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Lipoedema @ Trayah


What is Lipoedema?

Lipoedema is a chronic condition that affects women (men rarely) and involves the body producing an abnormal amount of adipose (fat) tissue and this fatty tissue settling under the skin - . usually around the hips, buttocks and thighs which then become disproportionately large in comparison with the rest of the body.  The hands and feet are left unaffected.  There are 4 stages and 5 types of Lipoedema although, these are more recently seen as outdated and this staging is being used less and less. 

What are the symptoms?

  • Legs that are larger in size especially around the hip, buttocks and thighs - ladies often find they have to buy clothes for the lower half of the body in larger sizes than the upper body

  • Fat pads below the knee or skin folds around the ankles

  • Affects both legs (bilateral)

  • Legs feel painful and heavy - having these symptoms, but no pain in the legs is not now considered Lipoedema, but Lipohypertrophy Lipoedema

  • Diet and exercise does not produce the same results for the affected limbs in comparison to other areas of the body

  • Higher inflammatory markers on blood tests

  • Due to condition, knees can become "knocked" and knee pain can increase with reduced range of motion

  • Evidence to suggest it is hereditary and triggered by hormonal episodes in a women's life

  • Long term emotional distress as a result of the symptoms


Weight gain is part of Lipoedema, but sadly, contrary to popular belief, research disagrees that Lipoedema causes weight gain.  Try telling that to the ladies that are suffering and struggling to lose weight though!  Research and the experts at the Foldi Clinic in Austria suggest weight gain is often as a result of the emotional distress caused by the other symptoms which has usually been going on for many years.  Weight gain and obesity can cause additional pain in the joints and also restricts movement which hinders exercise and quality of life, creating a viscous circle.  They would argue weight gain makes Lipoedema worse, not the other way around, however, this goes against all current practice guidelines.

This could be good news because if you can eat healthily and exercise you can reduce and improve Lipoedema and its symptoms AND prevent it from worsening.  You have power over the condition!  This is new thinking, but how empowering when so many women think there's nothing they can do. I think an open, non-judgmental mind is very important in relation to all this.


It was also thought that, If left untreated, Lipoedema can also lead to Secondary Lymphoedema due to adipose (fatty) tissue adding pressure to the already struggling veins and lymphatic vessels.  However, again, there is no evidence to actually support this.  Research does suggest it is actually the co-condition of obesity that puts pressure on the Lymphatic System causing Lymphoedema.  As 80%+ of patients with Lipoedema suffer with the condition obesity in addition, there are often these two conditions that need support and neither should be ignored.  

Treatment options:

These are personalised and tailored to the individual, but include:


  • Compression garments (these can be quite funky now!) to support the inflamed tissue, reducing pain and increasing movement

  • Skin care

  • Diet - there are many thoughts out there but due to there being a larger amount of inflammation in the body with Lipoedema, an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended.  This will help obesity and weight loss too due to it levelling sugar spikes and hormonal imbalances

  • Exercise & Mobility

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) - to reduce the pain and feeling of heaviness of the limbs  and can also reduce any oedema (fluid) that may be present in obesity-related Lymphoedema

  • Liposuction which is only available privately and care should be taken to ensure your chosen surgeon is experienced with Lipoedema

There are some great sites that you can visit for more information -, and


If you feel this is something you've been battling, I can help.  You can book in for an initial  assessment where a full health history is taken, you are listened to and a tailored plan put in place to support you. With your consent, a letter can be sent to your GP with the diagnosis/assessment for ongoing support and, if appropriate an onward referral to the Lymphoedema Service.  I can also request they prescribe compression garments (I prefer the leggings to support the whole leg and waist) subject to there not being any arterial issues.  I am able to measure you at a subsequent appointment.  

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