Lymphatic System

Lymphatic Vessels and Organs

What are swollen “glands”?

The condition commonly referred to as “swollen glands” is really enlarged lymph nodes. The lymph nodes were originally referred to as lymph glands (from the Latin glans, meaning “acorn”) because they resembled acorns. Unlike true glands, the lymph nodes do not secrete fluids, so they are now called lymph nodes (from the Latin node, meaning “knob”). The term “swollen glands” has been retained to describe the condition of a slight enlargement of the lymph nodes along the lymphatic vessels draining a specific region of the body. It generally indicates an inflammation or infection of peripheral structures.


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