Benefits of Compression Sleeves

 Overview - 

As we continue to serve our patients throughout Central Oregon from the communities of Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Sisters, Madras, La Pine, and all communities in between we are regularly being asked about the benefits of wearing compression sleeves, so we decided to write this blog post to help our patients gain a better understanding of the benefits of wearing compression sleeves. 

 

What are Compression Sleeves?

A compression arm sleeve is a compression garment that is worn on your arm. These garments can be found in a wide variety of compression strengths and can be used to help maintain healthy circulation. 

 

Benefits of Wearing Compression Sleeves

They help improve blood circulation to reduce excess swelling and build up muscles, ligaments, and tendons to help protect muscles from future injury. They also have health benefits for those who may be suffering from a circulation problem as they promote the flow of blood back to your heart. For example, following mastectomy surgery, a compression sleeve enhances blood flow to the surgical site to aid the healing process. 

Compression sleeves can help your arms from getting tired and they can also ease swelling. Basically, they improve your blood flow and lessen pain and swelling in your arms. Active people wear compression sleeves to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. People who suffer from circulatory issues use arm sleeves to help promote healthy blood flow. 

They also have different levels of pressure, measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Sleeves should feel snug, but not painfully tight. mild compression, with lower numbers, is usually enough to keep you comfortable with an active lifestyle. You may need higher compression strengths to manage a serious health condition. 

Here are a couple health conditions that compression arm sleeves can be helpful with: 

 

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a condition of the lymphatic system that causes lymphatic fluid to be retained in the limbs because of problems in the channels that typically carry it back toward the heart and into the bloodstream. Symptoms can range from slight swelling and a feeling of “heaviness” in the limbs to extreme deformity – also known as Elephantiasis. Compression arm sleeves are an essential part of helping control lymphedema. Wearing compression sleeves helps relieve early-stage fluid retention before it worsens. 

 

Click here to learn more about how compression can help with lymphedema.  

 

Circulation Problems

Compression sleeves can improve circulation and fight swelling and discomfort. People wear compression sleeves for comfort, to do better in sports, and to help prevent serious medical conditions. Basically, they improve your blood flow. 

If you are experiencing any of these health condition you may want to ask your doctor if compression sleeves may help. If your doctor thinks they may help you, at Mariposa we carry a wide range of compression sleeves in non-medical and medical compression strengths. 

 

Who Should Consider Wearing Compresson Sleeves?

Anybody struggling with one of the above health conditions. 

People who are recovering from a recent surgery, especially breast surgery.

Athletes and active people.

 

How to Wear Them

Getting the right fit is essential to obtain the benefits of compression sleeves as well as get them on. Our certified Compression Fitters will take specific measurements to obtain the correct size. Once you have been properly sized and are ready to put your arm sleeve on for the first time there are several keys to your comfort and the therapeutic affects you receive from them. Smooth out the sleeve so it lies flat against your skin. Avoid bunching the fabric. Make sure the sleeves aren't too long. Don't fold or roll the top down. This can make them too tight. It could cause blood flow problems or cut off your circulation like a tourniquet. At Mariposa our certified Compression Fitters will help you learn how to put on (don) and take off (doff) your compression sleeves. For people who have trouble there are donning aids available to assist you including donning lotions and gloves as well as butlers.

 

Click here to see some of the options of compression sleeves we have at Mariposa! 

 

Benefits of Wearing Compression Stockings/Socks

Overview

 As we continue to serve our patients throughout Central Oregon from the communities of Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Sisters, Madras, La Pine, and all communities in between we are regularly being asked about the benefits of wearing compression stockings, so we decided to write this blog post to help our patients gain a better understanding of the benefits of wearing compression stockings. To see the full range of compression stockings and compression socks please click here

 

What are They?

Compression stockings or socks are specially made, snug-fitting, stretchy socks that gently squeeze your leg. Graduated compression or pressure stockings are tighter around your ankle and get looser as they move up your leg. Leg compression sleeves (or Leggings) are just the tube part, without the foot. You can buy them over the counter, but if your doctor prescribes them, your insurance may cover the cost. At Mariposa if insurance is going to be billed, we will take care of that for you.

