks five times a week
  3. Do some jumping jacks three times a day

This results in quicker pumping of lymph through the lymphatic system and concurrently decreases the swelling in the region of the lymph nodes.

f) Honey and tea

Honey is natural remedy that can help you treat swollen lymph nodes behind ear. The anti-inflammatory property will help you ease pain and swelling. In addition, honey has antibacterial property that will help fight the infection that is likely causing the swelling of the lymph nodes.

  • Mix a teaspoon of row honey and fresh lemon juice in a cup of water.
  • Drink this mixture twice daily for a week or two
  • You could also apply some raw honey behind your ear where the lymph nodes are swelling. Allow it to sit for 20 min then rinse it off with warm water.
  • Do this for a week every morning and evening.

g) Garlic

Garlic is a natural herb. Studies have shown that garlic is a strong anti-inflammatory herb in addition to having strong antibacterial properties.

Garlic can thus be effective in reducing swelling and reversing the processes of inflammation of lymph nodes. It can give instant relief from pain if you consume a couple of garlic cloves daily. If you find it hard to consume row garlic, you can resort to swallowing pills of garlic supplement daily for some weeks and the result are equally good.

h) Salt

Salt can also be used to reverse the pain and reduce the inflammation of lymph nodes behind the ear. This is simple, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and use the mixture to gargle. Repeat this a few times for optimal results.

I) Peppermint

Sourced from mint leaves, the active ingredient in mint leaves is menthol. The ingredient is strongly antiviral and can reverse swelling within a quick time. The preferred mode of administration is in the form of a mint tea or alternatively can be consumed as a fresh juice extracted from mint leaves.

j) Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another effective home remedy for swollen lymph nodes behind ear.  Apple cider vinegar helps create an alkaline environment, it thus helps maintain a healthy pH level in your body.  Its antibacterial property helps fight any infection that may be causing the swelling of the lymph nodes behind your ear.

  • Wait for same time then rinse it off with warm water.
  • Soak a rag in the mixture and apply on the swollen lymph nodes behind your ear.
  • Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water.
  • Do this once or twice in day for a week
  • You could also mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with raw honey in a glass of water or tea and drink it once or daily for a week.

If you have try the above remedies and the swelling does not seem to go away, or the symptoms persist, you need to see your health care provider as soon as you can. This could be as a result of an underlying medical condition. Treating the condition could be the easiest way of getting rid of the swollen lymph nodes behind your ear.

Home Remedies for Swollen Lymph Nodes-Video


Further reference.


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