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Can anxiety/stress cause swelling lymphnodes?
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Can anxiety/stress cause swelling lymphnodes?

I really believe my anxiety is caused by a lymph node that swells about once a month. My Dr. assured me there was nothing wrong with me, and it didnt seem to be swollen to him.

On the other hand I can feel it... maybe as a person with anxiety, I think about it too much and play with it alot?

But its weird. My anxiety will come on for about a week or so.... then subside... and I'm good for an entire month! Then the anxiety will come back again!!!

And it seems like everytime it comes back, my lymphnode is a little swollen feeling and or a little soar... its on my left side of my neck near the clavical... also near the main artery.

When my heart is racing, It feels like my lymphnode is pulsating too... its weird.. and it sends me in anxiety/shock mode like i have cancer.

but, my question again is, can stress/anxiety make your lymph nodes swell?

Thanks.
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I've never heard of that exactly but once when I was having a bad time every muscle in my body felt like it was knotted up because I was so tense.  They were very hard to the touch especially in my shoulders.  It was awful.  I guess anything is possible.
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358304_tn?1395085884
yeah, i think it can happen, b/c stress/anxiety does different things to your body.
b/c the lymph system cleans out infections etc. and i think stress can cause them to go whack too? i dunno. itd be nice to hear from someone who experiences this.

=chris=
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Avatar_f_tn
I am sorry you are going through this :o(  Do you take meds,?
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358304_tn?1395085884
i was on meds for a while... didnt seem to work for me... i found peace in getting off of them, havnt been on them for a month now... and the anxiety just came back a few days ago.. but its getting better... its like im building an immune to it? i think i get stronger every time i get an anxiety spell... its wierd... could just be a time of life im going through.

read my journal if you will... you'll learn all about me. =)

thanks for listening..
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Avatar_f_tn
I really liked your stories.  It takes alot of guts to put yourself out there like that.  I too took myself off of Lexapro, Xanax and Klonopin.  Now I am drug free and it feels sooo good :o)  
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358304_tn?1395085884
me too!!! but... the anxiety came back a few days ago... like i said its not as bad... but it seems to come once a month... and i have anxiety symptoms for like a week... no appetite, bad butterflies in my stomach, cant stay still... but then it subsides and goes away... then ill be good for a month.. then BAM... anxiety again..

i wonder if ive just got my mind set that every month ill get this anxiety??

is it possible? im going to see a therapist... b/c im not taking meds again.
he thinks ive just been through a lot so fast in my life the past few years... and cognitive therapy will help and prevent me from having this again.. hope hes right. =)
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432009_tn?1304753441
I think that you are on the right path with a therapist. In my case, my psychiatrist never even suggested that I try weaning off xanax after my anxiety symptoms were under control. (taking it since April 07). I told him that I wanted off - tired of living by the clock to make sure I didn't miss a dose, because when you do, you actually start to go into withdrawal. (awful)
Hang in there - ride it out. I have noticed a swollen lymph node in my throat, too, on one side only. Perhaps there is a relationship as the drugs do cause many side effects all over our bodies. Remember, it takes a long time to get the body chemistry re-stabilized.
Stick with the therapist - hopefully, yours is  well trained...
I am now in my 4th month of weaning down xanax and I am taking it slowly, allowing my body to adjust and let my neurotransmitters working on their own again. I'm also going to add fish oil and magnesium into my diet - it seems that these help, too. Also, make sure you're taking folic acid, too. Very important!!
I hope that you continue to stay strong...
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165308_tn?1323190145
I am pretty certain that a lymph node would not swell because of anxiety.  I was going to ask if it was around "that time of the month", but then I looked at your profile and saw that you are a man!  I wonder, though, if men have "cycles" too.  I have nodes that swell and worsen anxiety at the "female" time of the month...I wonder if a man's cycle is that far fetched!
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Avatar_f_tn
Another thing to note is most people that are not medically trained are not capable of determining whether a lymph node is actually swollen in the first place- some nodes will vary slightly in size so what "feels" bigger could very easily be withing the normal size variance.  That being said, by continually touching/probing/palpitation of the node that can actually cause it to inflame (and it that point it may be very noticeable even to someone untrained).  So!  It is possible that when you initially feel the node it is not actually swollen (or slightly bigger than over nodes which is common).
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Avatar_f_tn
I just reread your post (I actually read it yesterday but didnt respond until today).  The fact your doctor does not notice any swelling and you do is very, very telling - he is trained, you are not!  Even though it may appear bigger to you (than say, 2 weeks earlier) it is still not considered swollen by a trained professional!

"maybe as a person with anxiety, I think about it too much and play with it alot? "

Yes, yes, yes!
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Avatar_m_tn
Never underestimate the power of the human brain. Just as the placebo effect is real, so is the ability for the brain to send signals and secrete endorphins and adrenaline (dopamine).  I am not a physician but I am convinced that anxiety can easily cause biologic reactions, most especially in the lymphs where you are directing your attention inadvertently. You are concerned about your health so your brain checks in with your lymphs. Again and again and again.. this system check will cause overactivity and therefore swelling.  Then, once you feel the ache you then get more anxious and begin what is called a "positive feedback loop" (most people make the mistake of calling this a negative feedback loop because the symptoms are not good).  
My advice is to stop trolling for information on what it is you are experiencing and look inward. Perhaps psychoanalysis, meditation, visit a nutritionist, yoga, breathing techniques...
Think positively and love yourself. Talk to yourself in positive ways. You are ok and you are a good person. Believe it and know it.
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Avatar_f_tn
i had swollen lymph nodes in the back of my head a few years ago along with very weird uncomfortable sensations, i went to the doctor and she said i had some kind of infection, but didn't know what kind exactly.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had the exact same symptoms for 10 months.  It gave me a fright at first and I thought the worse and the doctor said that it was probably a virus which I knew wasn't right as I felt ok otherwise except I did have complete exhaustion leading up to it.