 

Benefits of Wearing Compression Stockings/Socks

Generally speaking, wearing compression stockings can keep your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling in your feet and ankles as well. They may even stop you from feeling light-headed or dizzy when you stand up. Basically, they improve your blood flow and they can lessen pain and swelling in your legs. People wear compression socks for comfort, to do better in sports, and to help prevent or treat serious medical conditions. For example:  

 

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a condition of the lymphatic system that causes lymphatic fluid to be retained in the limbs because of problems in the channels that typically carry it back toward the heart and into the bloodstream. Symptoms can range from slight swelling and a feeling of “heaviness” in the limbs to extreme deformity – also known as Elephantiasis. Compression garments are an essential part of helping control lymphedema. Wearing compression helps relieve early-stage fluid retention before it worsens. Compression can also aid in keeping patients active, which is a necessity, and keeping fluid from returning to affected limbs in more advanced cases.

 

Varicose Veins

 About 40 percent of the US population may be affected by chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that can lead to more serious issues, including varicose veins. If you have chronic venous insufficiency, you typically experience heavy legs and swollen ankles at the end of the day. You may also experience pain or night cramps in your legs. These symptoms occur when the valves in your veins become damaged, and it becomes difficult for blood to move up your legs toward your heart against gravity. If venous conditions and related symptoms affect you, compression stockings can help.

 

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic illness that can require lifelong treatment and care. Many complications can occur, some of which affect the feet. If you have diabetes, you’re at risk of developing serious complications like foot infections. Not attending to diabetic foot care carefully and consistently can lead to amputation of the toes, feet, or even the entire leg below the knee. Practicing good foot care, such as choosing appropriate compression socks, is essential for preventing possible complications. If you are diabetic ask your doctor if wearing compression stockings may help manage your diabetes.

 

Who Should Consider Wearing Compression Stockings?

  • Anybody struggling with one of the above health conditions. 
  • People who are recovering from a recent surgery.
  • Those who can't leave their bed or have a hard time moving their legs.
  • People who stand all day at work.
  • Athletes.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People who spend long stretches of time on airplanes.

 

How do Compression Stockings Work?

The pressure these stockings put on your legs helps your blood vessels work better. The arteries that take oxygen-rich blood to your muscles can relax, so blood flows freely. The veins get a boost pushing blood back to your heart. 

They also have different levels of pressure, measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Stockings should feel snug, but not painfully tight. Mild compression, with lower numbers, is usually enough to keep you comfortable on your feet at work. You may need higher compression strengths to manage a serious health condition. 

 

Types of Compression Stockings/Socks

Medical grade compression stockings are available in knee high, thigh high and waist (pantyhose) high lengths. The majority of people will benefit from knee high stockings. However, there are some people who need the additional compression above the knee that is delivered by thigh or waist high stockings. You should always follow your doctor’s direction on the length of stockings you wear. Another feature choice is open toe or closed toe. Because the compression in a stocking begins at the ankle, having open toe or closed toe is usually a personal preference. In some cases, your doctor might want you in a specific toe-type. You should always follow this direction when specified by your doctor. When the doctor leaves this decision in your hands, the choice usually is made by comfort. At Mariposa, we find that it is pretty even between those who prefer open toe and those who prefer closed toe. Some people find open toe stockings a bit easier to put on their feet (donning).

 

To learn more about the benefits of compression stockings click here

 

Call us today at (541) 383-8085 to learn more about how compression stockings or socks may help you lead a healthier life!  

Mastectomy Products

Understanding Your Immune System

This timely article was published on the “BreatCancer.org” website (click here for the actual article). The information was so helpful that we wanted to share it with you.

When your immune system is weakened by cancer treatments, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself against infection. These steps become absolutely critical if your doctor has confirmed that your white blood cell counts are low. During and even after treatment, your body might temporarily be unable to combat bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs.

