Lipoedema Explained

Lipoedema is a condition whereby fatty deposits accumulate in a disproportionate fashion mainly in the lower half of the torso. It does not respond to exercise or weight loss.

Lipoedema is a fairly unknown condition, however many women are affected by it, often unbeknownst to them. Most will have sought help via their GP, but were told to just lose weight. The condition does not respond to weight loss or exercise and thus patients become really frustrated.

Research has shown that early intervention minimises the progression and it can actually halt the process.

The most common areas that are affected are the thighs, knees, calves, ankles and upper arms. It is predominantly seen in females (11% of the population) with very little incidence in males. It can begin at any age, but commonly seen in late teens. Many doctors and nurses are untrained in recognising the condition and thus many women go undiagnosed.

Common complaints are pear shape lower torso – lean waist and upper torso with disproportionately large lower half.

No response in size change to exercise and dietary change.

Heavy sensation and discomfort in legs.

Bruising very easily.

Some family members have similar shape.

The condition can remain stagnant or progress from stages 1-3.

See the 3 stages below:

Lipoedema Stages


How can I differentiate between Lipoedema - Lymphoedema and Obesity?

The table below shows the salient differences between the three categories.  There is no hard and fast rule, but this can be used as a guide only.  For a more accurate assessment you would need to be examined at a consultation.

What can be done to treat lipoedema?

There is no direct treatment for the condition. We can however treat the disproportionate areas of fatty deposition.

MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) is a good start. This will help with drainage and swelling of the areas. Wearing compression hosiery is also helpful.

Keeping fit is also essential and watching what you eat.

Best would be to find a MLD therapist specialising in lipoedema treatment. Easiest is to find them on

Other methods include liposuction to remove the excess tissue. We use VASER liposuction to reduce the bulk.

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