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Possible cause for swollen lymph node

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Old 05-18-2005, 07:34 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 56
mritta HB User
Question Possible cause for swollen lymph node

Just a quick question. I am currently dealing with the pap/colpo/pap cycle due to abnormal cervical cells caused by HPV. While I am not sure if I have a "high risk" strand or not, I was wondering if this could cause lymph nodes in my neck to swell. I noticed the swollen node just after my colpo in March, and my next pap is not until July.

I am very concerned about this node, and have discussed it with my GP. She did a CBC last week. I am still waiting for the results. It could honestly be anything from what I have read: viral infection, bacterial infection, allergies, or cancer. My concern is that if it was an infection, that it should have passed already. And I don't really suffer from allergies. So that leaves me to cancer. Could be lymphoma, cervical, or some other. I am just terrified.

My anxiety has been through the roof since my colpo (all health related anxiety). And I am concerned that my GP is not going to take my symptoms seriously, thinking that I am just overly aware of every little thing at the moment. I just can't stand this waiting 2+ weeks after each test for the results to come back. Part of me just wants to give in and go to the hospital for treatment. Then they would deal with it/do all the tests now, to figure out what the problem is. I know that will cost me an arm and a leg tho. But at this point, I just want an answer.

Did anyone experience swollen nodes during problems with abnormal cells? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Old 05-18-2005, 09:24 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 511
karen32 HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

mritta, I am so sorry that you are dealing with such confusion and worry right now. I am glad you saw a doctor to discuss the swollen node. when did she run the tests? Did she give you a "best guess" as to what was going on? Any antibiotics? It really could be anything, only your doctor will be able to tell for sure. If you are still concerned about it, you should book in to see your doctor again, and explain your concerns, worries and frustrations. The lab results should only take maximum one week to come in, I think? could you phone your doc's office and find out if they are in?

I never had any signs or symptoms associated with my dysplasia that I am aware of. I can look back several years ago and say "I think I did", but because it was years before my pap came back abnormal, who can really say for sure?

I know you are worried. I think you need to sit down and have a good conversation with your doctor about this (the node AND the mild dysplasia) and ask him/her lots of questions. Once you figure out what you need to feel comfortable with all of this, everything will get easier. Sometimes it's hard to figure that out, though. It took me a long time to figure out what I was looking for...a doctor that showed me some respect and treated me like a person, not a number. Something so simple, yet it was a hard conclusion to come to. If you are not confident with what your doctor is telling you as far as the node or the dysplasia, seek out a second or third opinion. Do you have to go to a hospital for that or can you find another general practitioner to book in with?

In the meantime, practice pampering yourself. Go for a massage if you can, figure out what it is that you really enjoy and then do it. A busy mind does not have time to think about all the "what ifs?", and soon you will notice that you feel a bit better about it all. I know, god I know it's not easy. But you can't let the stress consume you. Have you thought of speaking with a counselor? I know that this can be difficult to do, but I really found speaking with my counselor was very therapeutic. She reassured me that I was not crazy, then she also helped me come up with a plan to address all my issues. A plan is a VERY good thing. Keeps us focused and on task.

I'm not sure if this will be very helpful for you, but please know I understand what you are going through and I hope you can get some answers soon. I really do.


Old 05-18-2005, 01:11 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 56
mritta HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

Thank you so much for responding to my message. She did the CBC last Tuesday (today is wednesday- one week + one day), and I still have not heard back from them. I even called last night and left a message on the nurse line to tell them I was having reoccuring pain in my armpit (possibly due to other swollen nodes), so that she could factor that in, before calling me with her thoughts.

She said it could be anything, but that the CBC could give a better idea if it was some sort of infection. She did not put me on any antibiotics. I am trying very hard not to call them again to see if the results are in. She really thinks my anxiety is getting the best of me, and I am just overaware of every little ache and pain. Which, could be a possibility, but the only way I am going to get passed that is if she truly examines the possible reasons why I feel these symptoms. If I continue to feel like she is not taking my concerns serviously, I will likely see another GP for another opinion.

