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Enlarged area on left side of neck
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Enlarged area on left side of neck

This is probably nothing, but my mind needs to be at ease, so if anyone can answer, please do. I don't know if it's glands, lymph nodes, or muscles, but there is an area on the left side of my neck that is noticably larger than the corresponding area on my right side. It's on the side of my neck, about halfway between the ear and collarbone. I thought initially that it was just an enlarged gland, and it may have been there all along, but I don't know because I don't check myself every day for stuff like this. If it is larger on one side of my neck than the other, is this a bad thing? I have read that if cancer spreads to glands or lymph nodes, then the enlarged gland or lymph node will be painless, and I don't feel any pain...so I am very worried. I am making an appointment with my doctor but it probably won't be until next week, so if someone could help me out I won't be driving myself nuts until then. Thanks.
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Forgot to mention that I did have a cold that I am just getting over, as I know some kind of infection is a common cause of enlarged glands (if what is on my neck IS in fact enlarged glands).
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As I said, viral infections often cause swollen lymph nodes.  Please discuss this further with your provider since I can't tell without feeling your nodes to see if they're enlarged.

Enoch Choi, MD
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I've got a question concerning the tonsils also. I've checked through a lot of the archives, and I couldn't find these symptons specifically, so I hope this is not redundant.

Right now, the back of my mouth, under my tongue, my (what I'm guessing are) lymph nodes (just under the jaw) are all swollen. All of this came about very quickly, about two days ago. Before that, I was perfectly fine, and I've never had any of these tonsil/swollen neck issues before. It's very painful to swallow, and sometimes a little hard to breathe. I'm having a hard time talking normally.

The lymph node under the jaw has ballooned fairly quickly and is extremely painful. I'm wondering if there is a possibility it will get even bigger? It feels fluid-y, not rock hard or anything. The size is quite noticeable visually. Very large difference from two days ago. I don't know if I have a fever, I don't have any thermometers around. I have been extremely tired, but haven't been able to get a full nights sleep since this onset.

I'm 24, my wisdom teeth are impacted and horizontal (I read somewhere on this board that possible teeth issues can affect the nodes just below, so that could be a culprit?). I've got hypothyroidism also, but I have not been on that medication for a long while now. I don't believe it to be a goiter because of the placement/symptoms.

I don't have much money now for a doctor's visit (no insurance), so I guess I'm in search of just how severe this might be. And if it's a storm that can be weathered without expensive medical help.
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Swollen lymph nodes can be extremely painful.  Very large increases over the course of few days is very concerning.  

Swollen lymph nodes do not cause difficulty swallowing and never cause difficulty breathing.  These symptoms can represent medical emergencies where some sort of swelling is blocking the airway.  Calling 911 is prudent with these symptoms.

Seeking care at a local county hospital allows those without insurance to get care with a sliding scale or according to your ability to pay.  These public health institutions are supported by our local taxes and are required to provide emergency care, to stabilize a patient with life threatening illness, with hospitalization if necessary.

Difficulty swallowing, and especially difficulty breathing are emergencies and require prompt evaluation.  Immediate examination by a physician is necessary.

Enoch Choi, MD
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