Lymphedema Management & Massage for Lymphatic Drainage

In humans, the lymphatic system is responsible for removing cellular waste, absorbing those unhealthy fats in the digestive system, maintenance of proper body fluid levels and protecting the entire body from foreign invaders like bacteria that can cause illness. How healthy your lymphatic system is directly relates to one’s overall immune system health.

What Exactly Is Lymphedma & Lymphorrhea?

Lymphedema may occur later in live after age 35, and this is when the arms, legs, hands, feet and/or genitals become swollen with lymph pockets unable to move through the body as they are supposed to do. If this swelling is bad enough, the person might notice clear to slightly yellow or amber tinged watery fluid leaking out onto the skin surface overtop of where the swelling is. This condition is referred to as lymphorrhea.

The Amazing Journey of Lymph Fluid Through the Body

First, before becoming lymph, this fluid is part of the arterial blood plasma. Once inside tissues, the fluid is called extracellular fluid. This fluid flows into all of the tiny interstitial spaces within tissue where the fluid leaves needed oxygen and nutrients for healthy cell growth.

At the same time, the fluid also picks up unwanted cellular debris and waste. Almost all of this fluid still termed extracellular fluid will connect up with venous blood. The smaller remaining fluid amount is what doctors call lymph fluid.

The lymph fluid then continues to pick up and absorb harmful cellular waste as muscle activity also helps push or pump this fluid back up to the neck region. Along the way, the lymph fluid is filtered of its waste particles as the fluid passes through the cleansing lymph nodes.

Common Causes for Lymphorrhea Explained

The most common cause for lymphorrhea is surgery that involves removing lymph nodes due to cancer. Cancers of the neck and chest/breast area often result in lymphedema of the arms, underarms, hands and neck/jaw regions.

If the lymphedema is not treated promptly, the swollen area often begins to secrete drops of lymph fluid onto the skin’s surface. This generally occurs through small skin cuts, tears or abrasions that develop due to the underlying edema or swelling. The excess pressure than forces lymph fluid droplets out.

The Dire Importance of Addressing Lymphorrhea Quickly

If leaky lymph fluid is not immediately addressed, it can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening complications like cellulitis an infection of the skin. Skin infections are common because the lymph fluid that leaks out is high in proteins which are very irritating to the skin and can lead to skin breakage letting dangerous bacteria to enter the body.

Treat the Leaking Lymph Fluid

Clean affected skin area and apply clean dry dressings. Wrap the area with gauze wrap then elevate leg/arm to encourage drainage. Change bandages when wet. Often, a doctor will want the affected limb wrapped tightly with short-stretch compression bandage wraps for one to two days.

Click here to contact Perth Wellness Centre or call (08) 9321 1964 for more information about Lymphorrhea.