Swollen Preauricular Lymph Nodes

Are you suffering from swollen lymph nodes in front of your ear and want a quick remedy to get rid of it? Although the lymph nodes are the tiny guardians of your body that fight off infections, the swelling in lymph nodes in front of your ears may signal the undergoing disturbance in your body. The swelling may also accompany other symptoms that may raise suspicions of severe health conditions.

So, to know more details about swollen preauricular lymph nodes, dig into this article!

What Are Preauricular Lymph Nodes?

Preauricular lymph nodes are a group of lymph nodes located in front of your ear. They play a crucial role in protecting your body against bacteria or viruses. These lymph nodes drain the lymphatic fluid from the scalp near your temples, eyes, and cheeks. 

Swollen preauricular lymph nodes or preauricular lymphadenopathy occurs as a result of excessive effort against infection. Although preauricular lymphadenopathy is not common, it can show signs of underlying issues like ear infections, salivary gland infections, or dental issues. 

Let’s clarify the concept of preauricular lymphadenopathy in more detail.

Why Are My Preauricular Lymph Nodes Swollen?

Your preauricular lymph nodes are swollen due to viral or bacterial infections, allergic reactions, diseases, and cancers. Cat scratching may also cause it. 

The causes of swollen preauricular lymph nodes are mentioned in detail below.

Salivary Gland Infections

Infections are the most common cause of swollen preauricular lymph nodes.  They trigger the immune response and promote cytokine release, which further causes swelling. Acute and generalized swelling in the salivary glands may occur due to viral infections, while acute swelling of single salivary glands indicates salivary stones or sialolithiasis

The parotid glands, a type of salivary glands located on the upper jaw on each ear, cause swelling in preauricular lymph nodes along with other symptoms like dry mouth, fever, redness on the side of your face or neck, pain, especially during eating and difficulty in opening your mouth.

Ear Infection

Otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, is caused by infection, inflammation, and irritation of the ear canal. It causes swelling in the preauricular lymph nodes by direct lymphatic flow, as the ears are connected to the lymphatic system. It usually happens when water gets trapped in the ear, allowing bacteria and fungi to grow. 

Other symptoms accompanying swollen lymph nodes are ear blockage, itching, discharge from your ear, radiating pain, and hearing issues. 

Eye Infection

Viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is inflammation of the thin membrane called the conjunctiva within the eye. It may occur due to viral or bacterial infection, allergy, or other irritants. 

An enlarged and reactive preauricular lymph node, tender on touch, differentiates viral conjunctivitis from bacterial conjunctivitis.  The other symptoms of conjunctivitis accompanying swelling of preauricular lymph nodes are redness and discharge from the eye, itching and burning sensation, and swelling of the conjunctiva.  

Sometimes, people suffering from conjunctivitis may also experience cold or flu symptoms.

Cat-Scratch Fever

A conjunctival disease caused by cat scratches is known as Prinaud Oculoglandular syndrome. This type of conjunctivitis is usually caused by a cat scratch or bite. It affects one eye only and swells the nearby preauricular lymph nodes. 

Other symptoms include fever, tenderness, redness, and inflammation of the eye. 

Dental Issues

Dental problems also lead to swollen preauricular lymph nodes. A type of cyst that develops between partially erupted tooth and jaw bone called dentigerous cyst can cause swelling in the preauricular lymph nodes if they get infected. 

The dentigerous cysts are usually asymptomatic and are diagnosed incidentally during a routine radiographic examination. 


The painless swelling in the preauricular lymph node is a sign of lymphoma, a type of cancer that occurs in the lymphatic system and affects the nodes of the cervical, axilla, and groin. 

Another type of cancer called Leukaemia occurs in your blood-forming tissues. It may be acute or chronic. Acute leukemia presents as hepatomegaly, lymphadenopathy, and musculoskeletal symptoms. In contrast, chronic leukemia remains asymptomatic and is discovered incidentally via CBC. It also leads to lymphadenopathy. 

Other Diseases

Various diseases cause swollen preauricular lymph nodes. Some of them are Lyme disease, HIV, typhoid, strep throat, chicken pox, and parasitic infections. 

These diseases may either cause generalized lymphadenopathy or regional lymphadenopathy involving two or more regions of your body. 

Many lymphatic system diseases, such as lymphangioma, lymphocytosis, intestinal lymphangiectasia, and autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, may also affect your lymph nodes. 

Are Preauricular Lymph Nodes Dangerous?

Preauricular lymph nodes are not dangerous in most cases and are often caused by infection. The swelling and tenderness may resolve in a few days, and the lymph nodes may return to their original size. However, sometimes, painless and swollen lymph nodes are the result of cancer, such as lymphoma, which needs prompt medical attention. 

What Are the Most Worrisome Lymph Nodes?

The most worrisome lymph nodes are supraclavicular lymph nodes located near your collarbone. The swelling in supraclavicular lymph nodes is mostly due to metastasis or cancer. The cancerous lymph node may feel hard in consistency and will be immovable and enlarged. Cancer and its treatment can also lead to obstruction of lymph nodes or lymphedema.

MOCEAN- Reliable Place to Drain Lymphatic Fluid Correctly

If you want to reduce swelling and correct your lymphatic drainage, choose MOCEAN, one of the best places to get effective lymphatic drainage therapy. 

At MOCEAN Wellness Center in NYC, we offer multiple lymphatic drainage therapies to treat your condition after assessing you holistically. We heal your problems naturally and use noninvasive techniques like manual lymphatic massage, dry brushing, and compression therapy to unblock your lymphatic vessels.

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