How can genital lymphedema be prevented?

Damage to the lymph system cannot be repaired. However, proper treatment can help control the swelling of genital lymphedema and reduce the chance of complications. The following are general guidelines to keep the genital lymphedema under control:

  • Alert a healthcare provider at the first signs of genital lymphedema. Leaving it untreated or waiting too long before starting treatment may lead to more serious problems that cannot be reversed.
  • Keep the skin clean and moisturized to help prevent infection, as fluid buildup makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Even small breaks in the skin should be treated with an antibacterial ointment.
  • Call a doctor if any signs of infection appear. These signs include redness, pain, swelling, heat, fever, or red streaks under the skin.
  • Make sure body fluids are able to flow easily. Do not cross the legs when sitting. Change position at least every 30 minutes. Avoid tight clothing or elastic bandages.
  • Do not expose the genitals to heat, such as that found in hot showers or saunas.
  • Take part in slow, carefully controlled exercises. An exercise plan should be designed by a certified lymphedema therapist.
  • Maintain an ideal body weight.

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