Lymphedema pain is uncommon although it may happen if there’s an active infection going on. Infection on the limb can put an added pressure on the nerves and tissues, resulting to a painful sensation.

Lymphedema and Its Complications

Lymphedema pertains to the swelling of the limbs that results from blockage on the normal flow of the lymphatic system. This blockage causes the lymphatic fluid to build up, eventually leading to swelling.

When left unmanaged, lymphedema can lead to several complications including infection. This is because lymphatic fluid is very rich in protein called albumin. It’s a clear and very viscous fluid that can create a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria.

The buildup of lymphatic fluid coupled with the compromised function of the lymphatic system can lead to infection that can spread rapidly and worsen over time.

Aside from lymphedema pain, people who develop infection following their lymphedema also complain of redness, skin rashes, increase in limb swelling, heavy sensation on the limb, and high fever and chills.

Preventing Lymphedema Pain

Although the infection from lymphedema can be managed with the help of antibiotics, prevention is still better than the cure. Below are some ways on how to prevent infection and other lymphedema-related complications.

  1. Exercise
    Lymphedema pain results not just from the infection but also from the increased swelling on the affected limb. Exercise can help reduce that. Whether it’s walking, swimming, or dancing, physical activity helps improve the lymphatic fluid circulation. Strenuous exercises should be avoided though to avoid aggravating the lymphedema.

  2. Good skin care
    Keeping the skin clean and healthy is one of the best ways for preventing infections. Moisturizing the skin and being extra careful when shaving is very important especially when having lymphedema. A cut or scrape, no matter how small it is, can lead to potential problems because of the compromised lymphatic system.

  3. Compression
    The use of high quality compression garments can help reduce the swelling. There are special types of garments that can create an added pressure on the arms or legs, resulting to an improved flow of the lymphatic fluid outside the affected limb.

These are just some of the things one can do to prevent lymphedema pain and other consequences of a lymphedema.

Image: Marina del Castell

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