Lymphedema is chronic swelling in your body’s tissues. Some are born with it; but most see persistent swelling appear after an injury, post-surgery, or in the wake of breast, testicular and other cancer treatments. Recent studies also point to obesity as a trigger.
Swelling (edema) happens when your lymphatic system is blocked or damaged. Left untreated, swelling will continue to worsen.
Swelling can affect your legs, arms, torso, abdominal area, head/neck, or genital area depending on where the damage is. It shows up right away or takes months and even years to appear. In early stages, you may not even know you have it because your swelling is occasional or gradual.
As lymphedema progresses, you’ll notice swelling comes on throughout the day but is gone by the next morning - only to start the cycle again. You may find your swelling is soft and it indents or pits with thumb pressure. In later stages, swelling stays and grows.
Is your swelling lymphedema or lipedema? Read our blog on understanding the difference.
The best way to manage lymphedema is to get and keep your swelling under control. In early stages, swelling is stopped and often reversed. In later stages, swelling is relieved and reduced significantly – with the added goal of stabilizing the condition so your swelling does not continue to advance. We assess your stage and provide treatment options for you.
MLD therapy encourages lymph flow around damaged areas of your lymphatic system to reduce swelling. Significant, entrenched swelling can require CDT (combined decongestive therapy). It’s a blend of MLD with compression wrapping.
Once swelling is reduced and stabilized, compression garments support arm or leg health and keep uncontrolled swelling from returning.