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ideal treatment for lipedema

2022-02-12 10:49:58

Dr. Fariba Azadikhah
Reviewed by:
Dr. Fariba Azadikhah

Have you gained weight lately? Do your body's lower parts grow much larger than the upper part? Do you feel that your legs are heavy? Are there any bruises? Are the portions of your leg fit, or not? How about stabbing pain? Do you feel any? Can you see any significant differences in caliber? If you have at least one of these symptoms, you may have lipedema. Don't worry our great doctors in ermateb are always ready to answer your questions. Just call us, you won't regret it.

What is lipedema?

First of all, you should know that this condition is not lymphedema, although they may be named alike there are so many differences between them. In fact, lymphedema can be caused by lipedema, so they are not the same.
Lipedema which also can be known as lipoedema is one of the forms of edema. As you may know, edema happens when your body builds up fluids and trap specific parts of your body. What is lipedema, then? It's a condition of building up fat in legs and arms, but no hands and feet.
At first, you may only be concerned about your fitness and beauty which will be corrupted by this disease, But after a while, you can feel growing pain and other problems. In these circumstances what can you do?
You need to gather information about your condition, ways of treatment, and find the best doctors for consultation and treatment. All of these goals are just a call away from you, contact us and achieve them to be fabulous again.

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What are the symptoms and causes?

There is no certain cause for lipedema yet. But since it runs in families, we think that it may be inherited. Also, we believe that using hormones can be another cause of lipedema. Because in women at the time of puberty, pregnancy, menopause, using contraceptive pills, or following gynecologic surgery, this condition can start or get worse.The normal symptoms include:

  • The large lower part of the body
  • Column-like legs
  • The fat build-up in legs or sometimes arms
  • Affected parts feel spongy
  • The skin is like orange peels, soft and subtle
  • Bruises
  • Varicose in affected parts
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Pain and uncomfortable feeling

The condition may get worse after activity, in hot weather, in the afternoon, or evening. If you don't treat lipedema, you may find it difficult to walk after a while. You will also have problems with buying clothes as your upper half and lower half are pretty different in size.
After some time these fats can block lymph vessels and cause a condition named lymphedema.

What should you do when you see the first symptoms of lipedema?

The first thing you do when you suspect that you have lipedema is go to a primary care doctor. They may be trained in family practice, but they can diagnose and manage so many conditions. So we think they may be able to diagnose lipedema as well.
Physical and Occupational Therapy, these specialists focus on movement, pain, and lymphatic functions. These methods can be more effective for people at a higher stage of lipedema.
In vascular medicine, these specialists can diagnose lipedema and notice the differences between lipedema and lymphedema or other conditions easily. They can help decide about surgery. They also may perform some of the techniques during the surgery.
Pain specialists, which you may be received in complex cases, can ease your pain with particular practices. The practices involve so many specialists such as physical therapists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and psychiatrists.
The next specialists you may need to go see are:
Plastic surgeons, Dermatologists, Podiatrists, Geneticists, Rheumatologist, Naturopathy, Endocrinologists

All of these specialists are available in the ermateb team. We will be glad to help you achieve your health again. Call us and get back to your healthy, beautiful body.

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When you call us we arrange for a specialist to diagnose your disease, and consult you with recommended treatments. First of all our doctor will examine your affected parts to ensure that you have lipedema, not lymphedema or other conditions.
There are certain differences between lipedema and lymphedema:

  • Unlike lipedema, in lymphedema feet or hands are affected
  • The swelling is caused by build-up fluids in lymphedema
  • Swelling in lipedema is symmetrical which is asymmetrical in lymphedema
  • There will be a risk of infection in lymphedema
  • The skin of patients who have lymphedema will indent if the doctor press it with his fingers

There may be other conditions with swelling including:

  • Obesity, in which fat distributes evenly all over the body.
  • Phleboedema and chronic venous insufficiency in which there is the presence of fluid, not fat.

