“Diagnosis of genital oedema is often delayed due to problems with patient and health professional behaviour, in terms of embarrassment, lack of confidence or lack of knowledge. Awareness of this condition and knowledge on how to manage it will go a long way in helping both patients and clinicians overcome the challenges of addressing genital oedema.” Dr Rhian Noble-Jones, Casley-Smith International Instructor
This page includes some resources to help patients and practitioners understand genital lymphoedema.
Can genital lymphoedema occur?
Yes. Lymphoedema (chronic swelling) can occur in any area of the body.
Men, women or children can suffer from lymphoedema of the genitalia. When other conditions have been excluded, such as acute trauma (such as injuring the genital area) or pathology (such as an infection) and swelling remains for a few weeks to months, the condition may be diagnosed as genital lymphoedema.
Cases of primary lymphoedema can be particularly severe especially if there is an abnormality within the thoracic duct. The thoracic duct is the main lymph vessel in the abdomen that is responsible for draining lymph from both legs and the genital area.
Where can I learn more?
The international Lymphoedema Framework have produced a number of videos on genital lymphoedema they include:
This film shows you how to check for symptoms and how to manage them if you have or if you are at risk. Pelvic floor exercises are a key self-management tool so we talk you through how to do them.
Genital lymphoedema is not always easy to talk about but as with so many challenging conditions, early diagnosis and support can really help to manage symptoms.
Surgery is only considered for very severe cases of genital lymphoedema. This video explores some of the surgical options.