Lipoedema is a life-long condition. Usually, it can be well managed with conservative therapy. This includes wearing compression garments, exercise and weight management. In exceptional cases, treatment may include surgery, for example liposuction. Together with an experienced therapist, you will develop an individual and holistic treatment plan.
What happens after diagnosis?
Diagnosing lipoedema involves a general health checkup. Holistic treatment includes compression therapy, maintaining a healthy weight, balanced nutrition, as well as supporting your emotional well-being.
Treatment elements of lipoedema are:
- Compression therapy
- Improving mobility, posture, gait and exercise
- Psychological support (including realistic and achievable goals and managing expectations)
- Maintaining your weight
- Surgical procedures under certain circumstances (e.g. liposuction)
You probably know that compression therapy is a key element when treating lipoedema. There is a range of different types of compression garments. Flat-knit compression garments including stockings, leggings and tights are preferable in the treatment of lipoedema. The benefits of compression garments include:
- Reduction of pain and discomfort
- Providing support to your limbs
- Mobility improvement due to reshaping of your limb
Compression therapy does not significantly change the size and shape of your limbs. This is an important point to note because many patients can be disappointed initially.
Movement and exercise
Movement and exercise may help you to maintain an healthy weight. Regular exercise has a positive impact on your emotional wellbeing. Do you need some motivation to start with exercise? Check out our tips and tricks to help you get started or continue exercising.
Lipoedema is a long-term condition. It may have already taken you a long time to get your lipoedema diagnosis and to find professional help. This journey can be exhausting and involve coping with depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. You don't need to live with lipoedema on your own. There is support out there including:
- Speaking directly to your therapist,
- Joining a peer group,
- Learning about self-help tools and strategies for coping
Maintaining your weight
A healthy and balanced diet is vital to looking after your general well-being. You should not focus on fad diets – most of them are intended to lose weight over a short period of time. A lot of fad diets fail in the end and often lead to weight gain. This is called “yo-yo dieting” and must be avoided. In theory, we all know what it takes to maintain our weight: movement and healthy eating. But in reality, it is much more difficult.
Lipoedema can usually be treated with conservative therapies, such as compression therapy, exercise, weight management and, if necessary, psychological support. However, surgical treatment may also be an option for some people. Liposuction may sound like an easy way to treat your lipoedema but there are a few things that you have to keep in mind:
- Liposuction is only suitable for a preselected patient group and so far, has not shown any long-term benefits
- Liposuction has to be done by a specialised surgeon
- Compression therapy is an essential part before and after liposuction (for at least 6 weeks). It is important to maintain the results of the surgery
Moisturising body lotions or creams protect your skin that may become dry by wearing compression garments. Learn more about how you can maintain a healthy skin.
You can find more detailed information about the different therapies here.
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Claudia Lymphoedema patient