How can we treat lipedema?

If your condition is diagnosed to be lipedema, you should find the best treatment for yourself. Follow us to be informed about different ways of treatment.
When you gain weight the fat will be accumulated in your body. If you go on a diet and exercise you can decrease the amount of fat and lose weight. However in lipedema, you are not able to do that, fat won't decrease after diet or exercise.
So what should we do? What is the most effective way to treat lipedema? Don't worry, Ermateb can answer all of your questions and help you out with your condition.

Here are some treatment methods:

  • Non-surgical treatments:

these therapies can be used for people with advanced stages of lipedema. Lipo-lymphedema is an advanced stage of lipedema in which increased fat tissues are combined with build-up lymphatic fluid which is more dangerous than earlier stages.

  • Diet: although we said that going on a diet won't change anything in lipedema,  staying on a healthy diet and maintaining a specific weight may help to reduce inflammation. Which we call an anti-inflammatory diet.
    In this diet you should:
  1. Avoid pre-made or processed foods and try to have more homemade and healthy meals.
  2. Avoid foods made with saturated fat and try more for a plant-based diet.
  3. Drink a lot of water.
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  5. Use natural anti-inflammatory things, such as garlic and turmeric which can be used in your cooking or eaten raw.
  • Exercise: it won't help decrease the amount of fat, but some activities such as swimming will help to improve circulation and increase your mobility. It may also reduce your hormonal fluctuations.
  • Compression in which we can use bandages to squeeze the affected parts, prevent swelling and fluid buildup. You should wear the compression garment during the day and remove it before bedtime. The garments can be uncomfortable sometimes so there will be degrees of trial-and-error. Options include:
  • Knee-high socks
  • Thigh-high stockings
  • Pantyhose
  • Leggings are the most comfortable compression garments because they don't have any tight bands around the legs. Unfortunately, leggings can't be used when there is swelling in the feet.

Naturally, you should start with lighter compression and increase the pressure slowly over time.

  • pneumatic compression pump: some patients may use this device. The sleeves in this device which inflate with air, are used for the legs. This device can gently massage the legs and improve the circulation of lymphatic fluid in the body.
  • Massage can also help you to improve your circulation and mobility, like exercise.

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  • Surgical treatment:

it's the most effective treatment for lipedema in which we reduce the fatty tissue. Early-stage lipedema can be treated using hormonal and surgical methods. They are known as tumescent liposuction. The result of these methods can be maintained for at least 5 years on average.

  • Hormone therapy
    As we discussed earlier, changing the hormones' secretion and amount in your body may cause lipedema. These hormonal changes can occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or after surgery. Taking special hormones can improve the effectiveness of the other treatment methods.
    So when we attempt to achieve your health again, we may recommend hormonal therapy or herbal supplements to treat your disease. If you have any questions about lipedema's treatment methods you can contact us and we will help you out immediately.
  • Tumescent liposuction
    It is a surgical procedure that reduces the amount of excess fat. In this procedure, the surgeon injects a solution into the specified parts. The solution contains lidocaine and epinephrine. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic. Epinephrine can help reduce bleeding, bruising, and swelling. After the injection, the surgeon uses a vacuum-like device to remove fat.
  • Reductive surgery: in this surgery, the surgeon will remove large amounts of fatty tissues and excess skin. This surgery is usually performed to treat advanced stages of lipedema.
  • Vascular care: like reductive surgery, in advanced stages of lipedema can be performed. In these stages, the deep or superficial veins may get blocked and cause a condition named varicose. Treating this condition will eliminate some leg symptoms such as discomfort and swelling. There may be other symptoms in vein disease:
  1. Leg swelling and discoloration: skin turns darker around ankles and calves.
  2. Fatigue of the leg
  3. Itching of the leg

As we said there are so many treatments for lipedema, so you may be confused. Do not worry. We are here to help you. Contact our amazing doctors in ermateb and they will assist you with your condition. Health is just one call away.

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