Swollen Lymph Node Behind The Ear: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Swollen lymph nodes occur because of an infection; it is known as lymphadenitis. The lymph glands have a pivotal role to play in the body’s capacity to battle bacteria, viruses and other disease producing pathogens. In most cases, warm compresses is all that is required to manage swollen lymph nodes. The treatment regimen depends upon the cause.

The lymphatic system consists of a complex of vessels, organs and lymph nodes throughout the body. Swollen lymph nodes mean that there’s something wrong at some place in your body.

Symptoms Of Swollen Lymph Node Behind Ear

The lymph nodes swell and enlarge, they may be painful and tender. Lymph nodes that have inflamed may be as big as a pea or a kidney bean, or they could get larger.

Depending upon the cause, other manifestations may occur as well:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat, runny nose, and fever in case of an upper respiratory infection.
  • HIV or mononucleosis, or an immune system malfunction, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
  • Swollen hand / palm, probably an indication of lymph system blockage.
  • Hard, fix, fast growing nodes, which indicate a likely tumor mass.

Causes Of Swollen Lymph Node Behind Ear

A lymph node is a round, bunch of cells which is covered by a casing of connective tissue. The cells comprise of lymphocytes which capture invaders, such as viruses as well as macrophages, which decompose the trapped material. The macrophages and lymphocytes sieve the lymph as it travels through your body and battles against infections.

Lymph nodes are in clusters, and each cluster drains a particular area in the body. The location of swollen lymph nodes helps ascertain the basic etiological factor.

Common causes include:


  • Ear infections
  • Strep throat
  • Measles
  • Tooth infection
  • Skin infections
  • HIV

Uncommon infections

  • Sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis.
  • T. B.
  • Toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection which occurs due to consuming undercooked meat or when you come in contact with the feces of a cat that’s infected.

Immune system defects

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Chronic inflammatory condition which attacks the tissue lining the joints.
  • Lupus: Chronic inflammatory condition which afflicts the skin, kidneys, joints, heart, blood cells and lungs.


  • Lymphoma: A malignant condition which originates in the lymphatic system
  • Leukemia: Malignancy of the blood manufacturing tissue.
  • Other cancers which have spread to lymph nodes.

Rare causes for lymph node swellings include – certain medications, such as the anti-epilepsy drug phenytoin and preventive drugs for malaria.

Treatment For Swollen Lymph Node Behind Ear

It is very essential that you consult your physician and carry out the tests and investigations that he advises to ascertain the cause. Accordingly, he will start your medications.

  • Infection: In case the investigations reveal that you have bacterial infection, your health care provider will prescribe antibiotics. Viral infection requires no medication; it resolves on its own in about 10 days. If your swollen lymph nodes are due to an HIV infection, your doctor will start appropriate treatment regimen.
  • Immune disorder: If there is a malfunction in the immune mechanism, causing – lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, treatment is directed at the underlying disorder.
  • Malignancy: Depending on the type of cancer, the treatment regimen involves – surgery, radiation and / or chemotherapy.