What Causes Lymph Congestion?


Being dehydrated means that there is less fluid available in the body and that changes the composition of lymph.  Instead of being free-flowing like water, it can be more sludgy like jello. 

Think for a minute about the difficulty of drinking a glass of water through a straw.  It’s pretty simple.  Throw in some gelatin and let it set.  Now try to take a sip. Suddenly, it is much harder to get the water through the straw.  This is similar to having “sluggish” lymph.

If you were to add water to the gelatin mixture and stir (what happens when we move), then it would become easier to get the fluid back up the straw.


dehydration causes lymph congestion


The lymphatic system is sometimes thought of as the sewer system of the body.  When our bodies are exposed to toxins, they (hopefully) find their way into the lymphatic system so that they can be excreted from the body.

Although the lymphatic system is designed to help remove toxins, it can become overwhelmed.  A good way to think about this is to envision a 2-lane highway leading out of a city to the suburbs.  Most of the time, there is sufficient room for traffic to move about, but come rush hour everything backs up for miles and it takes sometimes hours for people to make it home.

toxins contribute to lymph congestion

Toxins are everywhere – even in our food!  Highly processed foods are the biggest culprits as they contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, additives, and flavorings.  These are not natural substances for the body and they cause a backup in the lymphatic system. 

Toxins are also all around us in the chemicals to which we are directly exposed.  These sources include pesticides on our food and in our homes; in our soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and detergents; dishwashing liquids; air fresheners and scented candles; lotions; etc.

Unlike rush hour traffic that is limited to a couple of hours in the morning and evening, toxins that enter the body from food are put in day and night, meaning that the lymphatic system never has a chance to catch up.  Throw in a bit of dehydration and things come to a standstill.  Instead of regularly clearing out toxins, our bodies become like cess pools.  No wonder we feel sick, lethargic, and are in pain!

Tight-Fitting Clothing

Clothes that fit tightly on the body (enough to leave any visible indentation after being removed) restrict the flow of lymph and prevent the body from clearing those areas of the body. 

Bras are notorious for being too tight and restricting lymphatic flow out of the breast.  Breast tissue is some of the most lymph-filled tissue in the body.  When bras, most especially underwire bras, are worn for most of the day, it causes the toxins in the breast to stay in the breast tissue.  Then, when the bra is removed at the end of the day, the lymph is sluggish and is likely not to drain well.

tight fitting clothing causes lymph congestion
lack of movement causes lymph congestion

Lack of Movement

As mentioned above, movement helps to stir up the lymph in the body.  Body movement also causes lymph to flow so that it can reach the lymph nodes where it is filtered.

Unlike the circulatory system which has a heart as a pump, the lymphatic system does not have a major pumping organ to make it move.  The body relies on movement to help lymph move along the channels that route it through the body.  This is why exercise (even if it is just a simple walk) is so important to a healthy body and healthy immune system.

Get Your Lymph Moving Again

The good news about congested lymph is that it’s easy to fix.  
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Electro-Lymphatic Therapy get your lymph flowing and make you feel great!
Make an appointment today with Pain & Swelling Solutions for Lymphatic Drainage Therapy.
get rid of lymph congestion with lymphatic drainage