Lipoedema (or Lipedema as it is known in the US) is a loose connective tissue disease predominantly in women identified by increased nodular and fibrotic adipose tissue on the buttocks, hips and limbs that develops at times of hormone, weight and shape change including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Lipoedema tissue is difficult to reduce by diet, exercise, or bariatric surgery
Assessment and Treatment
I offer a 90-minute individualised Lipoedema Therapy assessment and treatment where we sit down and work through your family history, look at what stage you may be at and provide a written report for you to take away and talk to your medical professional about.
Additional advice is given on medical grade compressions garments (again within the pain tolerance), skin care, deep diaphragmatic breathing, supportive exercise options and self-care advice things like vibration, self lymph massage and use of pneumatic pumps.
– I will refer you to your local DHB Lymphoedema Clinic for assessment and garment support
– NB it is up the DHB’s discretion on whether they will fund as the each have differing assessment criteria
I treat with manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage and Deep Oscillation Therapy (DOT) to help move the lymph and reduce pain and inflammation.
The Four Stages
There are four stages commonly associated with Lipoedema and I really like these images (credit Talk Lipoedema who are based in the UK) and depending on where you are at, you will find benefits from regular MLD.
Living Well with Lipoedema
If you are assessed as having Lipoedema, then I recommend you read this page from Talk Lipoedema. They address exercising, emotional wellbeing and the benefits of compression.
Lipoedema Standard of Care
I recommend that you read the Standard of Care for Lipedema in the Unites States released in May 2021 which gives you good advice on self care and if you are interested in liposuction, what the self care post surgery will be available.
Surgery for Lipoedema
If you do want to go down the surgical route, then the Lipoedema Project have a full listing of surgeons here
– There is a Facebook support group under Lipoedema New Zealand where fellow women who have lipoedema talk about their journeys, including surgical so this is another good resource to bookmark.
A good place to start if you think you may have Lipoedema, is this quiz from the Lipedema Project