In addition, there can be a long-term risk of infection if you had lymph node removal. Generally, the more lymph nodes and vessels removed, the higher the risk — and the risk doesn’t go away after your incisions heal and cancer treatment ends. You’ll want to take special care to protect the skin of your arm, hand, and upper body (on the same side as your surgery) from any cuts, bug bites, burns, or other injuries. If you do get a cut, apply antibacterial ointment and a band-aid promptly. Infection can increase your risk of developing the condition known as lymphedema, in which lymph fluid “backs up” in the arm, hand, and/or torso and causes swelling and discomfort.

 Below are some of the precautions most often recommended for people whose immune systems are weakened by cancer treatment. These can help lower your risk of infection, but they can’t eliminate it completely. If you experience any symptoms of a possible infection, get medical attention right away.

 

Personal Hygiene

Wash your hands frequently throughout the day with warm soap and water. Always wash your hands before you cook or eat; before touching your eyes, face, or nose; after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose or coughing; and after being in a public place or at a public gathering.

If you don’t have access to soap and water right away, use hand sanitizer.

Brush your teeth with an extra-soft toothbrush in the morning, between meals, and before bed. Ask your doctor if dental floss is OK. He or she may recommend a gentle mouthwash; harsh, alcohol-based mouthwashes should be avoided.

If you have a chemotherapy port, keep the area clean and dry. Ask your nurse for instructions on how to care for the port area.

Clean yourself well but gently after going to the bathroom. Soft moist wipes are a good idea. If you have irritation or bleeding, report it to your doctor or nurse.

Take a warm (not hot) bath, shower, or sponge bath every day. Be gentle on your skin, patting it dry lightly. Pay attention to areas where bacteria gather, such as the underarms and groin area.

 

Avoiding Cuts or Skin Breaks

Push your nail cuticles back after a shower and keep them moisturized. Don’t cut, bite, or tear them. Avoid manicures or pedicures.

Take care when using knives, scissors, or needles. Use a thimble for sewing.

Wear protective gloves for activities that could injure the skin, and try to find gloves that extend up the arm. These include rubber gloves for cleaning or washing dishes; gardening gloves for planting, pruning, and outdoor chores; and oven mitts for cooking and grilling. You can get chef’s gloves to use when cutting with sharp knives or using a grater.

Try not to touch or scratch pimples, rashes, or bug bites.

To avoid bug bites, use insect repellents that won’t dry out the skin and don’t contain harsh chemical ingredients. Avoid brands that contain a significant amount of alcohol. Any ingredient that ends in “ol” is a type of alcohol.

Moisturize daily to keep skin supple and prevent cracking. Try a gentle lotion such as Eucerin, Moisturel, or Aquaphor.

Try a cream hair-remover (try one labeled for sensitive skin) instead of a traditional razor to remove hair. Be sure to test any hair-removing creams on another area of the body first. 

Wear shoes inside and out of the house.

Apply antibiotic ointment — such as Bactroban, Neosporin, Polysporin, or a store-brand ointment with the same ingredients — to any insect bites, torn cuticles, or cuts you notice. Cover cuts with a band-aid and report any signs of infection to your doctor.

 

Avoiding Germs 

Try to avoid large crowds (concerts, crowded movies, school events, airports) as much as you can.

Stay away from people who have a cold, flu, virus, or any sickness you can catch. 

Stay away from people who have recently been vaccinated against chickenpox, smallpox, polio, measles-mumps-rubella, or shingles. It’s best to avoid these people for at least 3 weeks after they’ve been vaccinated. 

Wear protective gloves when gardening or cleaning, or helping children with the bathroom/diapering. Wash your hands after taking off the gloves.

Try to have someone else pick up after your pet, collect trash, and take out the garbage. 

Clean frequently touched items at home and work with antibacterial cleaning wipes. Examples include door handles, phone receivers, keyboards, and TV remotes.

Don’t get into pools, hot tubs, water parks, lakes, or ponds.

Don’t share towels, drinking glasses, or utensils with others in your house without washing them first in hot water.

 

Practicing Food Safety

Wash your hands well after handling and preparing foods such as meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Wash produce well, even if it comes in a package that says it’s “prewashed.”

Cook meat thoroughly.

Don’t eat foods or drink juices that haven’t been pasteurized. These can include certain kinds of milk, cheese, yogurt, and fruit juice.

