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Genital Lymphedema

Written by Amy Hall
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What Is Genital Lymphedema?

Genital lymphedema is often the result of cancer-related surgeries. For instance, prostate, liver, lung, lymphomas, and abdominal cancers can cause swelling of the legs, which can also move into the genital area. It can also come secondarily to production of fluid into the abdomen which spreads into the legs.

When under treatment for any type of cancer, if protein levels fall into the lower levels, fluid will leak into the whole body, including the legs and genitalia. The same precautions you would take for lymphedema of the arm or leg, you would also need to take with genital lymphedema. As soon as you notice any swelling in the leg or genital region, you must seek medical attention to reverse this process before the problem escalates.

What You Can Do

Genital lymphedema is a devastating condition, which is made even more difficult because patients are often embarrassed to discuss it with their doctors. Treatment for this condition follows the same guidelines as treatment for lymphedema of the arm or legs. Usually, therapists will perform decongestive therapy, which involves Manual Lymph Drainage and compressive bandaging.

Bandaging is very difficult, because it is tricky to properly bandage and compress the entire genital region, on a man or a woman. Compression garments for the genital region are specially designed with velcro straps and odor control pads to provide the most comfort as well as the best compression. Only a well-trained therapist should even try to treat lymphedema of the genitalia, as it is difficult to do and it can be very intimidating for the patient.

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