Lipedema: What is it, and how is it treated?

Lipedema is a disorder that affects the way fat is distributed in the body. It leads to swelling in the legs, thighs, and sometimes the arms. This condition is more common in women and can be painful. Treatment may include a combination of therapies, such as diet, exercise, manual lymphatic drainage, and surgery. Below, we’ll explore what lipedema is and how it can be treated.

What Is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a condition where fat builds up abnormally in certain parts of the body. Most often, it affects the legs and thighs, but it can also affect the arms. People with lipedema may notice that their legs are larger and feel tender or painful. This condition is different from regular weight gain or obesity. It’s a medical issue that needs to be treated by a healthcare provider.

Lipedema. (Photo by American Journal of Case Reports)

Symptoms of Lipedema

You might have lipedema if you notice:

  • Swelling in the legs, thighs, or arms
  • Pain or tenderness in the affected areas
  • A feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Skin that feels soft and can be easily bruised

Who Gets Lipedema?

According to medical research, lipedema is more common in women. While the exact cause is unknown, it might be linked to hormones, as it often starts during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.

How Is Lipedema Diagnosed?

If you think you might have lipedema, a doctor can help diagnose it. The diagnosis usually involves a physical examination and a review of your medical history. Sometimes, a healthcare provider might order additional tests to rule out other conditions.

Lipedema What is it, and how is it treated

How Is Lipedema Treated?

Treating lipedema can help reduce pain and improve the appearance of the affected areas. Here’s how it might be treated:

Eating Right

You might think that eating less would help, but it’s not that simple. A healthy diet is essential, but it won’t necessarily get rid of the fat deposits. However, eating nutritious foods can improve your overall well-being.


Exercising with lipedema can be challenging due to pain. But gentle exercises like swimming or walking can support the affected areas and help with circulation.

Compression Therapy

According to healthcare providers, compression therapy, which involves wearing special garments, can help reduce swelling. These garments apply gentle pressure to the affected areas and promote healthy blood flow.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

This therapy uses gentle massage to stimulate the lymphatic system. It helps reduce swelling and discomfort in the affected areas.


Certain medications can be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation associated with lipedema.


In some cases, doctors may recommend liposuction to remove the abnormal fat deposits. It’s a significant decision, and you should discuss it thoroughly with your healthcare provider.

Other Surgical Options

Other surgical treatments may be considered, depending on the severity and specific needs of the patient. These options should be carefully evaluated by medical professionals.

Emotional Support

Lipedema can affect your self-esteem and mental health. Talking to a counselor or joining a support group can be helpful in managing these emotional aspects of the condition.

Professional Assistance

Consulting with doctors who specialize in lipedema is critical. They can create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique situation.

Please note that while these treatments can help manage lipedema, they may not cure it completely. The best approach involves a combination of methods tailored to your specific needs. It is essential to work closely with healthcare providers experienced in treating lipedema to create an effective plan for your care.

Similar Posts