I had a feeling the swollen node had nothing to do with the dysplasia. Other people on other boards have posted the same comment. I just hope whatever is causing this node can be found soon, so that it can be treated, so my body can focus on fixing these abnormal cells. I have a VERY long list of questions/concerns for my gyn, but I cannot go back for my next pap until July.

I am trying SO hard to occupy my time with things to take my mind off of all of this, but it is always there. I would like to see a counselor about this. I am just waiting for my referal to come in from my GP. Hopefully it will be here soon.

Thank you so much for your response. I know i sound a bit nutty at the moment, but I just feel so lost with all of this, and am praying for the best. It is so nice to hear a response as comforting as yours. Thank you so much!

Old 05-18-2005, 01:37 PM   #4
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karen32 HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

mritta - believe it or not - you don't sound nutty! I can totally relate to where your head space is - I am struggling myself with results and confusion, and some days it still gets the best of me. as I mentioned in my previous post, I find it easier to deal with if I make a plan, something to focus on and keep my mind from getting all chaotic. My plan right now is to fight back and not let my fear and stress get the better of me. (this after a crazy, tear filled morning that was very counter-productive!) I will write down my plans and follow them. As long as I follow the plan, then at least I am knowing all I can do has been done.

The swollen glands/node thing is such a tough one. I remember having a gland in my neck swell up so big a few years ago - I think it was in relation to my first ever cold sore that graced my lower lip It was uncomfortable and very disconcerting. Antibiotics helped though. I also regularly get what is called folliculitis in my armpit area. Small, hard, painful lumps that are generally considered to be a result from infection. They come if I wear shirts with sleeves that are too tight to my armpits and anything polyester!

I know all about waiting for paps, I'm sorry you won't have yours until July, but it will come up quickly as long as you keep busy. I just found out I have to wait until October - although it was my own investigation into reports and what have you that I found out as my doc's office told me there were no recommendations for follow up. Turns out there were. who knows how it got missed!?! Anyway, I hope your follow up will come back giving you some peace of mind and some direction that you can move in. I imagine it would be very frustrating to have repeated mild abnormal results, so you don't know whether you should leave it or do something about it. I hope the next one comes back all clear for you!

anyway, just wanted to let you know you are NOT crazy, you're concerned enough about your body to make sure you get well taken care of. Hopefully your bloodwork will come back giving you answers as well.

Take it easy!


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Old 07-26-2005, 09:27 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 6
AdrianStella HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

Wow. This touched me.

I have been having the same problem and it has been bothering me so bad.

I had LEEP three years ago, and I just had cryo for abnormal cells Friday. I have had a sore throat and right side lymph node pain for two months now. I went to the doctor three times, was on antibiotics three times. I finally told my gynocologist and he told me it was a tonsil infection and gave me antibiotics two weeks ago... and guess what? This morning, I wake up with a swollen node and a sore throat!!! I have also had rectal bleeding twice, severe lower back.. (kidney area) pain. I was given a CT scan and nothing showed up.

I don't know what is going on.

I am very depressed and I feel like a hypochondriac everytime I go to the doctor, but what the heck is going on? It seems to much at once to be merely a coincidence, but when I told my gynecologist about the bleeding, back pain, throat pain, swelling... he says I need fiber and have a sore tonsil. Why does it keep coming back?

Wow, if anyone else can contribut personal experience or advice I would appreciate it.

I keep telling myself, surely that CT scan would have seen a problem... right?

I just wanted to add that I have also been tested for other STD's including HIV, and everything has come back negative, and I am married so, I don't have other partners.

In fact, I asked the doctor to check for STD's after this whole swollen gland, sore throat issue... I never thought my husband was unfaithful, but you know... it just makes you a little paranoid when you can't figure out what the problem is.

Last edited by AdrianStella; 07-26-2005 at 10:07 PM.

