• Jeanine Mewburn

Let's talk about lipoedema

Many websites discuss lipoedema describing all signs and symptoms attached to it. Therefore, should anyone want to know about it, the information is readily available online. Helen Eason, physiotherapist took a step further and discussed the "Assessment and differential diagnosis for lipoedema" or in other words how to distinguish lipoedema from other conditions that would resemble it at the ALA Conference. She also covered other conditions associated with lipoedema, for example varicose veins, which can cause swelling around the ankles and also low thyroid gland. She mentioned a type of lipoedema with the name of Dercum's disease, which causes fatty cysts called lipomas to be present in the trunk and other parts of the body. Dercum's is also called Adiposis Dolorosa, which literally means painful fatty deposits sensitive to a slight touch.

Mainly women have lipoedema and it is genetic. It can be present at birth, is often becoming noticeable at puberty or during pregnancy or when changes start in a women's life from 35 years of age onward. It appears that female hormones can play havoc with their body in key times of development in their life.

The reason for me to discuss lipoedema is because I would like to let you know that the conversation about it has started. I do remember in my teenage years that no one knew about it and that my friend's mum was putting blocks under the feet of her bed because she was trying to drain her legs at night, as she thought that fluid retention was the cause of her daughter's legs looking a bit thick around the ankles. It was not the case and should I had known about it at the time I could have helped her. What I would tell her today is that she needs to keep active, to keep her weight under control if possible because it is too hard to lose weight. Losing weight is not impossible but difficult and the weight may go away from anywhere else in your body first, except from where you want it to go. Should you try to lose weight, I would say "hang on to that 200g that you have lost in a week" because this is progress. Your body processes fat in a different way and deposits fat in places where you don't want it, like on your thighs. Don't forget though that the gynoid shape or pear shape in women is normal. These curves in a female body are normal and attractive. You may not have your legs looking like a runner's because the muscles of your legs are covered with a thicker lay of fatty tissue. It may be apparent though that you exercise regularly because you have that healthy glow and you may have the grace of a dancer because you are an active person.

Lipoedema is most difficult to manage and it is often confused with obesity when it gets out of control. The worst thing for a woman with lipoedema is about not understanding the condition, losing hope, looking at their weight ballooning and their life spinning out of control. Yes, the body composition is not the same for everyone, you may have low grade inflammation and fatty cells not behaving normally . Surgery for some can be an option and managing the underlying conditions like venous insufficiency is important to control the fluid associated with lipoedema. I find that having someone, a professional to talk to, can help develop strategies to support and manage the stress involved with living with lipoedema. I can help you with lymphatic drainage massage to stimulate your lymphatic system and excess fluid, advise you with specific exercises and compression where necessary. I understand where you come from and I can assist you to establish a management program to help restore your confidence and joy in life.






135 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All