Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Lymphatic System and Swollen Lymph Nodes

At the moment my largest swollen lymph node is about the size (width and length) of my pinky.

I currently have:

1 - lower left side of my neck

1 - left shoulder blade

5 - hip/groin area

Last time I went through semi TSW about 5 years ago I got one in my right arm that was so huge it was scary!! It felt like if I’d been able to pull it out of my arm it would have been about the length of my palm and I would have been able to wrap my fingers around it comfortably.

When I went to the doctor they diagnosed it as Deep Vein Thrombosis. This happens when a blood clot forms inside a vein blocking the blood flow. Its quite a serious condition if this is what it actually was, as I would have had to go onto all sorts of blood thinning medication.

As it turned out I had a scan of it and there was nothing that showed up as a blood clot (luckily). I don’t think there was anything else done after that, I think I just had to sort of wait it out. I also had another large one in my leg… not quite so big but they both disappeared over time as I gradually started recovering (with the use of topical and oral steroids).

SO the lymph nodes are back!! Not quite so big or scary this time as I know what they are now. But I’m quite interested in finding out what the lymphatic system actually does… because with veins etc you know exactly what they do!! But the lymphatic system is like this whole secret little network in your body that most people would never even realise is there!!

Questions I want answered!!


What is the Lymphatic System and what does it do?
Sooo in very simple terms… The main function of the lymphatic system is basically a drainage network used to transport a clear, colourless fluid containing white blood cells, protein and other things that help rid the body of toxins and waste. If the lymphatic system didn't drain the excess fluid, it would build up in the body's tissues, and they would swell (more on this in the remedies section).

The lymph nodes are small masses of tissue located along the lymphatic system. They are where all sorts of germs are filtered out. The lymph nodes are home to a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies to destroy the germs that are collected by the lymphatic system.

Organs connected to the lymphatic system are the tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus.

Tonsils - they are a large cluster of lymphatic cells in the back of the throat. They are there to protect the digestive tract and lungs from germs that enter the mouth or nose.

Adenoid - (when I first saw this word I thought ‘Adrenals! Ah Ha!) but on further investigation I found that Adenoids are a cluster of lymphatic cells near the nasal cavity close to the tonsils and both are often removed at the same time if you have tonsillitis. Their job is similar to the tonsils.

Spleen - connected to the lymphatic system. It contains white blood cells that engulf and destroy bacteria, old red blood cells and dead tissue.

Thymus - the Thymus Gland (located near the centre of your chest) is the main organ of the lymphatic system. It creates specific cells for the immune system that are transported to the spleen and lymph nodes to help in the fight against infection.

Still can’t quite fit all the pieces together in my brain but at least now I know what its there for!

Why do I get swollen lymphs?

When lymph nodes swell in two or more areas of the body, it is called generalized lymphadenopathy. This may be caused by several things…

- Viral infections or side effects of the MMR vaccination
- Fungal Infections
- Bacterial infections
- Various forms of cancer
- Side effects of medication, alcohol abuse or stress
- Aids or HIV. This virus attacks the immune system, making it hard for the body to fight infections.
- Various other things such as bug bites or tooth decay

But wait… no Topical Steroid Withdrawal???

I found this sentence on Wikipedia (not the most reliable form of information but hey)…
‘If nodes detect something foreign passing through them such as a bacterium or a cancer cell they will swell up.’

Now I’m guessing that there is probably plenty of ‘foreign’ things floating around my body at this moment but nothing (touch wood) from the above list and nothing else that I can think of that would warrant as infection. 

Hmmmm so after all that I’m still not 100% sure what swollen lymph nodes have to do with TSW … Help anyone???

One theory is that now I have quit TS, everything that was once suppressed by the cortisone in my blood stream has now decided its time to start working again… this includes the lymphatic system???

Natural remedies for the lymphatic system
So the lymphatic system moves veeeeery slowly. Its kind of like when you move, your lymphatic system moves to. For example… have you ever woken up with puffy eyes? Yes? This is because while you were sleeping you probably weren’t moving a heck of a lot. Meaning no body movement = no lymphatic movement = lymph fluid build up = PUFFY EYES!

The fluid build up will most likely be worse when your sick and not functioning at your best (hmmm this sounds a little familiar).

So the best way to kickstart your lymphatic system that I have found after all this research is to jump!! Easy as that!! Up and down on a mini trampoline… To be honest I have not actually had a chance to purchase a mini trampoline yet but it makes a whole lot of sense to me and sounds like a whole lot of fun while your at it!! :)


For more information on this topic please visit http://www.mygutsy.com/jump-out-the-toxins-rebounding-for-lymph-drainage/   <- its a great page that talks all about cleaning out your lymphatic system


  1. Excellent post! About 15 years ago I read a book written by a student of a Qi Gong Master and taught myself the exercises and did them daily for about two years. The last exercise was to stand feet together and bounce up & down on the front of the feet just lifting the heels and then dropping the heels to the floor at the end. Same principle as what you're talking about. I don't do them anymore but it has always stuck in my mind so when I go for walks I sometimes intentionality will walk on gravel or something similar to cause my body to slightly jolt up & down for a couple minutes. Or alternatively, I will just stand and lift my heels up and drop to shake up the organs and glands a bit. Anyway, good post!

    1. Hi Dan :) Thats a really good suggestion!! I just spent the last 5 minutes doing the exercise you suggested and it actually does feel (almost) like your on a mini trampoline.. maybe no need to purchase one after all! Thanks for your comment!!