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Adenopathy is more commonly referred to as lymphadenopathy. The second name makes good sense since this condition is one described as the presence of swollen lymph nodes. These might occur in varying parts of the body. Swelling can happen in the small nodes under the chin, in the lymph nodes present in the groin, in the armpits, or elsewhere. Adenopathy is usually thought a symptom of an underlying condition, instead of being a disease of the nodes in of themselves.
Given that it is symptomatic of another condition, doctors have to work to find out why the condition is present. There are numerous potential causes of persistent swollen lymph nodes. Certain types of viruses may be responsible, and lymphadenopathy is not uncommon when diseases like mononucleosis, previous chicken pox infection, Epstein-Barr or HIV are present.
Swollen lymph nodes are also suggestive of contagion with different types of bacteria. Cat scratch fever, which results in infection with Bartonella frequently results in them. In fact cat scratch fever is considered one of the common reasons children get lymphadenopathy. Other times people might show symptoms of swollen lymph nodes due to parasitic infection, autoimmune conditions, or presence of cancer.
The definition of symptoms can vary slightly. Lymph nodes in one or more areas are much larger than normal, and in some cases people find this uncomfortable. The skin over the nodes is sometimes red. Some people have a fever, and there may be recent illness that might immediately suggest a cause.
Treating adenopathy tends to be focused on treating underlying causal factors. Curing this, when possible, may help glands shrink back to normal size. Sometimes the condition resolves on its own when certain viruses are involved, such Epstein-Barr or varicella. When no clear cause is immediately identifiable for the condition, some doctors approach this by taking a biopsy of an affected node. This may be useful to diagnose diseases like lymphoma, which can result in the condition.
The variety of causes mean treatment will not always be the same. Any evidence of bacterial infection would probably result in treatment with antibiotics. Autoimmune disorders could be treated with specific medications that can help reduce inflammatory response. Forms of cancer that might result in lymphadenopathy are addressed with the most aggressive means possible to effect a cure.
Since there are many potential causes of swollen lymph nodes, it’s recommended that people who have this condition see a physician. Sometimes no treatment is required. In other instances, adenopathy indicates serious illness that will need medical care right away.