can you feel your lymph nodes?

(32 Posts)
tuscanrose Mon 05-Jun-17 11:48:55

I'm having a bit of health anxiety about some lymph nodes in my neck.... There are a couple I can feel on the left side of my neck - they are less than pea-sized but definitely palpable, very soft and very movable. You can't see them but I can feel them when I dig around. I stupidly googled and from what I gather no lymph nodes should be 'palpable'. I've had these for about six months and I've been well the whole time. I did go and see a GP who said he thought they felt fine but it's really hard to tell what's considered 'normal' or not when it comes to lymph nodes! Can anyone else feel theirs? I'm I being overly-panicky?!

OP’s posts: |
Secretbiscuits Mon 05-Jun-17 12:56:33

Hey, I can feel mine in my groin area (inguinal) not all but a few. They feel exactly as you have described yours. I've been to the GP too who said it was fine, I do still randomly panic about it but they have been like that for over four years now so I'm guessing/hoping that means they are nothing sinister.

OhDearToby Mon 05-Jun-17 12:59:37

I've always been able to feel mine. I've been to the doctors about it before and they said nothing to worry about.

Tanfastic Mon 05-Jun-17 13:11:58

I can actually get a couple of mine between my fingers and roll them around under my chin/jawline. Been since my twenties. My gp at the time said it was prob due to numerous attacks of tonsillitis I'd had.

I'm 44 now and they've never gone back to normal.

If you are worried about lymphoma from what I understand these can become very large quite rapidly. I think yours sound quite innocent,

Magpie24 Mon 05-Jun-17 14:29:03

I have this too. I can feel them in my neck and groin. My GP gave me a few blood tests and all was fine. He told me that this is quite common for slim people. I'm 5'8 and 9st10 so I'm not tiny but on the slim side since losing a bit of weight. I've only been able to notice them since losing weight.

tuscanrose Mon 05-Jun-17 14:49:32

Thanks so much for your replies! I can also feel them in my groin but I'm less worried about those ones as it seems to be a more normal finding. It's the neck ones that are worrying me and only because I stupidly googled and got myself very confused about whether you should be able to feel them or not. So many websites (incl. reputable ones eg. NHS) seem to say that the neck ones shouldn't be palpable at all but anecdotal evidence from people's visits to GPs seem to suggest that palable neck nodes are not a worrying finding so long as they're not enormous and so long as they're soft/mobile. I wish I could stop worrying about this! I'm also petite/thin, which is perhaps why I can feel them more readily than others might.

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Magpie24 Mon 05-Jun-17 14:51:20

@tuscanrose sorry you feel so anxious. Have you had health anxiety about other issues before? I have and am currently undergoing therapy which I am finding helpful. Or you could book a GP appointment to put your mind at rest. You wouldn't be wasting anyone's time.


SwimmingMom Mon 05-Jun-17 15:37:17

I had these in my neck and a wise consultant told me that if I keep checking for them I am 'injuring' them a bit and hence they can't go down. Told me to resist the urge to check them for at least 2 months. They did go away!

Screwinthetuna Mon 05-Jun-17 16:51:04

Yes, if you looking for them then you will definitely find them, especially if you are slim. I can feel lots. Don't keep touching it as you will irritate it and it will get bigger

tuscanrose Mon 05-Jun-17 18:23:44

Thank you all for such wise words. It's really reassuring and very helpful! Resisting the urge to touch them will be near impossible but I'm really going to try.

@magpie24 my health anxiety is pretty awful these days. I had a horrid health scare a year ago, which came hard off the heels of my then 9mo DD having to have surgery. She is OK now but my issue is still somewhat unresolved (although nothing sinister). I also helped care for my grandfather late last year during a short battle with cancer. So I think these things combined have thrown me and I'm a naturally anxious person anyway. Is it CBT therapy that you are doing?

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Magpie24 Mon 05-Jun-17 18:28:15

@tuscanrose that sounds like a really trying time for you, I can see why you are anxious. I'm having counselling at the moment but my therapist has recommended CBT as the next step, which I hope will help. I've also tried to ban myself from googling anything.l but it's hard. I'm trying for a baby and am worried that as soon as I'm pregnant my health anxiety will be much worse.

Screwinthetuna Mon 05-Jun-17 20:34:52

I have health anxiety too.
You might be surprised, Magpie, mine dissapeared when I was pregnant as I was just so focused on the pregnancy itself.
I often find mine flares when I'm not happy about something else in my life, tuscanrose. Perhaps have a think about that? CBT didn't work for me except for this one little 'activity.' When you wake up and start worrying, think to yourself, ' I'm not going to worry about it now, I'm going to worry about it at 7pm. I will not touch my glands until 7pm and then I will give myself 15 mins to worry.' It's hard, but it can help.

