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Recurring swollen glands
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Recurring swollen glands

Hi, I'm 19 years old (female - non smoker/drinker, fit) and for the past month and a half I have had unexplained swollen glands.  

They will come up where my jaw and ear meet about once or twice a week, last for a day or two and then go back down and are always in the same place.  The one under the left ear is tiny, mobile and painless, but the one on the right is fixed, painful and about 3cm in length and can be visibly seen.  I sometimes wake up with them, or notice they're swollen by accident.  I have no symptoms of a cold and have had two blood tests for an infection that came up fine, with only slightly elevated liver enzymes that the doctor wasn't worried about.  I do not feel sick at all - can they just be swelling for no reason?
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8 Comments
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1268057_tn?1399131913
How long has this been going on?  No other medical problems?  
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This has been taking place since about the first of March.  At this time I had two weeks with an unexplained illness.  I had a very slight fever, with the glands up under my ears (same places) and also under my arms, was having difficulty seeing straight/standing for more than a few minutes and had a resting BP of between 100 and 120ish and chest pains.  This was the point I had the blood tests and also a few ECGs but everything came up normal (apart from tach).

These symptoms have otherwise been absent (aside from a slightly offbalance feeling/occasional chest pain) for the past five weeks.  The glands keep coming up when I feel perfectly fine, and when the swelling goes down the one under my right ear can still be felt.
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1268057_tn?1399131913
The big concern is the nodes swelling up and down; the situation is not resolving.  I would consult an ID(Infectious Disease) specialist for a more specific workup.  Sounds like your family physician is not really doing a whole lot.  

No medication for this at all?  No other symptoms?
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144586_tn?1284669764
The glands have many purposes. One of these is to act as a sort of filtration system for infectious organisms. When glands are swollen, as they are in your case, a physician tends to think about an infectious process. The buggies tend to collect in the glands on holiday.

The low blood pressure and generalized weakness suggest a systemic infection, which often causes vasodilation of the blood vessels increasing body capacitance.

Basically, when you are sick, the blood vessels widen and therefore there is less blood to fill the vessel.

Usually these situations are self-limiting.

As Londres suggested, your physician doesn't seem to be paying a lot of attention to you.

It's hard to be a "pain in the neck" when dealing with a doctor, but it is also true the "squeaky wheel gets the grease".

An infectious disease specialist would be an appropriate referral.
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To Londres70, no I have not been given any medications.  I have been experiencing a tight throat since the beginning of the illness but I am unsure whether this may be to do with anxiety.  Otherwise, no other symptoms.

To both commenters, thank you.  I am planning on changing Doctors, but am waiting for the glands to go back up again before going in and I will try to be more insistant this time.  Though it if is an infection should this not have shown up with an increased white blood cell count in my blood tests?
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1268057_tn?1399131913
I am not sure what labs you had done.  The white count is a total, but there is also a breakdown of the types of white blood cells that are also important to know too.  Yes, usually the total white count is elevated  So, in your case I would be looking at other labs as well related to the immune system.   Plus, an Infectious Disease specialist will be better at this than this family physician who is doing very little to find out what is wrong with you.  

Secondly, good luck with trying to see the physician at the same time your nodes are swollen.  I would just go to an Infectious Disease ASAP whether the nodes or swollen or not at that point and tell him/her your complaints/symptoms.  

Keep us posted.
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To update,
I saw a new doctor last week in regards to the swollen glands.  She took my sitting and standing bp and noted they were a little high (and got higher when standing) so asked me to check back in a week and retake the blood pressure.  Last weeks:  140/90 sitting, 150/80 standing (and heart rate about 105).  Today's: 147/90 sitting, 162/101 standing.  

I have been having frequent dizzy spells for the past week in particular and sitting doesn't help.  Additionally, though I have been getting a few hours extra sleep a night I find myself exhausted sometimes as little as a few hours after getting up and have noticed extra sensitivity to any temperature change.

Glands have been up for pretty much the entire week now - not hurting.  I have made another appointment with the doctor in a few days.
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1268057_tn?1399131913
At least someone is trying to investigate what is going on with you.

Keep us posted.
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