What is Lymph Node Inflammation?
Lymph nodes are often referred to as lymph glands as well, and they are an extremely important organ responsible for the functioning of the body’s immune system. They are involved in filtering out unwanted substances from lymphatic fluid and producing lymphocytes which are white blood cells needed to fight off infections. However, these lymph nodes themselves can get infected at times. These infections are usually bacterial or viral in nature and can cause inflammation in the lymph nodes. Not all lymph node inflammations are caused by infections and there is a small percentage of these that are the beginnings of lymph node cancer.
Types of Lymph Node Inflammation/Enlargement
- Lymphadenitis: The most common type, lymphadenitis is generally caused by bacterial or viral infections in the lymph nodes and often leads to inflammation. This inflammation is often a reaction to such foreign agents as bacteria and viruses
- Lymphadenopathy: This is an enlargement of the lymph nodes due to several reasons that may either be known or unknown. Lymphadenopathy can be indicative of certain types of lymphatic cancers.
How it Affects the Groin Area in Women
Lymph node inflammation in women, particularly in the groin area, can be a cause of major concern since these can often be the initial signs of infections that have been transmitted through intercourse. For women, genital lymphedema (which is lymph node inflammation of the genitals) can occur due to issues in the lymphatic system that can cause a build-up of lymphatic fluid. Since the tissues in and around the groin area are relatively soft and delicate, the build-up of lymphatic fluid in these tissues causes them to swell up, leading to further complications.
What are the Causes of Such Inflammation?
There can be a host of reasons for such issues in the lymphatic system of women. Some of the most common causes of genital lymph node inflammation in women are:
- Vaginal Yeast Infection This happens when a family of fungus named Fungi candida that reside in the groin area, begin to grow in numbers. While the groin area in women usually contains a healthy balance of a meagre number of bacteria and yeast cells, when the number of yeast cells increases, it causes such an infection. This infection affects the lymphatic system, obstructing the flow of lymphatic fluids, and hence leads to inflammation of the lymph nodes in the groin.
- Bacterial Vaginosis Similarly, when the number of bacterial cells in the groin area of women increases, it affects the regular pH levels. The bacteria that are most often the cause of this infection is the Gardnerella vaginalis. This infection can also lead to genital lymph node inflammation.
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Since UTIs are concerned with the bladder and urinary tract, they can often lead to swelling of the lymph nodes around these areas. There are quite a large number of lymph nodes in the groin area and infections like UTIs can easily spread into these nodes or tissues near them to cause such an inflammation.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) STDs like Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, and HIV can cause serious harm to not just the groin area but also the reproductive system and overall health of women. Swollen lymph nodes in the groin area are usually a comorbidity with such STDs. Therefore, any such swelling needs to be reported to a gynecologist first.
- Other Low-grade Infections Apart from these higher-grade infections, several low-grade infections can also cause inflammation of the genital lymph nodes in women. Cuts and bruises during shaving or any other physical trauma to the groin region can also be the cause of both lymphadenitis and lymphadenopathy.
General Symptoms of Genital Lymph Node Inflammation
Some of the less alarming symptoms of the inflammation caused by infections in the groin region include fever, skin rashes, skin abscess, an infected cut, redness and warmth of the skin around the groin, vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, pain during urination, cloudy urine, or even blisters in and around the groin region. Apart from these, some other symptoms may be indicative of cancer. These are rapidly growing lymph nodes, unexplained loss of appetite and weight, unusual sweating at night, and even hard lymph nodes that feel fixed at a single point.
A swollen lymph node can be as debilitating for women as it is for men, if not more. The most common type of inflammation is lymphadenitis, which is caused by either fungal, bacterial viral, or even yeast-related infections. However, there are several effective lines of treatment for genital lymph node inflammation. When identified and diagnosed early on, it does not take very long to heal. Therefore, with the help of consultation from licensed medical practitioners, women can pursue the correct line of treatment for such lymph node inflammations in their groin area.