I also went through the whole lymph node worry. One doctor said to me, 'if it was something bad, you WOULDNT have to go looking for it. It will grow and grow until it's the size of an orange and you wouldn't be able to miss it.' I have 2 in my neck that I can always feel that are about the size of kidney beans. I can feel them deep in my armpit and one is the size of a pound coin!

I can feel them in my kids neck (I don't touch them, have noticed in passing).

There is a web forum for health anxiety called no more panic but in all honesty, it makes my health anxiety so much worse reading it.

As someone who goes in and out of episodes of health anxiety (in a bad episode at the moment), my advice would be to stay off anything online and find ways to make yourself as happy as possible.

Birdsbeesandtrees Mon 05-Jun-17 20:36:28

One of my friends has one massive one for some reason.

If it worries you you could go to the GP but I'm sure it's normal !

tinypop4 Mon 05-Jun-17 20:37:17

I can feel my neck ones- I've had it investigated thoroughly and nothing sinister. I've had a lot of bouts of tonsillitis and throat infections in my life so ENT says it's just from repeated infection. Have it checked out but don't fret

tuscanrose Mon 05-Jun-17 21:47:35

Thanks birdsbeesandtrees and tinypop4 that's really reassuring.

Magpie24 and Screwinthetuna I'm sorry to hear that you both suffer from HA. It's a horrible thing. The whole lymph node thing seems to really affect us HA sufferers. My DP who couldn't be more different to me when it comes to things like this, feels my neck and thinks I'm insane that I even managed to find these little lumps. But it's not something you can rationalise, and then the fear/panic just begins to envelope you and you can feel yourself spiralling. I've had such a terrible year of it and I'm so desperate for it to stop. Sometimes, especially when i begin frantically searching my symptoms online, and get deeper and deeper into the detail of some fantastical diagnosis, it feels like a form of self-harm.

On your advice I'm really going to try and (a) stop googling and (b) stop touching my neck.

Also, I agree with screwinthetuna that during my pregnancies, my HA disappeared, and I felt really positive about my body and my health (despite morning sickness and feeling quite uncomfortable!). I hope it's the same with you magpie24 - fingers crossed it will be.

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Roots1985 Sat 24-Feb-18 19:28:12

I'm so happy I've come across this thread! I've felt alone for most of my life in regards to my health anxiety. It's become so bad I literally avoid the doctor at all costs. I've been able to feel my lymph nodes just on the left hand side of my neck since I was 12 I can feel 2 and 1 under my chin. I've suffered with this anxiety since I was a kid and the doctor told me there was nothing to worry about. I'm now 33 and they are the same but you still can't help but worry. I really do try not to Google anymore because that takes me down the rabbit hole. I just hate living like this, it paralyzes me. So much so that it would even stop me from having kids because of the fear that if I did get pregnant they could find something wrong with me. The worst thing to tell someone with this fear is to just go to the doctor when in actual fact I would rather avoid it so I don't have to deal with the results if something was wrong. Do I know how irrational that sounds? Absolutely!!! I know and trust me I'm trying to over come this. Does anyone have any advice on getting help or some sort of therapy that might work? I'm tired of living like this and I'm desperate for help. I already feel like I have everything wrong with me and I convince myself of this and I don't want to start manifesting these illnesses. Any advice is welcome. I've never told anyone this so thank you for being gentle.

RC000 Sun 03-Jun-18 20:29:22

I completely understand the worries on this thread. I have been able to feel 2 lymoh nodes under my jaw since I was a child and think HA began then. I can feel 3 on my left side of neck and 2 on the other. Also one in my groin. They are all small and mobile. I had a scan after being diagnosed hypothyroid and the scanner said they were fine and that they only worry if they are big and grow quickly. Easy to say that but sometimes I can't help but convince and google myself into a cancer frenzy. So reassuring that others can feel them too. I am slim too. HA is no joke.

toomuchhappyland Mon 11-Jun-18 09:17:38

Yep. I can feel them like peas on the side of my neck (more on the right side) which I’ve had since I was a child. About a year ago I noticed more just above my collarbone, which terrified me as I read that that’s more likely to be cancer. Went to the GP and she wasn’t concerned at all, which did reassure me - but even so I find myself prodding them occasionally and convincing myself I’ve found a new/bigger one, and panicking. I drive myself mad with it tbh.

