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What is lipedema?

Lipedema is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of subcutaneous fat, mainly in the legs and hips. In a third of cases, it also affects the arms.

This little-known condition affects 11% of adult women.

It can cause significant pain, but is often misunderstood and under-diagnosed.

What can help you recognize lipedema?

  • Sore legs (in most cases)
  • Spontaneous bruising
  • Disproportion between slim waist and “fat legs
  • Symmetry in affected limbs
  • A hard, scalloped appearance that becomes more pronounced over time and is not to be confused with overweight.

Diagnosis is based on examination by a phlebologist or angiologist. The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) has a special department dedicated to this pathology.

Medical imaging techniques will confirm the diagnosis.

When should you consult your doctor?

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional if lipedema is suspected, as early diagnosis can help to treat the condition more accurately and therefore more effectively, and improve quality of life. In addition, it is important to raise awareness of lipedema so that those affected can receive the support they need to cope with this often misunderstood condition.

Why do we suffer from lipedema?

Today, the exact cause has yet to be determined. Hereditary and hormonal genetic factors may play a role. Lymphatic vessels are often more tortuous and of smaller caliber, which slows flow and favors water retention.

Certain periods in women’s lives may be more conducive to its development (puberty, pregnancy, menopause).

What natural treatments are there for lipedema?

Treatment generally consists of relieving symptoms and slowing the progression of lipoedema:

  • Adapted lymphatic drainage (a more intensive technique than traditional drainage) to reduce edema and pain;
  • Customized support with the help of an orthopedist;
  • Adapted exercise (water sports, walking, cycling, etc.); and
  • Control of calorie intake to prevent weight gain.

In some cases, liposuction may be considered if the above measures are no longer sufficient.

However, it is important that this is performed by a surgeon experienced in the treatment of this condition. In some cases, the operation may be reimbursed by the LAMAL if it is proven by the insurance company and the hospital that other measures are no longer sufficient.

Manual lymphatic drainage for lipedema

With proper, regular drainage, edema and pain can be relieved.

For more information on lymphatic drainage, click here.

La nutrition pour limiter son lipœdème

Controlling caloric intake is important to limit weight gain and the worsening of symptoms.

For more information on your nutrition follow-up, click here.

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