Lipedema awareness month is a campaign dedicated to raising awareness about Lipedema. It is marked every June to educate people about the condition, its symptoms, and available treatment options.
What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a chronic condition that presents as a symmetrical accumulation of adipose (fat) tissue mainly on the legs and is a disorder that primarily affects women. Fatty tissue buildup can also be seen in the hips and arms, but the hands and feet are not affected.
Onset is more common at times of hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
What causes Lipedema?
The exact causes of lipedema are unknown, but factors may include hormones, genetics, inflammation, metabolism, and abnormalities in the lymphatic system.
What are the symptoms of Lipedema?
Lipedema symptoms include:
Fat buildup in your butt, thighs, calves and sometimes upper arms on both sides of your body.
Bumps inside the fat that feel like there’s something under your skin.
Pain that can be from mild to severe and from constant to only with pressure.
A heavy feeling in your legs.
Skin that bruises easily.
Fatigue (feeling more tired than usual).
Lipedema occurs in stages
Lipedema slowly worsens with time in many people. Currently, there are four identified stages of lipedema:
Stage 1: Your skin looks normal, but you can feel something like pebbles under your skin. You can have pain and bruising at this stage.
Stage 2: Your skin surface is uneven and may have dimpling that looks like quilted stitching, a walnut shell or cottage cheese.
Stage 3: Your legs can look like inflated rectangular balloons and you have large folds of skin and fat. Fat on your legs may stick out, making it hard to walk.
Stage 4: You have lipedema and lymphedema at the same time.
How is Lipedema treated?
While there is no cure for lipedema, there are treatment options available to address your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.
Lipedema is treated by focusing on improving lymphatic flow, managing pain, reducing inflammation, and improving function.
Treatment options for lipedema include:
Exercise: Swimming, biking and walking help improve mobility and reduce swelling. Exercising in a pool can reduce stress on your joints, too.
An anti-inflammatory diet. *Remember: reducing calories does not reduce lipedema fat!
Compression stockings are particularly effective in both preventing and managing the progression of lipedema. The compression helps encourage the flow of lymph fluid out of the affected thighs and can greatly reduce swelling.
Medications or supplements can help with inflammation, swelling and other issues.
Antioxidant herbal medicine.
Lymphatic System Stimulation:
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD): A specialized hands-on, gentle manual technique that assists with moving the lymphatic fluid out and away from the affected body part.
Intermittent pneumatic compression pump: These devices are also known simply as “pumps” and help to move the lymphatic fluid out from the affected limbs. These are sometimes used in place of or in conjunction with MLD.
Surgery: Liposuction is the main surgical intervention for lipedema. Although there is limited research, studies have found “liposuction may be effective in reducing the size of the extremities and complaints associated with lipedema such as spontaneous pain, easy bruising, sensitivity to pressure, impairment in quality of life, restrictions to mobility, edema, feeling of tension and general impairment.”
If you have Lipedema, you aren’t alone
There is help available, and many people do well with conservative treatments including optimizing nutrition, staying active, performing MLD, and using compression garments.
Even though as high as 11% of the post-puberty female population are likely to suffer from Lipedema, it is still rarely recognized and diagnosed.
Many people are told to “just diet and exercise” which does not cure this condition.
“An early and accurate diagnosis is essential to appropriate treatment. It is important to generate appropriate awareness and identify better diagnostic and treatment options for lipedema so affected women can obtain the care that they need”.
At Lady Lymph we understand how uncomfortable this condition can be.
We are experienced and knowledgeable specialists and will help you alleviate those signs and symptoms.
Let's make June the month when Lipedema becomes a topic impossible to ignore!
Some people might be suffering from Lipedema unknowingly. Share to raise awareness.