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Elephantiasis is a syndrome characterized by limb enlargement, especially the legs, arms and—in men—swelling of the scrotum, a condition called hydrocele.
The condition is caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lymph system (lymphedema). Fluid build-up leads to swelling and gross enlargement of a body part. It can affect any body part. Elephantiasis doesn’t just result in swelling; the skin can become thick, dry and pebbled in appearance. Ulcerations, darkened areas and pitted skin are also common. In addition to these signs, patients often have chills, fever and a general feeling of being unwell.
Although the condition can be alarming, treatment is possible in some cases. For example, elephantiasis nostras (a condition that results from chronic lymphangitis) can be treated with antibiotics, limb elevation and compression. In obese patients, weight loss can help resolve symptoms. This concise book guides you through the causes of elephantiasis, diagnosis and available treatment options.