Reviewed by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

The uncontrolled growth of lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM, cells and their effect on nearby body tissues causes the signs and symptoms of LAM. The most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity. At first, shortness of breath may occur only during high-energy activities. Over time, you may have trouble breathing even during simple activities, such as dressing and showering.

  • Chest pain or aches. This pain may be worse when you breathe in.

  • Frequent cough. This may occur with bloody phlegm.

  • Wheezing.

Other signs and symptoms of LAM include:

  • Pneumothorax, or collapsed lung. This condition can occur if lung cysts rupture through the lining of a lung. Air that collects in the space between the lung and chest wall must be removed to reinflate the lung.

  • Pleural effusions . This condition can occur if bodily fluids collect in the space between the lung and the chest wall. Often the fluid contains a milky substance called chyle. The excess fluid in the chest may cause shortness of breath because the lung has less room to expand.

  • Blood in the urine. This sign may occur in women who have kidney tumors called angiomyolipomas.

  • Enlarged lymph nodes. These usually occur in the abdomen or the chest. Very rarely, enlarged lymph nodes may occur in locations where they can be felt, such as the neck or under the arms.

  • Abdominal swelling, sometimes with pain.

  • Other bodily swelling, such as in the legs, ankles, or feet.

Other diseases also can cause many of these signs and symptoms. It's important to see your doctor and find out what's causing these problems.

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