If you live with edema —painful swelling in your arms, legs, or anywhere else your body — make an appointment with Noemi Quintanar, ND, RM, MT, at Pristine Naturopathic Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Quintanar diagnoses the cause of your edema and offers customized naturopathic treatments to stimulate lymphatic drainage and address the condition causing it. To learn more, call Pristine Naturopathic Medicine or book an appointment online today.

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Edema occurs when your muscles and other soft tissues in your body retain fluid and swell. You’re most likely to develop edema in your hands, feet, arms, and legs, although the condition can affect any part of your body.

Symptoms of edema include swelling or puffiness directly under your skin, which can make your skin look stretched or shiny. Your skin may also retain a dimple or pit after you press on it for a few seconds. Depending on the location of your edema, you may notice increased abdominal size.

In addition to the swelling, you may feel heaviness or tightness in the affected limbs. Edema can cause aches and tenderness and restrict your range of motion. Eventually, edema could lead to fibrosis —  a condition where your skin becomes hard and thick.

What causes edema?

Many factors and health conditions contribute to edema. For example, lifestyle factors such as leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating too much salt, or using medications such as high blood pressure (hypertension) drugs, steroids, and estrogens can lead to edema.

However, edema is also a sign of a possible underlying health condition such as:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cirrhosis
  • Kidney problems
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Lymphatic system damage

For example, lymphedema is a specific type of edema that occurs when your lymph nodes are damaged or removed during cancer treatments such as surgery and radiation. Cancer tumors can also block your lymphatic vessels and cause swelling.

How is the cause of edema diagnosed?

At Pristine Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Quintanar provides comprehensive exams and testing to identify the condition causing your edema. She asks questions about your medical history and lifestyle and may order additional testing or diagnostic imaging studies such as ultrasounds or MRIs to collect more information about your condition. Understanding the cause of your edema allows Dr. Quintanar to create a customized treatment plan to both reduce your swelling and address the condition causing it.

How is edema treated?

Dr. Quintanar offers naturopathic treatments such as nutritional supplements, including flavonoids and other herbal supplements, to stimulate reabsorption and effective lymph drainage.

In addition to massage and compression garments, Dr. Quintanar may also recommend LED or radiofrequency treatments to help your body remove excess fluid from your tissues and flush it out of your body. For example, many women who are fighting or who have survived breast cancer benefit from this treatment when the lymph nodes in their underarms have been damaged or removed.

If you live with chronic swelling in your feet, legs, hands, arms, or anywhere else in your body, call Pristine Naturopathic Medicine or schedule a consultation online today.