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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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I have had swelling below my left ear and next to my jaw line

Resolved Question:

I have had swelling below my left ear and next to my jaw line which is now painful to the touch and when i bite down. I do not have any problems with my teeth, i have no cuts on my head and my ear feels fine as does my throat.....what can cause this (had for two days) and how do i reduce the swelling????? thank you
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

Is the swelling right behind the jaw line?
What is the size of the swelling?
Do you take any medications?
Have any chronic health problems?
Is it worse after eating?
Fever? Weight loss? Night sweats?

Dr Abby

Edited by Dr. Abby on 11/7/2010 at 9:46 PM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
it has started out beneath the ear and behind the jawline but now it is bigger and is along side the ear and behind the jawline to below my ear.....i take no medications, do not have any chronic health problems, i have no fever, it does not seem to be worse after eating....i have no weight loss and have no night sweats....thank you for your help
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for clarifying,

The area you are describing does sound like a lymph node enlargement and not a salivary gland (the parotid--which is located in front of the ear and along the jaw line).

The lymph node chain is likely the jugular chain. When lymph nodes enlarge suddenly, this is usually in response to an inflammatory process occuring in the area they are responsible for draining. The jugular nodes drain the ear, tonsil, tongue and the parotid gland mainly.

Even though you may not be aware of anything going on in these areas, there may be a small irritation or infection that your doctor should evaluate you for.

You have no warning signs that suggest that this lymph node is serious--no fever, weight loss or night sweats. This is good.

At this time, I would take ibuprofen (as long as you can use this) and apply a warm compress to the area. Benadryl will not help as there is no underlying allergic process going on as far as you have described.

Rarely, lymph nodes themselves can become infected--your doctor may elect to put you on antibiotics after examining you tomorrow.

Other things that can cause an enlarged lymph node include autoimmune processes, viral infections, medications, TB and cancers (usually slow, non-painful enlargements).

So, to summarize, try ibuprofen and warm compresses tonight. Your doctor will need to check you out tomorrow to further evaluate the cause of the enlargement.

Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have,

Dr Abby

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