Old 08-01-2005, 04:35 PM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
neats20 HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

HEY, don't worry!!! I just had an abnormal PAP and they scheduled me for a colpo, too. In the end, I didn't have to have it (long story- doctors messed up), but my PAP results were definitely still abnormal. I also have a swollen lymph node in my neck. It's pretty big, too- about 2 cm, and it's been there for months. As far as i know, there is no connection between the two. You will have to have the lymph node monitored (they'll probably do a needle biopsy on it), but don't worry! It;s MUCH more likely that the two things are completely unrelated. Remember... swollen lymph nodes are INCREDIBLY common. Any kind of infection can make them pop up, and sometimes they just stay there and build up scar tissue. In your case- were you sick at the time when the lymph node appeared? Mine appeared when I was sick with a cold, and it just never went down. Like I said... I doubt the two are related. But hey... I know how you're feeling. I've been to so many doctors for these two issues (the PAP and the lymph node) over the past couple of months, and I'm perfectly healthy. I get paranoid over every little health-related symptom I have. Gotta love these doctors... :P

Old 08-01-2005, 04:36 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
neats20 HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

P.S. I don't recall reading ANYWHERE that there's a connection between HPV/cervical dysplasia and swollen lymph nodes.

Old 08-23-2005, 11:36 PM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1
JasonWDC HB User
Re: Possible cause for swollen lymph node

I can completely identify too. I too have HPV and have been treated for it (genital area) but also went through a period of time of sore (but not swollen) lymph nodes. The lymphadenopathy (fancy word for abnormal lymph nodes) progressed from my neck lymph nodes and then eventually to my armpits, a little in my abdomen and finlaly my inguinal area. Then it was done. It took several months (like 4, maybe?) for the whole thing to occur and finally go away. I still occasionally get a swollen lymph gland in my neck or armpit but it only lasts a few days. My doc tried antibiotics and that did nothings, as I suspecred it is some virus. I even saw an infectious disease doctor and she ran a whole bunch of tests, common and unusual ones and they found nothing. I'm completely clean (except for the HPV) so she summed it up to some ordinary virus that is of no consequence (yeah, that didn't ease my anxiety though!).

I also had a problem with my right tonsil. I saw an ENT and he biopsied it. It came back as "marked reactive hyperplasia of lymphoid tissue" meaning it's some tissue from a lyph gland (the tonsil is a lymph node) that was reacting to some foreign substance. Of course, we never knew what the foreign substance was (like bacteria, virus, etc.) but after a week or so of some pain from the biopsy, that was that and no more problems. Until the last 3-4 weeks it looks like something is growing out of my right tonsil again. I'm not sure what it is, it looks like a fleshy rounded growth about 1-2 cm in diam. I"ve got an appt with the ENT to look at it and I'll prob want him to cut it out just to be safe. Who knwos what it is (again)...

I guess my point is this: I know how you feel. you are not alone. It is one thing to worry abotu HPV when you are asymptomatic. It is another thing when you continue to have symptoms. Of course, with all the unknowns, you make the leap that if it hasn't been ruled out, then it MUST be related. And since there is a remote possibility that it coudl lead to cancer, then whatever this symptom is, it MUST be the sign that you now have whatever the worst possible thing could be (like cancer). We all think "worst case scenario" as a just-in-case type of mentality. I've still had difficulty with this. I was first diagnosed with HPV about 18 months ago and underwent two surgeries to remove genital growths. And now, I'm still worred but only because I still have symptoms (that, I must add, may or may not be related). It is frustrating!

The trick has been for me to enjoy the times when I'm healthy, when I have no symptoms. And, to see a doctor when I do have symptoms. I have taken comfort in the fact that I see my doctors MORE often than they recommend and if cancer is caught early, it is usually curable. Thus, as vigilant (read: "worry-wart", no pun) as I am, I know that my doctors are looking out for me, make rational determinations when I can't, and I try to not let the worrying get the best of me. Some days are better than others, but overall, I"m good. I can still walk, talk, think, and earn a living. It could be worse!

Take care... Jason

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