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Author Topic: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?  (Read 37244 times)

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Offline Anxious

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Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« on: February 19, 2007, 02:45:06 PM »
Hey everyone! I am new to this site, and am seeking reassurance. After examining my neck one day for no reason, I found a lymph node under my jaw that was the size of a small pea. I continued to poke at it to no end for the next 2 1/2 weeks before going to the doctor. She was not alarmed, found no other enlarged lymph nodes but nontheless did a CBC and CAT scan of my neck for my own reassurance. Both came back normal, perfectly fine. She told me to stop poking. However, since my appt. on monday, I also began poking under my arm and now they are sore and I can feel my lymph nodes have enlarged. In the jaw it remains the same. Do you think if I had something the doc would have seem some abnormalities? I am worried sick and feel like I am going crazy. Will poking make lymph nodes easier to feel and keep them from returning to normal?
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Offline 2anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2007, 02:59:13 PM »
Hi!  I am sure if all those test came back normal you are fine!  Don't poke and prod at yourself.  Certainly you can make yourself sore if you keep poking.  I know it is easier said than done, but try really hard.  Feel Better!
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Offline FastFashionPsyD

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2007, 08:31:23 PM »
Hey Anxious.  I had this for about a year.  I had swollen lymph nodes that would come and go under my left armpit.  Poking them, which we as HA sufferers, will always do, will absolutely enlarge and arrrivate them.  Stop touching them.  You had a CT scan and a CBC that would have picked up anything abnormal.  I had about 3 cbc's done.  It would come and last for a day or two.  When I got one one morning my doc sent me in to get a sonogram of it and it mysteriously dissappeared?  =  Anxiety, Somatic?  I finally said F*** it I'm not worrying about this anymore.  I have come to learn that stress as well as viruses and infections, your body fighting them off, will cause your lymph nodes to swell.  We just notice them more.  The proof is in the CBC and CT scan.  Feel well.
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Offline jenny649

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2007, 11:14:10 PM »
If the tests came back normal, I'm sure you are fine. Poking and prodding can definitely cause lymph nodes to become swollen, and it starts the cycle of your symptoms all over again. Try your best to stop and I'm sure everything will be fine.
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"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." --Groucho Marx

Offline Anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2007, 11:24:33 PM »
Thank you for your replies! I thought I was doing better after the doc reassured me that my nodes were not abnormal, and that she did not see reason for more testing. However, after a day or so goes by your mind starts to wander, and then I start poking again! It does not help that I am thin and can feel nodes in more than one place on my body. Tonight my parents had a talk with me that I need to realize that my health is fine and that I should not be obsessing over feeling my lymph nodes over and over. I have made a promise to myself that starting tomorrow I will try not to think about them or feel them bc that will only keep them enlarged/aggitated. Then after 2 weeks I can check them again. Any ideas on how to do this? I hope it works!
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Offline sanderella

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 06:11:29 AM »
I have had slightly enlarged and tender lymph nodes for about a year and a half, on and off, in different places. I have been absolutely terrified about it and have been to the doctor so many times. I've had countless tests done and they found nothing wrong with me. Personally I'm starting to wonder whether just being aware of them makes them seem worse. Perhaps they have been like that for a long time and you haven't noticed. Doctors have told me that many people have these and don't notice.

I think the key is to be able to see the lymph nodes as non-threatening; just to accept that they are there and that they might not completely go away, but to be comfortable with that. If you keep checking them to see if they've gone, you will only get more anxious about their presence. If the doctors say there's nothing wrong with them - and doctors have told me mine might not go away - then we probably need to learn to accept them. Try reminding yourself every time you think about them that they are harmless and that you can live with them. That might be more helpful than trying not to think about them and checking and hoping they've gone. All the best!
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A sanderella is a mythical creature in Algerian folklore, similar to a mermaid. It is used as a cute nickname.

Offline Anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 08:06:44 AM »
Sounds like good advice- I have definitely become hyper-aware of any lymph nodes present in my body that I haven't notice before and believe it is related to a disease that the docs haven't yet tested me for. I have not poked at them yet this morning, hopefully that will last all day while I am at work. I wish I had never gone on the internet to symptom check bc then I can convince myself into believe that I have generalized enlarged lymph nodes! I can get myself worked into a frenzy! Also, wondering how you can tell if a node is really troublesome and enlarged.  I heard if it is less that 1/2 cm that is normal state. Also I have heard that if one side is larger than another that is enlarged- I can feel some that are about 3 tenths of a cm on one side that I cannot feel on the other- is this enlarged? I know this seems ridiculous but it is what I can lose sleep over. The one under my jaw is no doubt the largest, about 1/2 cm and has been like that for a month (you all know the doc has already seen it/run some tests). How do you really know if it is disease related?
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Offline sanderella

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 10:41:43 AM »
Mine are about the size of a kidney bean apparently, which does not concern the doctor. I don't touch them myself very much as I find it too scary. I have been told by doctors that if they grow over time (and become significantly bigger), that is worth checking out. Half a centimetre is nothing! Mine come and go, which apparently would not be the case if it was something serious.

I know it's hard but we have to trust that the doctors know what they're doing. I have seen so many doctors, I clearly haven't trusted them - but how many more can I see for them to tell me it's OK and for me to believe it? I've had a wide range of blood tests, and even throat swabs and chest X-rays (incase it was TB). All the tests have been repeated several times now. If the doctor keeps telling us it's not worth investigating further, we have to eventually believe them - they are the experts, not us. For me, leaving it and getting on with life as if everything is normal just feels like taking a huge risk. But I've spent so long putting life on hold and fretting over whether I'm seriously ill, it's a risk I really want to try and take, because what kind of minimal life is this if I spend it in constant anxiety anyway?

