Why do my lymph nodes swell?

Monday January 6 2020


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

When I get my period, I get a lump in my groin which the doctor referred to as a lymph node. When I take drugs they disappear. Is there a permanent cure?


Dear Tracy,
When the body detects a germ infection or cancer, the neighbouring lymph nodes may swell in a bid to form protection against the offending problem in what is called a lymphadenitis.
Apart from swelling, the lymph nodes may cause local pain and in severe cases they may get infected forming pus requiring its evacuation.
Lymphadenitis of the groin nodes may result from infections involving the legs, groin and pubis or even a sexually transmitted disease such as chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum and syphilis.
Suffering from lymphadenitis towards your period may however not indicate an STD but another condition.
Women are fond of shaving the pubis when expecting periods. This may injure the pubis resulting in germs invading the injured areas only to cause the groin (inguinal) lymph nodes to swell.
You should either stop shaving or resort to cutting the hair short with a curved pair of scissors or using depilatory creams which you may not be sensitive to.
Some women get pimples on the pubis every time they are about to have their period and when these pimples get infected, they can cause the groin lymph nodes to get inflamed as well. Drugs can be prescribed including combined contraceptive pills for this.
Also, women may have reactions to sanitary pads, especially the fake ones which can lead to scratching with likely infection and lymph node swelling.
Exercising proper hygiene and choosing cotton sanitary towels or changing to menstrual cups might help.