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What is Lipoedema?

Lipoedema is almost certainly a genetic inherited condition which almost always affects only women, although there are very rare reports of men with similar signs and symptoms.

In Lipoedema the hips, buttocks and legs of women who have it are out of proportion with the rest of their body.  The amount of Lipoedema a woman has and the way it is distributed on her legs and hips, varies between women. Some may just have small pockets of fat above the ankles for example, while in others there’s an obvious discrepancy in size between their upper and lower body. Lipoedema can also develop in the upper arms.

Lipoedema is most likely to appear at puberty, before which time a young person will most likely have had a ‘normal’ body shape  However Lipoedema can also appear during other hormonal changes.  Lipoedema can be very distressing  when a young woman finds certain areas of her body do not reduce in the same way as her friends and family despite following the same healthy diet and exercise routines.

Unlike normal weight gain caused by over-eating or lack of exercise, Lipoedema fat often (but not always) hurts when banged or scraped, even gently and it can bruise easily but, again, not all women experience this. There doesn’t appear to be any correlation between size of areas effected and how painful it is.

Lipoedema looks and feels different to normal body fat; softer and dimpled, like cellulite. Even women with Lipoedema who’ve developed Anorexia Nervosa can still display clear physical symptoms.