23 answers

Swollen Lymph Node

My son has a swollen lymph node in his neck. It is about the size of a 1 cm peanut. It never goes away. It has been like that for years. He is a perfectly healthy little guy but the swollen lymph node concerns me. When we point it out to the Dr. he says, it is probably nothing. Has anyone else seen this?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I took my son to the Doctor this past week. As many of you mentioned, the lymph node was in fact 3/4 of a cm to 1cm large, moved around easily and was in the back of his neck near his ears. The Dr. once again reassured me that this is all very normal and there is nothing to worry about so long as it doesn't get any larger, harder and continues to move around easily. He also said that it is very common in children to have lymph nodes in the back of their neck that are larger in size and don't go down. From everything that I have read and been told, regarding the warning signs, I am definitely reassured for now. Of course, I will continue to monitor him regularly! Thank you for all of your thoughtful messages.

Featured Answers

Some people have lymph nodes that are always swollen for no real reason. I have one behind my ear that is always up- since I can remember.

My son has the same size lymph node at the back of his neck/base of his skull. As long as nodes are 1cm or less and can freely move, they are considered benign. I know it can be worrisome, but if it meets these criteria, it should be ok.

More Answers

My son is 6 and has a swollen lymph node in exactly the same place behind the ear on his neck. My pediatrician said not to worry as well. My son also has autism and ironically many of the children we see regularly who also have autism have the same swollen gland! Children on the spectrum have many problems with there immune systems so I am sure there is a link. I should mention that I first noticed it after his first vaccination! Do any of your children also have autism? Chronic infections? or allergies? Just curious...

1 mom found this helpful

My son is now 9 years old and he has had the swollen lymph node since the very beginning. I also brought it up to our doctor and was told it is fine. Some people/children just have larger lymph nodes. There is no pain associated with it and I am not too concerned since my doctor eased my mind. Also, I have not known any other children with this so I will be curious to see what other responses you (we) get. Thanks and enjoy your little ones! They grow so fast!

I know I am a bit late to this post, but my 7 year old son has the same thing. It has been almost a year. At first the Dr's gave him different antibiotics thinking there was some kind of infection. Then the ENT the pediatrician sent us to did an ultrasound. Everything looked normal so he would go in every couple of months so they could measure it. Nothing ever changed. Recently they also did blood work on him and everything came back normal. So now we will only go twice a year to the ENT for monitoring. Finally I feel ok about the whole thing, but what a roller coaster.

My one son use to have it that it looked liked a dinsour trail down the side of his neck. They would come and go. And it usaly was that he was fighting a cold. I would fight to go to an ENT. They can make sure that it is not clogged or anything else. Sometimes any more we have to fight to get help for our children.

HOnestly, I have no idea what this could be. However, the fact that it's been like that so long is VERY concerning. I personally do not like your pediatrician's answer. I would take him to see a specialist immediately.
Best of luck to you.

My son also had this. His were mainly behind the ear. Out ped said it was normal. They have gone down in size but I can still feel them a little. My son seems healthy too. Since they have gone down I'm not too concerned.

My husband actually had this a few years ago. He had a lump on his neck for a good year. When he finally asked the dr. he was told that it was a swollen lymph node and instructed to let it alone...no touching. Apparently any touching or squeezing (which I can imagine is irrestable to a child) can irritate it so that the lump grows larger or remains for an even longer period of time. Eventually, my husband's lump went away and hasn't returned yet.

My daughter has had the same thing. They come and go. The dr. has checked it out and said it was nothing. I noticed one last week that was on her head behind her ear. It is bizarre. I would mention it at his next check up just so it is on record. But they told me not to worry.

