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Facts about Lipedema

The medical community is finally beginning to recognize lipedema as a disease. Most women find out about the disease by their own symptoms and research vs getting a medical diagnosis. Lipedema is a fat disease that causes an uneven distribution of fat that typically feels like hardened nodules often accompanied with "cellulite". The lipedema fat can not be lost with just diet and exercise. Some symptoms individuals may experience would be pain, swelling, easy bruising, uneven fat distribution often in lower body, and discomfort.

Treatment options:

Conservative Approach:

  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a unique therapeutic method of stimulating lymphatic fluid movement in the tissues. MLD is a gentle, rhythmic massage that follows the direction of lymph flow and can reduce swelling almost immediately. It assists the lymphatic system in removing fluids, waste products, protein particles and debris. MLD can also be used to break up fibrosis in a limb with lymphedema. The technique was created by Danish therapists Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s.

  • Compression garments: Compression garments are recommended for lipedema management. While these garments won’t reduce the adipose accumulation, they can help in maintaining and managing the condition.

  • Exercise: Exercise, like diet, is important for maintaining overall health even though it is not effective in reducing lipedema fat. Lipedema patients often find swimming to be a great low-impact activity, as more vigorous activities like running are often too painful. Exercise also helps the lymphatic fluid move through the lymph system more effectively, and is excellent for preventing other issues such as cardiovascular problems. Bouncing on a trampoline/rebounder, yoga, pilates, moderate stretching, and walking are all movement that supports lymphatic flow

  • Diet: Dieting is often not helpful for losing lipedema fat, but it is part of a health lifestyle that can reduce symptoms of pain and impaired mobility. Anti-inflammatory diets are a good place to start. There has been some recent evidence on the effectiveness of keto diets in managing lipedema symptoms.

  • CDT: Complete Decongestive Therapy which is normally used for treating Lymphedema can also be used for lipedema patients. CDT is comprised of bandaging, MLD, exercising, breathing exercises, and compression garments. It is the holistic approach to treating lymphatic disorders.

  • Supplements: Although not a lot of research has been done on this, there are some supplements that show promise to help with lipedema symptoms. Some of these include selenium, bioflavonoids, CLA, quercetin, NAC, ALA, milk thistle and dandelion root

Non-conservative or surgical techniques:

  • Various forms of liposuction: Make sure you find a surgeon with experience working with lipedema patients as the methods to remove this type of fat take more skill and knowledge

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