The problem with symptom-checking on the internet is that it seems to uncover only the horrific causes. These are very rare. It's actually very common to have small lymph node lumps, but no-one mentions it. Maybe because they simply don't have a good explanation for it. If you've had epstein-barr virus in the past (it turns out I had it, but never knew when...) the enlarged lymph nodes can stay enlarged afterwards. Some alternative practitioners say stress can cause it. None of this can be explained by modern medicine. It's funny how the most common things are the least understood! For example irritable bowel affects 1 in 10 people, but is not well understood by western medicine at all. Fortunately the very common things are generally not very serious.

My parents have reminded me a while back that "common things happen commonly". It sounds obvious, but the more I've thought about it, the more it has hit home. My symptoms - and yours - are far more likely to be down to something common (and non-serious) than something extremely rare. I think maybe people with health anxiety have a distorted sense of risk - it's as if we think it's more likely to be cancer than anything else. It's easy to reassure someone else and believe that it's not serious in their case, but hard to be objective about yourself. We can never be 100% reassured because there is never any real proof that we are healthy, so there is always room for worry. I guess it's about learning to live with the uncertainty. I don't really know how, but I'm getting tired of worrying and the time I've wasted on it.
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A sanderella is a mythical creature in Algerian folklore, similar to a mermaid. It is used as a cute nickname.

Offline Anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 10:09:37 PM »
Today I am proud of myself, did a lot better with not checking my lymph nodes! I went all day and only checked my neck twice, and my armpit a little more than that. The thing I would like to ask though- as I have mentioned my armpit lymph nodes were undetectable until this weekend when I started really digging into them- now I can feel them quite easily on the left side. You have all mentioned that poking can irritate and enlarge lymph nodes, but how long will I have to wait for these nodes to return to normal? It seems obvious that it would be due to my own manipulation of them (stupid me), but now I am waiting for them to return to their usual size. I know I must be a nuisance with all these silly questions, but your feedback has been helping to bring me out of my slump the last few days (have finally started to get back into my normal routine), so would appreciate any further input. Thanks!!  :action-smiley-065:
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Offline FALCON z

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 01:22:57 AM »
Anxious, I did the same thing for about a year or more.  I first started to notice the ones in my neck because the left side of my neck felt tight.  Then after checking the internet (last thing you want to do on lymph nodes) I was scared to death and actually located one under my armpit.  My doctor reassured me it was nothing, and even done some blood work to satisfy me.  This was the first time I was put on some anti depression/anxiety medication.  Mine no longer bother me and I don't check them either, no sure which came first.  My doctor also told me that if there were a problem they would continue to grow.  I can feel mine at any time still today but I just don't obsesse over it anymore.  Just remember everyone's body is different.  I can't feel my mom's or my wife's but one of the doctors I seen let me feel theirs.  Finding someone's that I could feel too made me feel not alone.  From this site you can see your not alone either and the good thing you'll eventually get over it.  I know is hard, but believe the doctor he knows more than you.  :)
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Offline sanderella

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 05:30:37 AM »
I agree with Falcon; everyone is slightly different. One of my doctors said she had lymph nodes in her neck too. You're asking when they will return to "normal", but I think the key is to see them as "normal" in their current state. It's just one variety of normal. They're not considered abnormal till they get massively bigger. Mine haven't disappeared and I don't expect them to, now.
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A sanderella is a mythical creature in Algerian folklore, similar to a mermaid. It is used as a cute nickname.

Offline Anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 04:46:22 PM »
Thank you guys! You have all been so much help so far! As crazy as it sounds, these past two days are the first days in over a month that I have not poked at the enlarged node on my neck or cried bc I thought I had something horrible. Frankly, it was beginning to get too sore and I knew that I was going to have to stop soon or else have irreversible damage to my node. I am trying to accept that the enlarged state might be normal and not indicative of disease. Every time I go to poke i keep trying to tell myself "no wonder the nodes are sore or enlarged-you have been poking over 50 times a day for a whole month! The poor things probably don't know what to do!" As for the nodes under my arm (which were not enlarged until after I poked repeatedly), I am going to try to forget they are even there. Have any of you ever gone to the Website by Dr. Walt Stoll? I am not going to any other health website than this from now on, but Dr. Stoll says that you must keep your fingers off of aggitated nodes for at least 6 weeks to see if they will shrink back down, and reiterated what you all said that some may remain slightly enlarged. P.S. I did have a very bad case of mono back when I was 21, isn't this a close relative to Eppstein-Barr? Maybe this attributed to some of my palpable nodes?
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Offline Anxious

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Re: Can Poking Aggrivate/Enlarge Lymph Nodes?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 08:05:01 AM »
Just wondering as I wake up this morning- I feel like I am still having a hard time forgetting about the size of my lymph nodes, although to most people it seems rational that they have enlarged or stayed large. Many of you have mentioned that your doc put you on an antidepressant for this. I have never been on an antidepressant- but do you think this helped you stop worrying about illness, stop poking, or stop obsessing a little? Just thinking maybe I would benefit. My doc gave me a 10 pill script for Xanax but I think she thought the problem would resolve after the tests came back.
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