HealthCareMagic is now Ask A Doctor - 24x7 |

Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties
159 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM BlogQuestions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction
Article Home Adult and Senior Health Elephantitis (Lymphatic Filariasis, elephantiasis)

Elephantitis (Lymphatic Filariasis, elephantiasis)

Elephantitis (Elephantiasis) is a parasitic worm infection of the lymphatic system. It causes thickening of skin and the underlying tissue mainly of legs, male genital organs and female breasts.

Elephantitis is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread like worms. The adult worms live only inhuman lymphatic system.

It is a mosquito borne parasitic disease caused by thread like worms that live in the human lymph system. The worms causing this are wuchereria bancrofti, brugia malayi and brugia timori.

The enlargement of the limbs and other areas occur due to obstruction of lymphflow. Due to lymphatic obstruction, the back pressure in the lymphatic channels develops leading to dilatation of the superficial vessels, resulting in extreme swelling.


Signs and symptoms

  • Swelling of lymphnodes

  • Lymphedema

  • Swollen arm pit lypmhnodes

  • Swollen groin lypmhnodes

  • Breast swelling

  • Arm swelling

  • Elephantiasis

  • Fever

  • Massive leg swelling

  • Male genital swelling

  • Lymphangitis

  • Pain

  • Epididymitis

  • Hydrocele

  • Thickened skin

  • Scrotal swelling

  • Orchitis

  • Eosinophilia


  • Microscopic examaintion of the blood for the parasite

  • Lymphnode biopsy

Complications of Elephantitis

  • Lymph system damage

  • Kidney damage

  • Pain

  • Disfigurement

  • Sexual disability

  • Social rejection

Treatment of Elephantitis

  • Diethylcarbamazine

  • Antihistamines

  • Corticosteriods

  • In severe cases surgery may be needed.