Hi K.,

I'm so glad you asked about this. I have two sons, ages 6 and 3. They both have permanent visible lymph nodes in their necks, halfway between their ears and collarbone. Out of concern I have mentioned the nodes to their doctor at every physical, and the doctor assures me they are perfectly fine and nothing to worry about unless the lumps change or bother them. On unrelated medical treatment, my 6 year old had bloodwork done and an x-ray. I asked his doctor and the x-ray tech to make notes about his lump. The bloodwork came back and showed no indication of infections. The x-ray tech had kindly marked near the lump on his neck with a metal dot and the dot showed up on the x-ray, but not the lump. It was nothing to worry about after all. I felt much better about having more certainty it was a harmless node. Keep monitoring it for changes and remember to enjoy your little boy. They don't stay little forever!

There are two kids on my street with lumps like this, and they get told the same thing all the time by their doctors. (different doctors). Both moms worry about it, despite the advice, as you seem to be doing, since I'm sure that it just doesn't seem right. One little boy has uber allergies and an immune system dysfunction. The other little guy is just fine, but may have a little mild allergies, we suspect.

Same thing! My 18 month has had it since birth. From what the doctor has told us, as long as it moves around and doesn't grow bigger it's fine. Fluids from ear infections and sinus problems apparently drain into that node. The doctor makes sure he checks it at every well baby visit. Looks like you're not alone on this topic! Take care.

My son has the same size lymph node at the back of his neck/base of his skull. As long as nodes are 1cm or less and can freely move, they are considered benign. I know it can be worrisome, but if it meets these criteria, it should be ok.

Some people have lymph nodes that are always swollen for no real reason. I have one behind my ear that is always up- since I can remember.

I know the function of a lymph node is for infection, but I also know they can just be swollen, or stay swollen for quite awhile. Has your son had ear infections recently (a year or so)?
Also a good friend of mine noticed a small bump on the back of her daughter's neck (7 mos) and it turns out it is a hemangioma (sp?) She has other reddish birthmarks elsewhere and the ped after testing determined it is a birthmark on the inside--also nothing to worry about but she was very concerned as well.

Hi K.,

My 2 year old grandson has something that sounds like what your little guy has. The doctor did a scan on it and said it was nothing to worry about. I'll check with my daughter for more info later on today.


I would get a second opinion!!

I had this as a kid. I am now 39 and still healthy.

get blood work down to make sure. could be nothing and normal but blood work will rule it out. Also could perhaps get it cut off.

Worse case scenario sign of various things, my soon ex turned out to be lymphoma which was diagnosed when they cut them off.

My 7 year old son has a swollen lnymph gland on the right side of his neck & it pains when he touches .....

My son is 3 and has had one since he was a baby. I think from what the doctor said, if it moves freely under the skin there is nothing to worry about.

OMG so does my 2 year old!! I ask every stinking visit about it and they keep telling me nothing is wrong...BUT how do they know. I mean I know they are doctors, but they did not run any tests.
The whole thing freaks me out. Usually I do not get too freaked out about bumps/bruises and medical stuff with the kids, but this thing does.
Does your sons other lymph nodes swell when he is sick? If my son is sick it feels like a bunch of peanuts in his neck, but all the others go away.

Funny, I thought I was the only one with this case! My 5 yr old daughter has had a swollen lymph node for almost 3 years now, at least since we noticed it. I remember one day my dad was tickling her and he noticed this tiny lump in her neck, about the size of a peanut. I was terrified, but when we went to the doctor they said as long as it doesn't get any bigger, doesn't hurt/bother her and she isn't sick from it them its fine. They check it every year at her annual appointments and I check it often in between. It hasn't changed a bit and it doesn't bother her at all, you wouldn't even know its there. And she too is a very healthy kid and always has been, so I wouldn't worry about it. In case you are wondering Emmas swollen lymph node is on her right side about halfway between her jaw bone and the base of her neck. And it moves around when you touch it and its firm but not really hard. Hope that eased your mind! Jennifer

I am a healthy 33 yr old male. My lymph nodes were swollen my entire childhood. I went to all sorts of specialists etc. My primary doctor used to measure them and chart them. In the end I was totally fine.

Regardless of my story, get them checked out, but don't worry yourself to death. As other posters mentioned, the nodes swell from time to time with lymph fluid for a myriad reasons. Get it checked, but relax.

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