Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck After Eating

If your jawbone disappears after eating certain foods, you may have a food allergy. Your lymph nodes are glands located directly under your jawbone and may become swollen when you're sick. Swelling in your lymph nodes after eating may be a sign of an allergic reaction because food allergies cause increased inflammation in soft tissue throughout your body. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the possible foods that trigger your symptoms.

Food Allergy

You can have an allergy to any food, but the most common foods include fish, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, wheat and soy. Food allergies are the result of an overreaction of your immune system to a certain food. You're at greater risk of developing food allergies if you have a family history of allergies. Even if you cook the food that you're allergic to, you will still develop allergy symptoms. Some food allergies can cause cross-reactivity, a reaction that occurs within a family of foods. For example, if you're allergic to shrimp, you may also be allergic to other shellfish, such as clams and oysters.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swelling occurs in the lymph nodes because of the release of histamine, a chemical that commonly fights off infection. During a food allergy, histamine levels are much higher than normal, leading to inflammation. Histamine is released by mast cells and white blood cells that are located in soft tissue. Histamine released in your lymph nodes will result in visual swelling and may be tender to the touch because of pressure. If you notice swelling of your lymph nodes accompanied with your throat swelling, call 911 because you may be experiencing a severe allergic reaction.

Other Symptoms

Symptoms will develop in other parts of your body from an allergic reaction. Common symptoms of a food allergy include skin rashes, hives, eczema, skin inflammation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, facial swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, nasal congestion and light-headedness, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Certain food intolerances, especially chemical intolerances, can cause swelling in your lymph nodes. You can have chemical intolerances to such substances as MSG, sulfites and other food additives. An intolerance is not the same condition as an allergic reaction because it's not caused by a hypersensitivity of the immune system, but rather an abnormal chemical reaction.

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