Natural Max Health Improving Your Health: Essential Knowledge Series
As we continue our discussion about the lymphatic system, I want to highlight the importance of maintaining its health and, more importantly, learning to identify the signs of an unhealthy one. Your ability to quickly recognize the symptoms of a malfunctioning lymphatic system is crucial to your overall well-being as it performs several vital bodily functions:
- Supports the immune system by removing toxins, dead blood cells, pathogens, and other waste
- Aids the body in absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins during the digestion process
- Removes excess fluids such as lymph from the spaces between the cells and organs of the body
When the lymphatic fluid is blocked, toxins and waste cannot be disposed of by the body as fluid from the tissues cannot enter the lymphatic system. This backup prevents the cells from getting necessary nutrients and oxygen, resulting in toxic buildup. At this point, your body lives in dirty fish tank water with no pump or filtration system. As a result, the cells lose metabolic efficiency and can no longer do their job. If left untreated, this process can lead to the development of degenerative conditions, inflammation, sickness, and disease.
Signs of an Unhealthy Lymphatic System
To keep your lymphatic system healthy, one must know the signs that may indicate a problem. Swelling and enlarged lymph nodes in your neck are common symptoms you may experience if your lymphatic fluid isn’t moving efficiently. A sluggish or clogged lymphatic system can adversely affect various parts of your body, including your skin and digestive system.
Did you know that around 70% of our lymphatic system lies directly under the skin?According to the National Institutes of Health
Skin problems – Poor lymph draining can cause inflammation and reduced circulation, leading to skin problems such as dry, itchy skin, loss of elasticity, premature aging, rashes, warts, acne, recurring infections, and fluid leaking through the skin. It can cause fibrosis, leading to hard, tight, or thickened skin and other skin disorders.
Frequent colds and flu– The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. When the lymphatic system is not functioning correctly, the immune system weakens, leading your body to experience more colds, bacterial infections, and a persistent cough.
Headaches – Inadequate drainage of lymph and sinuses can cause headaches due to inflammation and pressure. The lymphatic system drains cerebrospinal fluid and waste byproducts, allowing for new fluid formation.
Bloating and digestive issues – It has been suggested that all diseases originate in the gut. Therefore, it should be no surprise that poor lymph drainage in the gut can cause health issues, given that 30% of the lymphatic system is assigned to this area.
The abdominal area is rich with lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic fluid from the lower body and reproductive organs connects with the digestive lymphatic vessels in the abdomen. This region has the largest node in the body, which filters proteins and fats from our digestive process. Constipation and irregular bowel movements are common symptoms of congested lymph due to inflammation and water imbalances. Food sensitivities can also indicate congested lymph. Improper drainage in the gut area can also cause metabolic rate imbalances, which can lead to weight gain.
Fatigue/Stress – Chronic fatigue is a condition that lasts for at least six months and interferes with daily activities and social life. The cause of chronic fatigue is a controversial topic. However, it is often observed that chronic fatigue and stress are associated with factors such as repeated stress (whether physical, dietary, or emotional), traumatic events, inflammation, and hormone imbalances. People experiencing chronic fatigue often have impaired lymph drainage, which causes the accumulation of toxins in the body and affects all the body’s systems. Rest is not an effective treatment for this condition, and improving lymphatic drainage may be a critical factor in feeling better.
Soreness/Stiffness – If you experience frequent stiffness, soreness, or restricted range of motion, it may be due to sluggish or congested lymph fluid. Additionally, you may have lingering pain or tightness with no apparent explanation.
Swelling – Swelling can occur in all or part of a limb or another part of the body. It can be challenging to fit into clothes, shoes, and jewelry. At first, the swelling may come and go. It may be difficult to discover what triggers the change in fluid retention. It may get worse during the day and go down overnight. Without treatment, it will usually become more severe and persistent. If your limbs are swollen, you may experience aching, heaviness, difficulty with movement, repeated skin infections, different skin textures, folds developing in the skin, and pitting.
Allergies – Repeated sinus infections, worsening allergies, and increased occurrences of head colds are signs that your lymphatic fluid is not effectively moving. When sinus congestion occurs, bacteria and viruses can drain from the nasal cavities into the stagnant fluid in the sinus cavity, causing an infection. The feeling of having a stuffy nose, congestion, and an abundance of mucous are symptoms of a backed-up lymphatic system. It is important to note that a person with a clogged lymphatic system, who either has mold in their home or work environment, can be more sensitive to it than someone with a normal functioning lymphatic system who can push toxins out.
Cold or stiff hands and feet – the lymphatic system is responsible for proper circulation; without good circulation, your hands and feet may feel colder than usual. You may also have stiff fingers, making it hard to grip things or even make simple tasks like writing or typing a challenge,
Brain fog – If the lymph fluid does not drain properly, toxins can accumulate in old cerebrospinal fluid, leading to feelings of exhaustion, confusion, and sluggishness. Additionally, studies have linked clogged lymph nodes to symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
Cellulite – If you’ve noticed an increase in cellulite on your body – those bumpy-textured areas of your skin – it could be due to improper lymphatic drainage. The appearance of cellulite occurs when fat cells move into the upper layers of the skin due to damaged connective tissue and cells, creating lumps on the surface of your skin. While it’s normal to have some cellulite, issues with your lymphatic system can cause it to increase in size and reach due to the fluid trapped in the skin’s tissue.