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Miscarriage, head and neck pain, lymph gland tender, tonsilitis. Done CBC, thyroid tests. Why do the glands hurt?

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Hello, I am 32 year old woman, 165cm tall and 80kgs in weight. Until recently in generally good health and reasonably fit.

In February I had a miscarriage, and since then have had various problems with head and neck pains and lymph gland tenderness all over my body.

The glands tend to hurt intermittently, most days, but then seem to stop hurting when I forget about it. The main problem is a small lump right underneath/slightly behind my left ear lobe, which is quite hard and about 3mm in size. It is painful intermittently and sends sharp, shooting pains into my neck. Sometimes it seems to be muscular but I cannot be entirely sure. The left side of my neck also hurts, and there is an intermittent pain right down to just below my left collar bone. I do not seem to have shortness of breath and can still run a few miles. (I had a foot operation in December so haven't been running much, but am now able to run again).

My doctors have performed a CBC, a thyroid function test, a protein test, and I have seen an ENT consultant due to enlargement of my left tonsil, which has now subsided almost completely. He ruled out the possibility of cancer in the tonsil itself.

Can you help please?
Posted Mon, 18 Jun 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 31 minutes later

Thank you for your query.

1. There are many lasting hormone induced changes during pregnancy as the body prepares for the fetus. This unfortunately was aborted in your case. The generalized lymph node swelling may be related to this.

2. The small lump is most likely be the Jugulo Digastric (JD) lymph node which drains the tonsil (as you have a history of tonsillitis on the same side). Get a USG Neck to rule out a parotid salivary gland lump which would appear right underneath/slightly behind the ear lobe. The Ultrasound will also help determine whether its a lymph node. Since the parotid fascia (covering) is thick, any lymph node or gland swelling will be hard and painful. The Ultrasound will also pick up the exact size. Sub-centimeter nodes are not considered significant. Do you have any allergy or acid reflux?

3. Some of the symptoms (sharp shooting pains) that you are describing seem to be related to Trigeminal Neuralgia. Get a Neurologist's opinion.

4. In a vast majority of patients of neuralgias, the cause is never found. However there are further treatment options. The pain killers for neuragias are different from normal painkillers and include amitriptyline, carbamazepine and gabapentin. These should strictly be taken only under medical supervision.

5. Kindly let me know the results of your investigations. This will help in suggesting further treatment.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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