Swollen Occipital Lymph Nodes: Causes and When to See a Doctor

Lymphatic System contains the occipital lymph nodes and is present at the backside of the head, these nodes are responsible to keep up the body of an individual sound and healthy, So, in case of any sickness or infection, they get swollen. Bacterial infections can be a reason to make the neck occipital lymph nodes swollen.

Usually, in normal conditions, the size of these nodes is of a small bean or pea but in case of any viral infection or disease they become larger than their normal size, even they may become visible after getting swollen.

You have observed several times doctors check your back head, this is to feel the size of the node. Doctors can let you know the disease or infection you have by checking the location of these swollen nodes.

It is necessary to understand the nodes and their unusual condition to find out if you need to see a clinician because they also get swollen in some serious diseases like cancer. In this article, we will discuss the different causes of occipital lymph nodes.

Location of Occipital Lymph Nodes

The human body contains 700 lymph nodes mostly present in the area of armpits, groin and neck and 3-5 nodes in the base of the head skull (Dr. Benoit Gosselin). The head nodes are positioned close to the bone of occipital at the back of the head.

You can locate the area of the occipital lymph nodes if you put your hand exactly at the scruff of your neck. In the case that you think about a fanciful line going just between the base of your ears along the back of your head, your occipital lymph nodes will be in the center.

Generally, these nodes are not visible if they are not swollen because of some infection or disease.

Function of the Occipital Lymph Nodes

The main functioning of these lymph glands and nodes is to keep up the body and immune system sound and healthy because these nodes help to remove the impurities and detrimental materials from the body. These nodes contain white blood cells to fight off the infection. In the reference of the American Cancer Society, lymph nodes let the fluids flow to the back of the head from head, face, and scalp. Lymph nodes become swollen in case of any disease or infection because they try hard to remove the affected cells from the body.

Georgetown Medical Center’s Doctor. Wesley Norman says that lymph nodes will swell if there is a contamination in that part. Depending on the reason for the disease the affected part of the body, lymph nodes can sufficiently swell to be felt with your fingers. Actually, they may swell so much that a bump creates. Hence, a protuberance on the back of your neck just underneath your skull could be an indication that your occipital lymph nodes are swollen in view of a disease affecting your head.

Symptoms of Swollen Occipital Lymph Nodes

Generally, there are some more symptoms of the swollen nodes which help clinicians to analyze the swollen glands at the back neck, groin or armpits. Mayo Clinic specialists tell that the if you want to the see the symptoms of the swollen node, check if it is painful and tender and if there is a change in size because the infection can cause the size bigger from normal.

Other symptoms of any viral or bacterial infection may include a runny nose, sore throat, and high temperature. Some serious infections can cause whole-body nodes to swell, these infections might include mononucleosis and disorders of immune.

Normally, the healthy immune system keeps the infections away and prevent swelling. After a contamination, you can attempt my lymph purifying natural mixture to help flush poisons from your body or this multi-day lymphatic wash down by Greg Ashby, an integrative wellbeing mentor, and practical nutritious advisor.

Causes of Swollen Occipital Lymph Nodes

As we know that the function of lymph nodes is to keep body sound and healthy, let’s have a look at the reason of swollen nodes.

1. Bacterial infections

The infectious bacteria can affect the scalp and could damage the nodes of occipital lymph. These infections could be a reason for toxicity and debris depleting through the nodes of lymph present at the back head. White blood cells can cause swelling at the nodes which damages the infectious cells. Research conducted in the journal GMS in Otorhinolaryngology have defined that if the nodes if the occipital lymph is indicating the swollen area then the experts will examine the skin under the hair.

The experts indicate that infectious bacteria can cause swelling of occipital lymph nodes which is usually affects it only one side.

Additionally, infectious bacteria or infected ear diseases may have swollen the nodes of lymph at the skull base. You may feel fever or drainage from the ear and you may have issues in hearing because of the swollen nodes of occipital lymph or infected ear.

2. Fungal infections

Another reason for swollen nodes at the back of the head is a fungal infection. These infections can swell the nodes from normal to larger and affect the scalp of the head.

For instance, the Pediatrics journal in Review announced that the contagious contamination tinea capitis (regularly called ringworm) can influence the scalp and cause swelling in the occipital lymph nodes. Along with the swollen lymph hubs in your neck, you may have male pattern baldness, dry scaling skin like dandruff, and yellow patches on your scalp.

To help dispose of a parasitic contamination on your scalp and decrease the lymph node swelling caused by it, you can increase the use of oils like coconut and tea tree. The mix of these two fixings makes an intense antimicrobial blend that can fight off contaminations caused by parasites. Read our article on regular approaches to dispose of ringworm for good, you can figure out how virgin coconut oil and tea tree oil, and additionally different cures, can be utilized to treat your ringworm indications.

3. Viral infections

In some cases, the nodes of occipital lymph may become swollen due to the infections caused virally in the body.

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom has defined that one other reason for swollen glands in the neck and the head can be rubella. The experts recommend for the patients of rubella to rest a lot as there is no particular treatment for this disease so that the body of the patient can be healed by itself. Mononucleosis Is another infectious disease that could damage the nodes of occipital lymph and it enlarges them.

Dr. Burke Cunha on Medscape has indicated that infections caused by mononucleosis can because of the swelling of nodes of occipital and preauricular.

4. Cancer

Cancer can reach the system of lymphatic and make the nodes swollen.

The China Journal of Cancer says that disease in the lymph nodes or lymphoma can make the bumps at the base of skull harder. Despite the fact that it’s not extremely normal, growth that spreads to the occipital lymph nodes can be caused by melanoma, a tumor of the scalp, lung malignancy, or thyroid cancer.

A noticeable sign that you ought to have the knock at the highest point of your neck looked at by a specialist is if the protuberance is hard and keeps on developing.

5. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Another form of cancer known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is also responsible to affect the system of lymphatic because it can cause serious problems to the nodes present in the head.

As per information by Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient most cases of swollen lymph nodes are because of a disease and for the most part, the node swelling passes when the contamination has gone. According to him, lymphoma causes at least one swollen lymph nodes, normally in the side of the neck, crotch, or armpit.

Different side effects of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are episodes of fever, unexplained weight reduction, tiredness, paleness, and having an all-finished body tingle.

When to See a Doctor if Occipital Lymph Nodes are Swollen

Usually, this swelling problem is curable, Notwithstanding, swollen occipital lymph nodes could be an indication of a more genuine malady in the body.

Specialists from the Mayo Clinic suggest seeing your specialist in the event that you have swollen lymph nodes in the below conditions:

  1. If there is no other symptom seem going with the lymph node swelling.
  2. The lymph nodes have been swollen for 2 a month and they keep on enlarging.
  3. The lymph nodes feel hard and don’t move when you attempt to move them.
  4. You likewise have manifestations like perspiring during the evening, a high fever, as well as unexplained weight reduction.


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