Lymphedema and Alcohol

The Link Between Alcohol and Lymphedema

Is it harmful for someone with lymphedema to drink alcohol? As with other factors that affect your health and well being, the choice is up to you. Here are some quick facts about lymphedema to help you decide whether drinking alcohol is a healthy choice for you.


·         Alcohol has a diuretic effect. This means that it stimulates the kidneys and causes them to excrete more fluid from the body. This has a negative effect on tissues affected by lymphedema.

·         Alcohol is high in empty calories that do not supply any beneficial nutrients. These empty calories can contribute to weight control problem, which is an increasingly recognized factor in the onset and management of lymphedema.

·         Alcohol causes the blood vessels to expand and this increases the amount of fluid that accumulates within the tissues. It is the role of the lymphatic system to remove excess fluid, and, in normal tissues, this is not a problem. BUT

·         When lymphedema is present, the lymphatic system is either malformed or damages and some individuals have reported swelling following alcoholic intake.

·         Alcohol is well-known for disrupting the ability to think clearly and logically. This can lead to poor judgment and can interfere with compliance in following through on the self-management program that is so important to controlling your lymphedema.


Points to Consider:

  • In the absence of proof about the effects of alcohol on lymphedema, it is up to the individual to make a decision about alcohol consumption. A good starting point in making the decision is the often quoted advice: All things in moderation.
  • If you enjoy drinking in moderation, pay close attention to how the lymphedema affected tissues of your body react to alcohol consumption. If swelling increases, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink may help.
  • After drinking alcoholic beverages, it is recommended that you consume larger than usual quantities of water.
  • Increasing self-massage and exercise will help more rapidly clear the toxins from your body after you have been drinking.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages during airplane flights because the cabin air is very dry. This dries the body and increases your thirst. Drink water in generous quantities.


More information can be found at


Physical Therapy, PC

1328 University Ave
Rochester NY 14607-1622

phone: 585-482-5060
Fax:     585-482-7982

CHPT Facebook


Monday 9 am - 6 pm
Tuesday 9 am - 6 pm
Wednesday 9 am - 6 pm
Thursday 9 am - 6 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed


CHPT is accepting new patients!

New Patient Information Here

New Patient Forms

Remember, you can decide which PT clinic is best for you!

Take our Patient Satisfaction Survey!



Copyright 2024 by Callan Harris Physical Therapy, PC Terms Of Use Privacy Statement
Back To Top