RC000 Tue 12-Jun-18 07:56:18

Yes - I drive my husband mad when he catches me checking my neck for tbe fiftieth time that day. It is just scary how lumps can obviously mean cancer. Even though you know rationally if they are sal and mobile they are usually ok, your mind goes into over drive. Threads like this help me - is that Im not the only one who can feel them. Also, i chatted to a friend who said she had no idea if she could. I think with HA we get so over sensitive to something that we go looking for it if that makes sense? I read a tip of giving yourself a week/10 days before going to doc which has helped me. Ie if you get a weird symptom, notice it then try not to obsess over it if you tell yourself that if it is still there or you are still worried in 10 days, go to doc. I definitely get triggered if i hear of people getting unwell quickly etc.

IolaSil Thu 13-Sep-18 16:27:29


I have been diagnosed with panic disorder a year and a half ago and the gradually became GAD. My health anxiety grew lately and I'm in a vicious cycle. Recently I had a blood test that showed mild lymphopenia, and my doc said it's fine and it's probably due to a recent cold and told me to repeat. i didn't repeat them yet, but I started to search myself for lymphnodes. I thought I found a very small one on my neck. I went to 3 doctors, 2 of them said that I don't have any and to the other I pointed the place where I thought I have it. He said it is barely palpable and mobile and not sure if it a lymph node, but it's nothing to worry and was surprised I found it.
Please, did someone went through this kind of frenezy? i need to stop but my mind tells me that maybe I have other maybe in my lungs or other places where I cannot see them.
Since this terrible fear began I cannot sleep and eat properly and logically I lost weight and I am fatigued and I can't tell my doctor these as symptoms since my anxiety is involved.
Sorry for the long message, but I don't know how to put my mind at ease. I'm also seeing a therapist soon.

Thank you

RC000 Sat 15-Sep-18 12:13:26

Please try not to panic, hard I know. Health anxiety is like a frenzy. Deep breaths and trust the doctors. I think a therapist will be v helpful. I once read that is is very obvious if you have a dodgy lymph node and doctors are trained to spot. X

RC000 Sun 23-Sep-18 15:03:42

Need a bit of reassurance myself here now...

Can feel 3 small pea sized mobile nodes in different places on neck. Have had one aince 2010 and other 2 since early summer. Doc felt and blood tests all fine. Stupidly read an article about a journalist who has follicular lymphoma from finding just one pea sized one. Cue a google frenzy. Now convinced I have that and have just found out Im pregnant. Google says doctors can only tell lymphoma from biopsies? Has anyone had biopsies for theirs? Do docs know which to refer for biopsies or do ultrasound people know? Sorry for frenzy...

Kd10 Thu 22-Nov-18 01:02:58

Found a pea sized lump a few months ago on the side of my right breast. I had a scan and it came back fine, apparently it is a lymph node. I went back to my Dr as I was very anxious...why can I only feel it now, why have I been getting sore throats and chesty coughs, etc. They said it's normal and they would only worry when it's a certain size. For the past week I have been getting a dull ache around the lump and what feels like deep inside the breast. I am Paranoid that I have cancer and it's spreading but dont want to keep going to drs and look like I'm wasting their time. Has anyone else experienced anything like this please xx

RC000 Thu 29-Nov-18 18:18:43

I don't think they would think you were wasting time if you went back to the doctor and explained how worried you are?

I had a scan recently and was told that lymoh nodes up to a certain size are completely normal, even if they never go down.

newyorker81 Thu 03-Jan-19 01:03:46

Hello All,

Just joined this forum.

Our lymph nodes when swollen are doing their job of fighting an infection so in majority of the cases the underlying reason is usually not anything serious. I have severe health anxiety and always end up fearing the worse but am glad the rational side of me kicks in to remind me how resilient our body is.

Have had my fair share of self proclaimed scares where I was convinced that my swollen nodes meant I had something serious going on.

- Few years ago due to a bad wisdom tooth ache, gland beow my jaw on the right side was swollen, almost size of a tiny golf ball. It was clear to me what the cause was but my mind went in many different directions. Went to dentist, was put on antibiotics, swelling came down and had the tooth extracted
- two days ago, felt a small lump under my left jaw and was convinced I had some serious illness while totally ignoring the fact that I had a bad sore throat and cold/allergies due to the bug that's going around. But that didn't stop me from poking and prodding it and Googling the symptoms -BAD BAD idea. As sore throat went away so has the swelling.
- Few years ago I was up to my old habit of looking for something "bad" almost, when I came across the two pea size glands that sit between Adam's apple and the chin. Convinced myself it was all ominous. Few years later those glands are still there, same size they were. Some people can feel them some can't. Different normal for different people.

Hope everyone finds the answers they are looking for as well as comfort in knowing that all of us experience anxieities as well as real health scares and that there is a community such as this that gives us some comfort and answers.

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