Consider cooking vegetables rather than eating them raw.

Refrigerate leftovers promptly. 

Do not eat any outdated food. 

Avoid foods with mold in them. 

Avoid raw sprouts and nuts.

Call us today at (541) 383-8085 to learn more about the care we can provide you during your breast cancer journey! 

Mastectomy Bras

Your Post Mastectomy Options

It still surprises me when a woman spends some time with us at Mariposa and then says, “I never knew these products were available.” She either didn’t know that post-mastectomy bras and prostheses exist, or that her insurance provides coverage for them.

The Legislation Behind Women’s Health Choices

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (see this link) provides each woman with the ability to choose what she wants after a mastectomy. It not only allows for reconstruction but also for prostheses as an option to help a woman obtain a balanced and symmetrical appearance after breast surgery. In general terms, this means insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, must include benefits that allow for these choices.

The Products

At Mariposa, we carry both non-silicone and silicone prostheses (see https://mariposaoregon.com/mastectomy-products/ for some examples). Within these broad categories are a multitude of options. There are prostheses for women who are very active and sweat a lot. There are prostheses for women who have had partial mastectomies and don’t need a full prosthesis. There are prostheses that weigh less than a pound and others that are heavy. There are so many options available to help you achieve the look and feel that you need and want. And the options for pocketed bras to fit the prostheses inside of are just as varied.

Getting Insurance to Pay

In order to help ladies with this, a post-mastectomy boutique must be accredited as a Durable Medical Equipment facility. This allows us to contract with insurance carriers so that we can process your claim. It also means we must staff our business with Certified Mastectomy Fitters. We have two certified women at Mariposa (https://mariposaoregon.com/about-mariposa-boutique/). Abby and I love helping ladies feel beautiful again. We are well versed in what we need to do to submit your insurance claim and can help figure out what your particular plan coverage is. 

If you are reading this and had no idea you have choices and options, we hope you will allow us the opportunity to introduce you to them and help you navigate the insurance process to obtain them. It would be our honor!

Can Compression Really Help Me?

At Mariposa Boutique, we help a lot of people with compression for a variety of needs. One of the comments we often hear them make before they even leave is “Wow, it feels so good!”

Why Compression Feels Good

Blood and lymphatic fluid flow throughout our body. Ideally these fluids will flow all the way to our hands and feet and then back to our heart and out again. This circulatory process happens continuously without us even realizing it. Until something happens to get in the way. Something as simple as pressure changes during air travel can cause swelling in lower legs and feet. And something more complex like disease or damage can cause swelling in any body part. Swelling is uncomfortable at best and can contribute to more serious health issues at worst. Graduated compression garments help keep swelling down and improve the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. And this most often feels so good!

What is a "Graduated" Compression Garment?

This simply means that the greatest amount of pressure is at the ankle or wrist. The pressure decreases as the garment goes up the arm or leg. The effect this has on the fluid flow is to push it back towards the heart. But not all garments are graduated. Some, like compression camisoles, will deliver equal pressure throughout the garment. There are so many unique garments available. We discuss a sampling of these on our compression page at: Compression Garments.   

Who Should Wear Compression Garments?

We always recommend that you consult with your primary care doctor or a specialist if you have any health concerns (DVT, skin ulcers, varicose veins) that are leading you to consider compression. If you don’t have a health concern, but maybe you work at a job where you are on your feet the entire workday, then even a low level (15-20mmHg) of compression could possibly help your legs feel less achy and tired at the end of the day. Or if you travel by air, graduated compression stockings could possibly help keep swelling down in your legs. Or maybe you are an extreme sport athlete who wants help with post-exercise muscle recovery (see https://simplifaster.com/articles/compression-garments-performance-recovery/  for info on this).

Regardless of the reason you have for considering compression, we can talk to you about the wide range of available options and help you get the perfect fit for you, so you leave Mariposa saying “Wow, it feels so good!”

womens wigs

Women’s Hair Loss

When dealing with Women’s hair loss, you may look at the shower drain, are you noticing more hair piled up than you used to? I’ve noticed that with the added stress from the COVID pandemic, I seem to be losing more hair. Or maybe it’s just part of aging. There are multiple factors that can lead to women’s hair loss.

