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Understanding and Managing Lymphedema: The Science Behind the Body's Water Balance

Thursday 30th of March 2023 | Stephen Morrison, Editor-in-Chief

Lymphedema is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the lymphatic system, which is responsible for maintaining the body's water balance and immune function, is compromised. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and tissues that help remove waste, toxins, and excess fluid from the body's tissues.

When the lymphatic system is damaged, fluid can build up in the tissues, causing swelling, discomfort, and reduced mobility. This can lead to skin infections, limited limb function, and a decreased quality of life.

There are two types of lymphedema

Fig. Lymphedema in the CT scan

Primary lymphedema is a genetic condition that can manifest at birth or later in life, resulting from abnormalities or deficiencies in the development of the lymphatic system. There are different forms of primary lymphedemas, such as Milroy's disease, Meige's disease, and late-onset lymphedema, which can present in infancy, during puberty or pregnancy, or after the age of 35, respectively.

On the other hand, secondary lymphedema is caused by another condition or disease that damages the lymphatic system permanently. This can result from cancer treatments like surgery, lymph node removal, and radiation, as well as from cancer itself, trauma, injury, or infection. Extensive surgery, lymph node removal, and radiation treatment can all disrupt the normal functioning of the lymphatic system and lead to lymphedema. Tumors, trauma, and infection can also block or damage lymphatic pathways, resulting in lymphedema.

Stages of Lymphedema

Fig.1 Severity of upper extremity lymphedema in different stages

Fig. 2 Severity of lower extremity lymphedema in different stages

Stage 1: Asymptomatic, in which the lymphatic system experiences abnormal flow but no fluid build-up


Stage 2: Swelling, due to an accumulation of lymph fluid that may subside when elevated


Stage 3: Permanent selling that cannot be relieved through elevation, accompanied by changes in the skin (fibrosis)


Stage 4: Lymphostatic elephantiasis, or the extensive swelling, skin thickening, and scarring


Can lymphedema be painful? Does it cause other problems?

Yes, lymphedema can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling due to the accumulation of excess lymphatic fluid in the affected limbs. This can affect mobility, range of motion, and daily activities, and may also lead to skin changes, infections, and emotional distress. Prolonged sitting in an office setting with limited movement or improper posture can potentially trigger or worsen lymphedema by hindering the proper circulation of lymphatic fluid. It's important to incorporate regular movement, elevation, and proper posture to minimize the risk of developing or worsening lymphedema.

Perhaps most concerning is the risk of lymphangiosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that can develop in areas of long-term, severe lymphedema. This is why it's so important to seek treatment for lymphedema and work with your healthcare provider to manage the condition.

How Ginger Extract Supports Body Health and Wellness with its Impact on Water Retention and Circulation

Ginger extract, obtained from the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, contains bioactive compounds such as gingerols, shogaols, and zingerone, which exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic effects. Additionally, ginger extract's diuretic properties promote increased urine production, aiding in the reduction of water retention, while its vasodilatory effects improve blood flow and circulation.

Gingerols are known to improve blood circulation, which can help reduce swelling and water retention. Moreover, gingerols also act as antioxidants, which may protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Shogaols found in ginger reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve blood circulation, and protect against damage, potentially helping manage lymphedema symptoms.
Zingerone, found in ginger, may help with lymphedema by reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, relieving pain, improving blood circulation, and potentially supporting the immune system.

In addition to its potential benefits for lymphedema, ginger extract has been studied for its effects on other conditions, including nausea and vomiting, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties and may help to prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.


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Meet Michael, 45, a university teacher who had been struggling with lymphedema for years. He had tried various treatments and medications, but the swelling and discomfort persisted, making it difficult for him to perform daily tasks. One day, he stumbled upon an article about the benefits of ginger extract for lymphedema patients.


Day 1

Michael was intrigued but also skeptical about the effectiveness of ginger extract. He had never tried natural remedies before, and he wasn't sure if it would work for him. But he decided to give it a try, purchasing a bottle of ginger extract online.


Day 5

Michael started taking ginger extract and massaging his legs daily, but he didn't notice any significant changes in his condition. However, he continued to take it regularly, hoping for some relief from his lymphedema symptoms.

Day 14

After two weeks of using the ginger extract, Michael noticed that the swelling in his affected limb had decreased, and the discomfort had subsided. He was surprised but pleased with the results and decided to continue taking the ginger extract.



Day 30

Using ginger extract for a month, Michael experienced a remarkable improvement in his lymphedema. His affected limb was significantly less swollen, and he was experiencing minimal discomfort. He was grateful for the relief that ginger extract had provided him and continued to take it every day. Michael was amazed at how natural remedies could positively impact his condition and was eager to explore other alternative treatments for his lymphedema.


"I am so grateful to have discovered the amazing benefits of ginger extract for my lymphedema. I had been struggling for years with the swelling and discomfort and had tried so many different treatments and exercises with little success.


And now, just after a month, I can go running in the field and on hikes with my friends again. I can confidently wear my favorite jeans. I can now manage my daily activities with ease and joy, and I am so thankful for this wonderful natural remedy that has made such a difference in my life. I highly recommend that anyone who is dealing with lymphedema give this ginger extract a try – it truly is a gift from nature!” -Michael, 45, University Teacher