It’s normal for your lymph nodes to become swollen or enlarged when you’re fighting off a viral or bacterial infection. It’s when lymph nodes stay swollen for long periods of time afterward, or if they become enlarged for no apparent reason and stay that way, that you should see a doctor to understand what else might be going on.
Since the body has lymph nodes in many places, including the bone marrow, symptoms of lymphoma vary. You may notice the following:
- ongoing painless swelling (when lymphoma develops in lymph nodes under the skin in the neck, underarms, or groin)
- a feeling of ongoing fullness or swelling in the abdominal area or bleeding (when lymphoma develops in the stomach or intestines)
- seizures, paralysis in parts of your body, or trouble walking (when lymphoma develops in the brain or spinal cord)
- coughing, shortness of breath, or pain (when lymphoma develops in the chest)
If you have lymphoma, it’s also possible that you’ll develop a fever, fatigue that won’t let up, night sweats, itching, or unexpected weight loss. Some people may experience pain when drinking alcohol.