For cancer survivors, lymphedema is a real possibility. Sometimes this condition continues for months if not years after surgery or cancer treatments.
This condition affects the lymph system. Lymphedema interferes with the flow of the lymph system leading to a build-up of fluids in the extremities, face, neck, and abdomen.
If you want to manage lymphedema here are five simple tips to help you reduce the symptoms associated with it.
Change Your Diet
Clean eating is so important in helping to reduce the symptoms associated with lymphedema. A healthy diet is one of my biggest tips for managing lymphedema.
Foods I would recommend incorporating into your diet include:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Protein
Foods I would recommend avoiding in your diet include:
- Fatty Foods
- Foods High in Sodium
- Boxed Meals & Foods
- Sugary desserts and snacks
Be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Many foods can cause inflammation, making it more challenging for your lymphatic system. If you are fighting obesity, it is all the more important to stay vigilant. I would recommend starting a food diary to keep track of your eating habits.
Exercise is so important for many different reasons. When it comes to managing lymphedema, exercise is one of the best ways to stimulate lymph fluid.
If you aren’t interested in running or highly aerobic exercises, many of my clients have told me they love what yoga and swimming do to help reduce lymph volumes. Strength training is another great exercise option.
Not only does exercise help reduce the signs of lymphedema, but it also provides you with increased confidence and self-esteem.
Before you start an exercise program, be sure to consult with a physician who specializes in lymphedema to avoid setbacks. You can read more of my suggestions for exercise on this post.
Did you know that you can manage lymphedema symptoms right from home? That’s right, you can perform simple self-lymphatic massage techniques on a daily basis to support compromised lymph flow.
For massage techniques you can do on your own, simply google “self-lymphatic massage for lymphedema.” You can also come to visit me in the office to receive a lymphatic massage from a certified lymphatic therapist.
Pay Attention to Hydration
Staying hydrated is another great tool to manage lymphedema. It might sound counter-intuitive but staying hydrated can help the lymph system move lymph fluid.
Additionally, hydration tells the body it is safe to release excess fluids. You’ll notice that diuretics that are used for other health conditions are not effective for lymphedema. Focus on natural hydration for the best results.
Invest in Compression Garments & Avoid Restrictive Clothing
Another way you can manage lymphedema is by using compression garments. The type of clothing you wear and how you wear it can either hinder or help your lymph fluid circulate.
A proper compression garment can manage lymph volumes throughout your torso, arms and legs. This is my recommendation for compression garments or check out your local medical supplier.
I also highly recommend avoiding restrictive clothing. Read more about the pitfalls of tight clothing on my recent blog post.
I hope these tips for managing lymphedema give you a good basis to work from. For more information, feel free to reach out to me via my contact page or comment below!