Lymphadenitis treatment will vary depending on the cause of the lymphadenitis. In many cases, conditions that lead to lymphadenitis are easily transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person. Common lymphadenitis treatments include analgesic medications to reduce pain, antibiotics or anti-viral medications to treat the infection, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the inflammation of the lymph nodes, and surgery.
Lymph nodes are small organs that are part of the lymphatic system. They are packed with white blood cells that are distributed through the body as part of the immune system’s defenses. When an infection occurs that targets and affects the lymphatic system, the lymph nodes are affected. Doctors can frequently diagnose infections based on lymph node activities, and when they respond to infection they become painful and inflamed.
Certain bacterial, viral, or fungal infections cause inflammation and pain in the lymph nodes, particularly those that attack the lymphatic system, which leads to a diagnosis of lymphadenitis. Lymph nodes can also be affected by closely located tumors. The source site of the infection is commonly close to the affected lymph nodes. Most bacterial infections are caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria, but rare instances are caused by Bartonella disease or tuberculosis. Lymphadenitis treatment must treat the underlying cause in addition to managing the symptoms.
Medication-based lymphadenitis treatment will treat infections that occur as a result of bacteria, virus, or fungus exposure that cause the lymph node swelling and pain. Bacterial infections are generally treated with penicillin-based antibiotics. Fungal infections cannot be treated with standard antibiotics, so those that are fungus-based such, as cephalosporins, are common alternatives. Viral infections do not respond to any type of lymphadenitis antibiotic treatment. In most instances, the body needs to kill the virus on its own, but analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended to reduce the symptoms.
Surgery is another type of lymphadenitis treatment. Surgical intervention is recommended for both abscesses and cancers. If abscesses develop, surgery can be used to drain these pockets. When a type of cancer is present that affects the lymphatic system or lymph nodes, doctors may choose to remove a lymph node for testing, particularly if the lymphadenitis is not responding to treatment.
Chemotherapy and radiation are generally used to treat various forms of cancer, but they can also be used as a type of lymphadenitis treatment. Chemotherapy can be effective when the infection affects the whole lymphatic system. Radiation therapy can be targeted to treat only affected lymph nodes.