WHY COMPRESSION IS SO IMPORTANT?
Post-breast cancer lymphedema is a condition that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the affected area, most commonly in the arm or chest, due to damaged or removed lymph nodes. This can lead to swelling, discomfort, and decreased mobility. Compression garments play a vital role in managing this condition for several reasons:
- Boosts Lymphatic Flow: Compression garments apply gentle pressure on the affected area, promoting the movement of lymph fluid. The pressure helps to reduce the swelling and encourages lymphatic flow, which is essential for the body’s natural drainage system to function properly. By enhancing circulation and drainage, compression garments can minimize the discomfort associated with lymphedema.
- Reduces Fluid Accumulation: By compressing the affected area, compression garments prevent excessive accumulation of fluid. The constant pressure helps to maintain the proper alignment of tissues and prevents the buildup of lymphatic fluid. This reduction in fluid accumulation can alleviate swelling and provide relief to individuals with post-breast cancer lymphedema.
- Provides Support and Stability: Compression garments support the affected area, giving stability and minimizing the risk of further damage or injury. This stability is essential for individuals with lymphedema in the limbs, as the compression can help reduce the heaviness and discomfort experienced when performing daily activities or exercise.
- Improves Overall Quality of Life: Post-breast cancer lymphedema can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, both physically and emotionally. Compression garments alleviate physical symptoms and help individuals regain confidence and feel more comfortable in their bodies. They can enable individuals to carry out their daily activities more easily and participate in activities they enjoy without limitations.
- Prevents Progression of Lymphedema: Early intervention is critical in managing lymphedema effectively. Wearing compression garments in the early stages of lymphedema can prevent its progression and minimize the risk of complications. By consistently providing compression to the affected area, these garments can help keep the swelling under control and prevent further tissue damage.
GARMENTS WE LOVE FOR POST-BREAST CANCER LYMPHEDEMA
Compression garments can provide much-needed relief and support in managing this condition. Here are a few options that have proven effective for many women and ones we particularly love!
Juzo Soft Compression Arm Sleeve
The Juzo Soft Compression Arm Sleeve is a highly recommended garment for post-breast cancer lymphedema. Available in a wide range of sizes, this sleeve offers a perfect fit and ensures optimal compression. Its seamless design minimizes chafing, while moisture-wicking properties keep the skin dry and comfortable. The Juzo Soft Compression Arm Sleeve is an excellent choice for sensitive or easily irritated skin. Juzo also has beautiful trend colors and signature patterns that are just gorgeous!
Medi Harmony Sleeve and Gauntlet
Another excellent option is the Medi Harmony Sleeve and Gaunlet combination. This sleeve works well for those looking for a preventative compression garment and want to avoid purchasing both the sleeve and the gauntlet.
Solidea Active Massage Arm Sleeves
If you want a sleeve with less compression but still an effective compression garment, you might like the Solidea Active Massage Arm Sleeves. Active Massage fabric is designed with a massaging wave texture to stimulate lymphatic circulation and help manage swelling. This garment comes in a bolero style with the sleeves connected in the back.
GLOVES AND GAUNTLETS
Juzo Seamless Soft
Juzo Seamless Soft Gloves and Gauntlets are an excellent complement to the Juzo Soft Arm Sleeve. The seamless, soft fabric is comfortable for all-day use. The gloves come in trend colors, while the gauntlets come in trend colors and signature patterns to match your sleeve.
Juzo Expert Glove
However, if you want a glove with better containment, the Juzo Expert Glove would be your choice. This glove has a thicker fabric with less stretch, helping to contain swelling effectively.
Let me suggest the L&R ExoStrong Glove if you still need more containment. This glove is one of only a few flat-knit, over-the-counter garments you can purchase. Most flat-knit garments are custom-made only and can be quite expensive. However, this garment does run on the small size, and I recommend going up a full size.
CHEST WALL COMPRESSION
Prairie Wear Compression Bras
Regarding compression bras, I have yet to find one I like nearly as much as the Prairie Wear Prima and the Prairie Wear Vida. Prairie Wear provides optimal compression with 360• mapped compression, no seams. Sewn with a double layer for a full-length pocket. As a result, you can add prostheses, foam chip pads, or ice packs anywhere in the bra. You can also purchase an extension for these bras for comfort while sleeping or in the case of fluctuating size.
Wear Ease Slimmer
Wear Ease Slimmer provides compression for the underarms, back, chest, and abdomen. This camisole offers an excellent alternative to a compression bra. The Slimmer provides immediate relief from swelling discomfort caused by breast lymphedema. Therapists also recommend this compression garment for sleeping. Furthermore, the slimmer is also an excellent option for travel and exercise.
FOAM CHIP PADS
The management of lymphedema in the chest wall can be challenging. JoViPak Pads can offer a customized solution to meet individual needs. This foam chip pad works well for breast swelling and softens fibrotic areas. Use the JoViPak Unilateral Post-Mastectomy Pad with a Praire Wear compression bra or a Wear Ease Slimer compression camisole for maximum benefits.
L&R Swell Spots
L&R makes a variety of swell spots to fit every area of concern. The fabric is comfortable, breathable, washable, and has thermal release. The grey microfiber fabric grips the skin and encourages gentle tissue stretch, opening the initial lymphatics and encouraging re-absorption. Furthermore, swell spots help to break up fibrosis while protecting delicate skin. Finally, they disperse irregular pressures to prevent compression hot spots.
MANAGING POST-BREAST CANCER LYMPHEDEMA
Compression garments are crucial in managing post-breast cancer lymphedema, providing relief, support, and improved quality of life for survivors. It’s important to note that finding the most suitable compression garment for post-breast cancer lymphedema may involve some trial and error. However, when you find the one that works for you, the relief and improved well-being are worth it. Working closely with a healthcare professional or lymphedema therapist is essential to determine the proper level of compression, correct sizing, and suitability for individual needs.
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the
information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical
advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on
your specific condition.