Lipedema: A commonly missed condition in women

I think we have all struggled with our workout regimen and weight management from time to time. Life happens, you get busy, and going to the gym goes out the window. If you are anything like me, you probably get some ice cream or a sweet treat to treat yourself and relax after a stressful time. 


But then a couple weeks later, you return to your workout and feel weak from letting your routine go. Or, your pair of confidence jeans feel too tight and you don’t feel comfortable wearing them anymore. 

Good thing is that for most of us, getting back to an active lifestyle and balanced diet is enough to get back into those jeans feeling comfortable and those workouts feeling good again. 


However, for 11% of women, this is not the case. 


For 11% of women, a significant hormonal change or weight gain can cause a cascade into a progressive, inflammatory condition called lipedema. Lipedema is a fat deposition disorder that causes disproportionate accumulation of fat in specific areas; most commonly buttocks and thighs. 


This is not just fatty tissue or obesity because of one hallmark of the disorder; pain.  


The fatty tissue in patients with lipedema is usually described as achy, throbbing, heavy, and uncomfortable. Because of the pain and heaviness, the quick rebound back into the gym isn’t always so easy. 


But, with treatment, someone with lipedema can find relief and return to their comfy jeans with confidence. 

Treatment for lipedema has had a shift in the past five years after new consensus papers have emerged; so depending on who you talk to, they may have different suggestions. 


For me, I continue to take a moderate approach and utilize what I have seen to get my patients the best results; a combination of traditional lymphedema therapy, education, and weight management strategies. 


That definitely worked for this patient; who reduced their lower leg volume by 7% and was able to decrease her constant leg pain and irritation. This is what she had to say, “Everyday was a struggle, with my legs throbbing and feeling weighed down no matter how much I exercised. Dr. Bri made the pain so much more manageable, and taught me how to treat/prevent future episodes.”

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1 thought on “Lipedema: A commonly missed condition in women”

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