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    What causes swollen lymph gland behing ear?

Posted on Fri, 26 Dec 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Hi when do drs become concerned about lymph glands? I have a node behind my right ear about pea size and its been there around 18months sometimes bigger in morning. as i have said to previous drs i get pain within seconds of drinking alcohol it starts in my shoulder then radiates down my arm. Then goes after a few minutes drs dont take me seriously because of my age and i have anxiety but im being serious and generally concerned about this. Im scared i have lymphoma
Answered by Dr. T Chandrakant 44 minutes later
Brief Answer:
ENT or general physician consultation for examination of the lump.

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for your query, very direct and elucidate and specific.

The Doctors become concerned about the lymph glands / nodes in following situations:
-When they are enlarged and palpable.
-Sudden increase in size / pain / numbers.
-When the patient is curious / anxious and has Cancer phobia.

I would suggest you the following for your a pea-sized swelling behind your ear for the last 18 months ( a long period for a gland to remain of same size), which becomes bigger sometimes in the morning.
-First of all get a consultation of a General or ENT Surgeon as they are trained and well versed with such nodes.
-Clinical examination by Him / Her will tell us whether this is a lymph node or a sebaceous cyst so something else.
-Ultrasonography to confirm what it is.
-Get an FNAC- Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology done to get proper diagnosis as to why has it enlarged. Just a Hyperplasia due to infection in the drainage area ( Ear and Scalp) or some specific reason like tuberculosis or lymphoma as you have suspicion about.
-If FNAC is not conclusive a small surgery can remove the mass and send it for histo-pathology examination to get an accurate diagnosis. This is beneficial for 2 reasons: 1. you get rid of the disease and 2. you get a 'confirmed ' diagnosis about the nature of the mass.

Your Second problem:
Pain in shoulder radiating down the arms within seconds of drinking alcohol which goes after few minutes: In my opinion:
There is something in the wine / alcohol that is not suitable for your upper GI tract that is Pharynx / Esophagus / Stomach. The local reaction caused by it is referred to the shoulder and the arm. This causes you pain, and the moment the triggering factor is gone you get a relief. There is an intricate inter-nervous connections that act upon this way.

For this I would suggest you the following:
-Get an upper GI Endoscopy done just to make sure that there is no local problem in the area explained. If present, get it treated.
-Another option is to get a barium study under fluoroscopy control to see if there is any spastic disorder of the said area. This was done in past days, and may be difficult to get a center doing this. The Fluoroscopy shows a live movement of the pharynx, esophagus and stomach.
-Obviously you have to try another brands of wine and alcohol.
-If none of the brands suit you, you have to stop taking them.

Please discuss these points with your Doctor, you can take a second opinion of another Doctor.

I hope this answer helps you to get through all the problems you have, please feel free to ask for more if you need to.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Ashwin Bhandari
Answered by
Dr. T Chandrakant

General Surgeon

Practicing since :1984

Answered : 18095 Questions


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