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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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What do swollen lymph nodes with clogging of the left ear indicate?

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2850 Questions

Posted on Tue, 5 Jun 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have swollen lymph node behind and below my left ear. Also on the left side of my neck. My left ear feels clogged and the side of my left cheek feels numb.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 45 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I am glad you are going in to be seen in person tomorrow because an enlarged lymph node should be checked in person.

Any time there is increased drainage or inflammation in an area, the nearby or regional lymph node can get enlarged as it tries to address the problem.

It may be that there is an upper respiratory infection that is causing drainage down your throat from your sinuses, making your ear feel clogged (from eustachian tube dysfunction) and causing your lymph node to be swollen.

However, it may be that there is something going on that is pressing on the nerve on the left side of your face causing the numb feeling, and again, the swollen lymph node.

Treatment will depend partly on what your ear drum looks like (and how well it moves - the doctor may use a gentle air puff to see if the ear drum moves - if it does not move well there may be fluid (not necessarily infected) behind the ear drum from an infection (not necessarily an ear infection!) and may recommend a nasal steroid or decongestant), or antihistamine.

It will also depend on what the lymph node feels like and an exam of other lymph nodes. If the doctor wants to know more about the lymph node and doesn't think it is swollen due to upper respiratory drainage or ear infection, then the doctor may have imaging studies done or a needle biopsy.

So the thing to do is to go in so that your doctor can have a look. Make sure you are seeing a physician (doctor) and not a PA or NP as they do not have as much education.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information or clarification.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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