Shotty Lymph Nodes

Shotty lymph nodes occur when clusters of lymph nodes become swollen, causing them to feel like shotgun pellets. Shotty nodes are usually small, round and feel hard. They are benign and do not point to any serious disease. Rather, these nodes signify the presence of some viruses and the immune system is trying to get rid of them. Shotty nodes are usually felt on the neck area. The fact that they don’t hurt, are non-tender, small and movable should not be a cause of alarm.

The appearance of shotty lymph node may cause a great deal of concern for fear of cancer. In most cases, shotty nodes do not require any treatment as long as they are not painful and fixed. Still, a trip to the doctor to get diagnosed will eliminate any doubt or worry. By going through a number of tests and physical and medical exams, malignancy and other serious medical conditions can be ruled out.

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Causes of Shotty Lymph Nodes

Shotty lymph nodes develop as a result of constant scarring of the lymph nodes due to repeated infections. It is more a term that aptly describes the texture of the swollen lymph node, as it resembles a small pellet or buckshot under the skin. Shotty nodes are frequently felt on the neck area or cervical lymph nodes. There are roughly 300 hundred of them in the neck area. These nodes are located just below the skin, so when there is an infection, they become swollen and give rise to buckshot-like nodules in the neck.

Cervical lymph nodes particularly work to drain the lymph fluid flowing in the neck and head areas. Infections anywhere in the head, mouth, neck or ear can give rise to shotty lymph nodes. These may include:

  • Common cold
  • Strep throat
  • Tonsillitis
  • Ear infection
  • Flu
  • Mumps
  • Measles or German measles
  • Infected tooth
  • Mononucleosis

Size of Shotty Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes resemble the size and shape of a bean, ranging from a few millimeters to 2 cm. They appear in singles or clusters. A shotty lymph node is actually composed of several small lymph nodes that are clustered together. They swell when the body is fighting bacterial or viral infection and return to their usual size once the body has finally defeated the infection. However, it may take some time for shotgun pellet-sized lymph nodes to shrink down to their normal size as they remain swollen and evident for several weeks.

Symptoms that Accompany Shotty Lymph Nodes

A swollen lymph node indicates the presence of infection. It does not always warrant a trip to the doctor especially if it is only accompanied by slight cold. The patient may still opt to see the doctor to treat the underlying infection. However, there are some instances when swollen lymph nodes require thorough medical evaluation, and this is when:

  • They continue to hurt
  • They feel hot
  • There are some redness over the affected area
  • They are immovable and stone-hard
  • They occur with chills, fever, weakness, night sweats and abrupt weight loss

The infection that causes shotty lymph nodes could spread and result in serious medical complications like:

  • Oral or mouth cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Rheumatic and scarlet fever

Shotty Lymph Nodes Treatment

A shotty lymph node is a sign that the immune system is doing its job in getting rid of infection. It would return into its normal size once the body has finally gotten rid of the offending pathogens. Since a shotty node usually arises during viral invasion, self-care measures will help during the course of infection.  These include:

  • Rest
  • Warm compresses
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Over the counter pain medications

Shotty lymph nodes also respond to holistic treatment which is a combination of herbal remedies and homeopathy. This treatment strategy has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in boosting the immune system and cell repair without causing side effects. Hot/cold compresses are effective in alleviating tender lymph nodes too.

People with immune disorders are given prescription medications to treat the swollen lymph nodes. If abscess had formed in the swollen lymph node, minor surgery is done to remove the infected fluid.

Shotty lymph nodes are usually the result of viruses trying to harm the body. They will shrink back to their normal size once the body has eliminated the harmful pathogens. Seeing a doctor will help cure the infection and prevent it from spreading further. Shotty nodes should not be a cause of concern as long as they are movable, painless, rubbery and only come with minor discomforting symptoms. A doctor can be consulted to rule out serious medical conditions and recommend the appropriate treatment.

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