Like a series of roadways your lymphatic system is made up of a network of lymph glands, nodes and vessels. It works with your circulatory system to regulate fluid levels, provide immunity and help you heal.
When there’s a roadblock – from damage or disease – it causes a traffic jam, and you get swelling.
Lymph fluid is the clear fluid that circulates through your lymphatic system. It carries white blood cells to fight infection and moves proteins that feed your cells and tissues. Lymph is also your body’s cleaning service; collecting and removing cell waste.
When the roadways are clear, lymph circulates freely and eventually drains into your circulatory system to be processed by your kidneys and peed out. But, when the network is damaged, lymph flow is slowed or blocked and swelling occurs.
If you have swelling that won’t go away or is getting worse, it’s time to do something about it.
Some develop swelling after cancer treatments that include lymph node radiation, surgery or removal.
Many get persistent swelling after otherwise successful surgeries to replace joints or mend injuries.
Lots experience ongoing swelling due to poor circulation (known as CVI or chronic venous insufficiency).
Those with broken bones, crushing or impact injuries often encounter short-term or chronic swelling issues.
As women develop lipedema it puts added strain on their already under-performing lymphatic function.