It has occured about every 6-7 weeks since my first attack.  I have put it down to stress as I can relate to stressful situations at work prior to the attack as then my neck (jugular lymph node) gets sore and then painful to touch, I am extremely tired and sleep alot while this is all happening which makes it recover quicker (if I get the extra sleep). Ibubrophen helps when it's at its worst.

My husband reckons it's all in my mind!  It hangs around for a couple of weeks.

We are short staffed at work and alot is put on us but I'm worried now since this has started, it doesn't take much for it to happen when I get a couple of stressful days.  So annoying and painful!  I am a very sensitive person - allergies/eczema/cold sores on face - my body has weird outbreaks when I get stressed and now this is a new one :(
I also get really sensitive on the same side of my jaw/skin of my face.
I carry tension in my neck badly.

So, yes, I highly believe that this problem can be from stress.
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Avatar_f_tn
Every time I get stressed out my left one gets swollen also. I really think somehow it gets it to be swollen. It doesn't feel to good either.
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Avatar_f_tn
Every time I get stressed out my left one gets swollen also. I really think somehow it gets it to be swollen. It doesn't feel to good either.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm overwhelmed right now and for the first time feel like I'm not alone and I'm not crazy. To be honest I really hope it is just anxiety. I had my first symptoms during the best month of my life since the past 8 years. This is what give me the most anxiety. Back in July, I was off of work, family that was staying with us had left earlier in the month, I was managing everything just fine and life was good- my husband and I were going on our first vacation in 8 years- and it struck suddenly. Felt like a normal sick feeling, but for the first time my entire lymphatic system swelled, first in the next, then around to every node. Looked in up and saw it shouldn't be anything, so despite sleeping for about 3 days, and having no appetite, we went anyway and I bounced back. No anxiety. I went several hundred miles away- I really wasn't worried. Then I had another strange system that I think sent me in a type of PTSD. In September, now back at work- I was at word from 7 till 10 pm with only a couple of bites to eat. Dull headache set in and suddenly tunnel vision, nausea, almost past out. I was taken to the hospital where they said it was a migraine and dehydration. They were giving me a "migraine cocktail" which included benadryl. Being a medication/alcohol virgin I told the nurse push the medicine slow, whereas she responded it was already done. I felt the benadryl rush over me- first in the head, then down to my feet. I seriously believed I was dying. Felt like I stopped breathing, heart was struggling, I no longer felt the bed beneath me. They said I was fine. It took several hours to have a physician to see me and she said a very rare reaction to benedryl is hallucinations. I've take a benadryl before and I sleep- this was not sleep. She said it was an equivalent to 200 pills! I think the rest of my since has been a nightmare. I consciously know I didn't die. I know it must have been a panic attack from the experience. But every month now, my lymph nodes swell, I can't eat, I feel sick, sensitive to cold, tongue feels swollen, skin feels numb and swollen, fatigued, dizzy spells, strange heart beats, gastrointestinal issues- I feel like one day I won't make it and I will die. I've gone to the hospital and have had several tests all to turn out negative. I can only assume its anxiety about my "not really" near death experience- but the real fear is all of these symptoms can be chalked up to anxiety except the lymph nodes. My greatest fear is that there is really something wrong since July- when that symptom first appeared and I wasn't afraid...

Thank you for your post- you've given me some hope that it is just anxiety. Every month- I am right there with you. If it is anxiety I can handle that attack monthly and it wouldn't cause me so much more anxiety. It's the fact that I'm afraid its something more and its going to kill me one of these days that makes me feel like I'm losing my mind... Thanks again.
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480448_tn?1397235344
Hello, and welcome!

It may be better to start your own thread.  This one is pretty old, and if
you're looking for some input or support, your post may get passed up, as a lot of people bypass the older threads.

Just a suggestion, I want to be sure you are getting what you need from the forum,.  

Also, I wanted to let you know about our journal feature on this site.  It's really nice.  Something like you posted above would make a great journal entry, as you're really kind of just "venting" and sharing your story, rather than asking a question.  If you decide to use the journal feature, you can set it to be "public" where other members can see it and offer comments (which I personally really like), or you can set it as "private", where it's for your eyes only.

Please let us know if there's anything we can help you with!
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Avatar_f_tn
You have relieved me, I thought I was dying because I am presenting similar symptoms: cant eat, swollen lymph nodes in my clavicle, insomnia, cant breath well, butterflies in my stomach all the time, strange cardiac rhythm, damage in my intestines that my abdomen hurts when touched, cold moisture in my skin. Everything came from the fear that my thyroid nodules are malignant and are spreading out and having no health insurance.
Thank you very much
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