What is Lipedema

Lipedema is a lymphatic and metabolic disease. It is a bilateral, symmetrical, flabby swelling of the legs that arises from the deposition of adipose tissue starting at the hips and ending at the ankles, like riding breeches. It is a disease of the female sex. In man, rarely, it can be found if the patient suffers from chronic liver disease or of hormonal imbalance.

Lipedema Diagnosis / Clinical symptoms & characteristics

Patients tend to gain weight in lipedemic areas but lose it only in non-lipedemic areas. Obese lipedema patients who undergo bariatric surgery will lose fat, but primarily from the waist up. Even anorexic women can starve and exercise away “normal” fat but retain lipedemic fat. In many cases, surgery can make the condition worse.

The classic early stage lipedemic profile is a woman who looks like a size 8 from the waist up and a size 16 from the waist down, with disproportionately large, column-like legs. As lipedema progresses, patients become increasingly heavy in the lower body and especially the legs, and they are increasingly at risk to develop obesity. The additional, expanding fat cells interfere with the pathways of lymphatic vessels and patients can develop secondary lymphedema, a condition known as lipo-lymphedema. Many lipedema patients cannot tolerate the compression garments associated with conventional lymphedema treatment because the underlying lipedemic fat is very painful, and those patients therefore are at risk for the side effects of uncontrolled lymphedema, including recurring blood infections and fibrosis.

Lipedema usually is triggered at puberty, but can trigger or worsen during pregnancy, following gynaecological surgery, and  especially at peri-menopause. If lipedema is diagnosed early, which currently is very rare, it may be possible to slow the expansion of lipedemic fat cells, to prevent secondary lymphedema, and to alert patients to their heightened risk of obesity so they can take appropriate action.

There is no cure for lipedema. Treatment is designed primarily to address the secondary lymphedema part of the lipedema patient’s condition. This treatment includes a course of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and bandaging by a lymphedema therapist, followed by the wearing of custom-fitted compression garments designed specially to be therapeutic for lymphedema- usually stockings and sometimes biker’s shorts.




The most important factor is the compression therapy, but in most cases compression therapy in the first instinct will not be tolerated without manual lymph drainage (MLD).

After a course of Manual Lymphatic Drainage, compression stockings must be worn daily.

Compression Stockings with a high support factor are of great importance. If the Lipoedema is diagnosed at an early stage, supportive stockings with a high support factor i.e. 70 denier can be purchased otherwise made to measure garments are required. Consult with your MLD therapist regarding garment/compression stockings.


 Effects of MLD in Lipedema

 MLD Sequence in Lipedema


  • Nordic Walking
  • Aquatic –jogging
  • Cardio vascular (crosstraining)
  • Swimming
  • Inline skating
  • Cycling

Exercises which are not so beneficial are pounding exercises like running, skipping etc.

" Set yourself an exercise plan and make time for exercise, it is important to you and your health! If needs be get a Personal Trainer to get you on the straight and narrow and follow it through, it's worth it!"

Exercise programme:



Whilst no diet will cure Lipedema, it does not give us an excuse to ignore our weight and of course additional obesity must be treated – and weight must be controlled in every case. Obesity increases the risk of developing additional lymphedema - Lipo-lymphedema and other health issues ie Diabetes etc !!

"Be positive, take this matter to your heart, if needs be speak to a good Nutritionis a councellor or a good friend who will keep you on the straight and narrow when times get tough."

Keep to a healthy diet with 5 Fruit & Vegs a day, carbohydrate, protein etc..

AVOID sugar, fat and stimulants at all costs


From personal experience the food supplement 'Lecigran' helps to breakdown fat in the liver. The granules can be bought in health food shops or over the internet.


Diuretics – do not help this condition


MLD UK 01592 748008    or Lymphoedema Support Network: 020 7351 4480


It can be very real, believe in yourself, you are special and important, seek help you are not on your own.


It is perfect not to be perfect

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.  At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.  "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house." The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?  That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them." "For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.  Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw.  But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

To all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to "smell the flowers"!!!!


For further information, please contact Marion on 07762 709675 or send an email to