There are a lot of do’s and don’ts that come along with lymphedema, but probably one of the more annoying ones is the effect of alcohol. Alcohol has a diuretic effect, which stimulates the kidneys to excrete more fluid. Let’s not forget to mention the expanding blood vessels, which increase the amount of fluid that accumulates in the body tissues. The lymphatic system is supposed to remove all this extra fluid but, with lymphedema, this is obviously more of a problem.
When I drink, I often feel a tingling in my affected leg, and it will get a little warm and swell a bit. I’ve cut back on drinking recently (mostly due to another medical condition), but it’s very difficult – especially being a college student! I don’t like having to reshape my lifestyle according to my medical issues, but unfortunately that’s what I have do to keep them in check. I’m not gonna lie – I miss drinking, a lot, and I’ll still indulge every now and then. I make sure not to over-indulge, however, and will avoid hard liquor, sticking mostly with beer. I’ve realized that my body is the only one I’ll get, and I have to treat it right.
What about you? Do you find that drinking alcohol affects your lymphedema, or no? How often do you drink? Leave a comment!