Why Women Lose Their Hair

I have been amazed at the variety of reasons women come to Mariposa to purchase wigs. Some, like me, are experiencing hair loss due to stress. Some are losing hair because of hormonal changes, whether natural or medication induced. Many women have thinning hair as they age. Of course, we see a lot of women losing their hair because of chemotherapy treatment for a variety of cancer types. Alopecia, a condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles, is another cause of hair loss. And sometimes there is a trauma or injury to the scalp that leads to hair loss. Or maybe it was just a bad haircut. I’m sure I haven’t listed all the reasons for women’s hair loss, but these are the most common ones we see.

The Experience of Losing Hair

It’s a struggle and emotionally charged when a woman is losing her hair. It’s an outward manifestation of what’s going on inside of your body. And it’s a reminder each time you look in the mirror or see another person looking at you with a wondering gaze. It can be devastating to have had hair you loved and enjoyed styling piling up in the shower drain. My hair loss hasn’t even become noticeable to anyone but me, but I worry about what I will do if it continues (which probably doesn’t help!). And my situation is minor compared to so many women’s experience. But I do think it’s normal for all of us to want to look like we always have, or maybe even better than we think we have.

A Wig as a Solution

That’s probably one of the things I enjoy most about working with women who come into Mariposa looking for a wig. When we find just the right style or color and they say, “that looks like me!” it’s exciting. And wigs have come a long way with new technology. A current trend we see in women who color their hair, is to have darker roots than the rest of their hair. Now this is a trend in wigs as well. There are also wigs that have lace fronts, parts, and tops which allow natural skin to show through, just like it would with your own hair. And the number of styles, from super short to super long is amazing. You can take a look at a few of the many wigs available on our wig page. We carry Henry Margu wigs and you can see many more on their website. Whether you want to look like you always have, or try something completely new, a wig can be a solution to help with what you are going through. Maybe you’ll see me in one soon too…

Mariposa Exterior

Body Image for the Post Mastectomy Woman

“I hate my boobs!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked in the mirror and had that thought. I’m not sure if this is a U.S. thing or if women all over the world feel this way. I can say that until I became a Certified Mastectomy Fitter, helping women find mastectomy bras and prostheses after breast surgery, I was sure that most women’s breasts look like the ones we see in the movies or walking down the Las Vegas Strip. I am here to proclaim from the mountain tops, “IT’S NOT TRUE!” How freeing for me it is to know that other women have breasts that look like my imperfect pair. I’m sharing this because I really want women who have had a mastectomy (partial, unilateral, or bilateral) to know that other women look like them too.

Many, not all, of the women who we see at Mariposa are very self-conscious about removing their clothing for our mastectomy fitting appointments. This is understandable. Our breasts are a special part of our female body. First, we have them, and men don’t. Second, they are a natural part of our intimacy with our partners. Third, they are life-nourishing for our babies. There are other reasons that make our breasts special, but these are some of the tops.

So, what happens when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and has surgery to remove that cancer? Sometimes she feels like she isn’t normal anymore. I know this because I’ve had many women in a fitting appointment look in the mirror, after putting on a pocketed bra and prostheses for the first time post-op, and say “Oh my gosh, I look normal again!” The other thing I’ve noticed is how concerned some women are over their partner’s opinion of how they look. The need for affirmation from the person we are closest to is real. I’ve witnessed some raw emotions in these situations. If there are any men reading this, I think what your partner wants most is your attention on her and what she is going through now. She doesn’t necessarily want you to say she looks perfect just the way she is (she probably won’t believe you) but she does want to know that you are focused on trying to help her make choices that help her feel good about her appearance and make you happy too!

I love working with women and helping them make choices with bras and prostheses that give them confidence. It’s great that many of the products being developed are more comfortable and beautiful than in the past. See this link to see the types of products available: Mastectomy Products.  I’m thankful too that strides continue to be made towards these goals. But what I really want the post-mastectomy woman to hear from this is that “more women look like you (or similar) than you can imagine.” I hope this helps you!