One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is the local and general immune defense of the body. Also, the lymphatic system is responsible for cleansing the body of metabolic products and toxic substances. If inflammation occurs in any part of the body, local or regional lymph nodes react in the first place.
Causes of an increase in inguinal lymph nodes
Almost any inflammatory process or significant trauma localized in the region of the lower extremities and groin leads to the appearance of symptoms of lymphadenitis, i.e., enlargement of the lymph nodes. In urological practice, the most common pathological processes that lead to an increase in inguinal lymph nodes can be distinguished. These include:
Nonspecific inflammatory processes
- purulent-inflammatory diseases of the lower extremities, external genitalia;
- traumatic lesions of the perineum and external genital organs;
- acute and chronic inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system;
- HIV infection.
Specific inflammatory infections
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs);
- oncological diseases;
- tuberculosis infection.
The clinical picture of lymphadenitis
Enlarged lymph nodes. The main symptom of inguinal lymphadenitis is a direct enlargement of regional lymph nodes. Recall that, normally, in the absence of any infection, the lymph nodes are not palpable. When palpation of the lymph nodes, the specialist draws attention to their consistency, attitude to the surrounding tissues and the absence or pain during palpation.
Symptoms of intoxication. Often, in addition to enlarged lymph nodes, patients note signs of intoxication. Due to metabolic dysfunctions, metabolites and metabolic products accumulate in the blood, which cause such unpleasant symptoms as dizziness, weakness, and apathy.
Intoxication in most cases is supplemented by fever. An increase in temperature can be either insignificant or reach high numbers, depending on the severity of the disease.
Redness and swelling of the skin. On visual examination, the skin in the area of the inguinal lymph nodes has a reddish tint due to hyperemia and is somewhat edematous. With palpation, you can determine a local increase in the temperature of the skin, which is typical for inflammation.
Pain Patients with lymphadenitis often complain of constant aching pains in the area of the inguinal folds, which are aggravated by walking and other movements of the lower extremities.
With untimely seeking qualified medical help, with advanced infections, the occurrence of phlegmonous complications is possible. With phlegmon, pus accumulates in the subcutaneous fat and intramuscular spaces, which leads to a significant deterioration in the condition of the victim.
To establish the exact cause that led to the development of inguinal lymphadenitis, first of all, a medical history is collected, examination and palpation of the affected area. Already at this stage it is possible to make a preliminary diagnosis.
However, to clarify the causes and establish a clinical diagnosis, additional instrumental and laboratory research methods are necessary. A comprehensive diagnostic examination includes:
- Ultrasound of the pelvic organs;
- puncture biopsy of the affected lymph node with subsequent histological examination;
Also, a standard set of laboratory tests is taken from the patient, including:
- general analysis of blood and urine;
- blood chemistry;
- cytological analysis.
If you have difficulty making a final diagnosis, it is possible to use serological methods, such as PCR or ELISA, a diagnosis aimed at eliminating or confirming sexually transmitted infections. In most cases, a number of standard tests will provide all the data for establishing a clinical diagnosis and starting treatment.
Treatment of enlarged inguinal lymph nodes
In medical practice, a complex method of treating enlarged lymph nodes is used. Therapeutic tactics consists of the following principles:
- the elimination of foci of inflammatory-purulent process;
- the use of local medicines in the form of ointments and gels;
- antibacterial therapy;
- symptomatic therapy;
- general strengthening procedures.
The elimination of a purulent-inflammatory focus consists in surgical intervention and carries with it the goal of opening, revising and draining such a focus. Only after surgical treatment, toxic substances cease to be released into the blood and lymphatic system, which leads to a significant improvement in the condition.
Increases the effectiveness of treatment and the use of ointments with anti-inflammatory and analgesic components.
The use of a course of antibiotic treatment allows you to overcome the infection and significantly accelerates the recovery and reduction of lymph nodes.
Symptomatic therapy consists of treating the remaining symptoms, such as pain, intoxication, and fever.
An equally important component of treatment and prophylactic measures is the implementation of general strengthening therapy. After reducing the inguinal lymph nodes, you need to continue taking complex fortified drugs, maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In cases where the increase in lymph nodes is associated not with inflammatory processes, but with cancer, the patient is referred to an oncology center or oncology department. Additional diagnostics are carried out, the histological composition of the tumor is determined, and treatment tactics are selected. Therapy for the disease can be surgical or chemotherapeutic along with radiation therapy.