Doctors don’t really know what causes lipoedema. It’s far more common in women than men, and often starts in puberty, menopause or during pregnancy. This suggests there is likely to be a hormonal influence. It also sometimes runs in families.
There’s no specific test for lipoedema. The main sign is fat deposits on both sides of your body. These are out of proportion with the rest of your build, particularly on your buttocks and thighs. The fat can feel lumpy and be painful to touch. See our sections on symptoms and diagnosis above for more information.
Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of lipoedema completely. But there are treatments to help to control it. These include compression, a special type of massage, and liposuction. Keeping active and eating healthily can also help. To find out more, see our sections on treatment and self-care above.
Weight loss surgery won’t help with areas of lipoedema because it’s not caused by over-eating. Liposuction may help to reduce your symptoms but it’s not a cure. You usually have to have tried other treatments for six months before that’s an option. See our section on treatment above for more information.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the best ways to lose weight, whether you have lipoedema or not. Unfortunately, losing weight won’t get rid of the lipoedema. But keeping to a healthy weight will help you to stay active and minimise other problems. It could also stop your lipoedema getting worse.
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