We know that when we exercise or get hot, we may see or feel beads of sweat on the skin. Having the same sensation when at rest can feel alarming. If you have lymphedema, it could happen. It is called Lymphorrhoea, the leakage of high-protein lymph fluid onto the surface of the skin. Here, we discuss this condition in more detail.
Lymphorrhoea is the weeping of fluid that most often occurs in the legs or genital areas but may also occur in the axillary area (armpits). It is more likely to occur when a person has prolonged mobility restrictions. The fluid that beads on the skin is usually clear but may also be milky or amber-colored. This leaking of lymph fluid is associated with the removal of inguinal or axillary lymph nodes. It may be triggered by nearly any trauma to the skin. Lymphorrhoea may occur after the skin has been cut or scraped, after an insect bite, or as a result of dry, cracked skin. Sometimes, a ruptured lymph cyst is a primary cause.
We like to be able to draw a straight line between cause and effect. With Lymphorrhoea, that isn’t always possible. Some people notice leakage onto the skin for no apparent reason. There is one; it just isn’t visible. Lymphorrhoea may occur spontaneously due to the high pressure of lymph fluid in deeper layers of the skin. Leakage occurs because the skin cannot stretch quickly enough to accommodate the buildup of fluid and the tiniest nick allows it to escape.
It is important to stop fluid leakage and promote tissue healing after Lymphorrhoea. This could include several steps. The first is to carefully clean the affected area with soap and water. Moisturizer should then be applied to prevent further tissue breakdown. The area should be covered with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage that can absorb fluid. Compression may be necessary, as well, but may need to be applied by a lymphedema specialist to prevent a tourniquet-like effect.
Lymphorrhoea is a problem that may affect people with lymphedema. Therefore, managing or obtaining treatment for lymphedema may be necessary. Dr. Patel has dedicated his career to helping patients recover well from the secondary effects of cancer treatment, including lymphedema. To schedule a consultation, call 323-442-0416.