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Have sickle cell anemia, lower foot and ankle ulcers, swollen and painful groin lymph nodes. Complication?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
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Hi! I am 32 year old female with Sickle Cell Anemia. I have lower foot and ankle ulcers that have been infected over a period of time. Lately I have noticed that my groin lymph nodes on both sides are constantly swollen and painful to the touch. They tend swell up very large....then gets smaller but there is ALWAYS a section that is hot swollen and painful to the touch. I am now Extremely concerned...although I was told this is a complication duel to my SCD. Is this true? Should I seek more medical opinions?
Posted Tue, 17 Apr 2012 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 43 minutes later


Thank you for the query.

I would like to know few more things which would help me in suggesting you better:

1.) Do you have Fever or bodyache?
2.) Do you have any Vision Problem?
3.) Are your Hands and legs swollen?

Sickle Cell Disease can lower immunity and your ability to fight infection. And hence you can be more prone to infections. Since you have had skin ulcers over your feet and ankles, they might be infected. As a result the Lymph nodes which are draining this affected area can get enlarged secondary to infection.

You would need medical intervention at the earliest. Kindly get yourself examined by your doctor so that he/she may examine you and confirm lymphadenopathy by doing tests like,

1.) Blood work.
2.) Lymph node biopsy.

Once confirmed, you will be treated accordingly with
1.) Antibiotics.
2.) Analgesics.
3.) Immunizations to prevent infections.
4.) Regular ulcer dressing.

In addition, follow these lifestyle modifications:
1.) Eat healthy nutritious balanced diet which should include fresh fruits and XXXXXXX leafy vegetables.
2.) Drink plenty of fluids.
3.) Avoid extremes of temperature.
4.) Avoid stress, practice relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation.
5.) Take folic acid supplements daily after discussing it with your Doctor.
6.) Avoid Alcohol and smoking, if you do.
7.) Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
8.) Stick to your treatment plan and go for regular follow up.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wish you Good Health.

Dr. Mohammed Tauseef.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have sickle cell anemia, lower foot and ankle ulcers, swollen and painful groin lymph nodes. Complication? 8 hours later
Hi! Thank you for providing a name to a problem others were ignorning and blaming on my SCD! I was just taken off of IV antibotics for an infection caused by the ulcers. I am near sighted and my vision occasionaly gets blurry. I have had a fever and body aches BEFORE the IV therapy. What are the signs of lymphadenopathy? I want to write down all my symptoms that are connected to this problem! Will having mercer be a cause or concern with this problem? I'm not sure what mercer is but I have had several infections caused by mercer. Is mercer something I should be more concerned about? I know very little about mercer only to constantly get infections from this complication! Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 10 hours later

Thank you for writing back to me.

The signs of lymphadenopathy include,

1.) Fever.
2.) Lassitude.
3.) Pain.
4.) Tenderness.
5.) Night sweats.

SCD (Sickle cell disease) may be one of the causes for blurring of vision, but since you have a myopia, get an opinion from a Ophthalmologist.

I am sorry to tell you that I don't have an idea about Mercer, is it a Medicine you are talking about? Only if you could get back to me with details about Mercer, I would be able to explain it to you in a better way.

Good Luck.

Dr. Mohammed Tauseef.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have sickle cell anemia, lower foot and ankle ulcers, swollen and painful groin lymph nodes. Complication? 16 hours later
Mercer is something that I got while in the hospital. I was not sure why I was tested for Mercer but I was given a nasal swab and the results were I had mercer. I'm not sure the spelling is correct. I know that mercer is something that lives on the skin and doctors have told me most hospital workers would test positive for it if they took a mercer test. Everytime I go into the hospital they put me in isolation and all hospital personal are wearing gloves, masks, and protective gowns over their clothes. I was not given lots of information on fact none ata I've tried to gain knowledge from the internet. It has not been easy to see how mercer impacts SCD because there is little to no information out there. I cannot really say what mercer is or how it would impact sickle cell. It can be treated with vancomycin the antibotic because I am placed on it immediately. Any information would be great especially how it impacts scd or lymphadenopathy or if it can cause lymphadenopathy because of all the infections it can cause!
Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Mohammed Tauseef 8 hours later

Thank you for providing such valuable information.

You are talking about "MRSA" which stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in which the microorganism Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to antibiotic Methicillin. It is not "Mercer" as you have been talking about.

Most MRSA infections occur in people who have been in hospitals or other health care settings; hence it is called Nosocomial infection. I presume you have been in and out of the hospitals for quite a long time during which you have acquired the infection since your immunity is lowered by SCD.

It does have a impact on lymphadenopathy and not SCD. The affected lymph nodes should be removed and sent for further laboratory analysis to rule out MRSA associated Lymphadenopathy.

Hope this Information would be of help to you. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Good Luck and Wish you Good Health.

Take Care.

Dr. Mohammed Tauseef.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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