Toni Creevy- Essex Bowen Clinic
Lymphoedema - occurs when the lymphatic system does not function properly. The lymph fluid does not drain away which results in long term swelling of one or more parts of the body, this swelling is referred to as Lymphoedema most commonly occurs in the arms and legs and can appear soon after damage to the lymph system or it can occur months or years afterwards.
If your skin on your legs is hard / tight but does not hurt when touched it may be Lymphoedma. If you push your thumb into an area of lymphoma you'll usually see a dent in the skin. Lymphoedma is caused by a problem with the flow/drainage of the Lymphatic System. A build up of fluid can cause the legs/ankles/ feet to become swollen.
You may have restricted movement.
A sensation of heaviness or aching/discomfort in the area
If allowed to continue, the areas of swelling may increase and harden and may become painful.
The skin may feel tight
You may leak a clear fluid from the skin
You may have a thickening of the skin.
It can occur after cancer treatment, severe infections (cellulitis), past trauma which caused damage to lymphatic system, being very overweight/ immobile or inflammation from other conditions.
Help Control - Lymphoedma
Adopting a healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing lymphoedema, and may also help control the condition if you already have it.
Therapies that may help...
Manual Lymphatic Drainage & Lymphatic Bowen are effective treatments which can help control lymphoedema (which may occur after burns, infection, disease or cancer treatment). Unaffected areas are treated first. The aim is to encourage the lymph fluid to move away from the swollen area, finding new pathways, so it can drain away from the swollen area.
Lipoedema is an abnormal build up of fatty deposits in your legs/arms. It normally affects both sides of your body equally.
You may have heavier legs and a narrow waist/ upper body . Your feet are not usually affected With Lipoedema.
You may have pain, tenderness or heaviness in the affected limbs.
If you push your thumb into an area of lymphoma you'll usually see a dent in the skin. This doesn't usually happen with Lipoedema.
The exact cause of Lipoedema is not clear
It may me caused by hormone fluctuation/changes eg
It can be associated with Lymphedema.
It may run in families
It is not caused by being overweight
Help Control - Lipoedema.
Commpression garments (may reduce swelling only a small amount)
Low impact exercise eg swimming
Therapies that may help symptoms ...
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Our body’s ‘sewerage system.
It maintains fluid levels in our body’s tissues by removing fluids that leak out of blood vessels.
The lymph nodes monitor the lymph flowing into them and produce cells and antibodies which protect our body from infection and disease. It is part of the immune system
Lymph is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system and surrounds all tissues.
Weight - Maintain a healthy weight
Water - drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, increasing your fluid intake in hot weather or very dry conditions
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which are mild diuretics and reduce the levels of body fluids
Salt – Some studies show that it may be beneficial to cut back on salt because sodium increases fluid retention in the body. Greater fluid retention raises blood pressure, and it can make the swelling symptoms of lymphedema worse.
Foods- Eat; leafy greens e.g. kale, healthy fats e.g. nuts, salmon, low sugar foods, avocados, berries, seeds and herbal teas. Avoid; packaged foods, fast food and fructose,
Moisturising - the skin daily to keep it supple
Sunscreen - high sun protection factor (SPF) to prevent sunburn
Heat - avoiding very hot baths and showers – the heat from saunas, steam rooms and sun beds may increase the swelling
Cuts - Skin infections can also damage your lymphatic system and cause lymphoedema to develop. Any cuts in your skin can allow bacteria to enter your body and may quickly develop into an infection. The part of your body affected by lymphoedema is more vulnerable to infection.
Shaving - Use an electric razor to reduce the risk of cutting yourself
Insect Bites - Use insect repellents to prevent
Anti – Fungal powder - to prevent fungal infections in your skin or feet if your lower limbs
Antiseptic cream - Treat cuts and scratches immediately
Contact a GP - as soon as possible if you develop symptoms of a possible skin infection. These symptoms may include redness or a feeling of heat in the skin.
Compression bandages or garments, such as sleeves, gloves, stockings or tights, fitted over affected limbs act as a counterforce to muscles, to stimulate lymph flow.
Exercise & Compression garments - encourages the fluid to move out of the affected limb.
After MLD Massage - Compression garments applied after a massage to prevent fluid accumulating in the limb again.
Velcro wraps may be used instead of compression garments.
Bexters Soda Crystals – using wraps they can assist with swelling by drawing out fluid
Oils- Caster oil helps improve flow and movement of lymph fluid
Soak a flannel in cold pressed castor oil
Place over affected organ or area
Put a hot water bottle on top of them
Mechanical compression pumps 'squeeze' a swollen limb in a sleeve or boot which inflates and deflates at regular intervals.
Soften Tissue - may soften the tissue of a limb.
Lymph moved quickly - from a limb quite quickly but it may collect in the trunk of your body causing discomfort. Lymph may also return to the limb quickly when the pump is removed.