Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (2023)

This blog discusses lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and much more! Lipedema (known as lipedema in the UK) is a connective tissue disease that belongs to the lipedema familyRare Fatty Disorders (RADs). This leads to excessive accumulation of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat).

This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. You can read this blog top to bottom or use it to jump to a section.index


What is lipedema?

Lipedema is a chronic condition characterized by loose, fibrotic fatty tissue. It is often painful and hence it is also calledPainful Fat Syndrome. Lumps of fat can usually be present all over the body which, if present, can help make a definitive diagnosis.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (1)

The lipedema nodule

Fat lumps are one of the distinguishing features of lipedema - what would differentiate it from both cellulite and normal body fat and lymphedema. Nodules can be hardspheroids– described as feeling like peas, beans or grains (Herbst, 2015).

The spheroids are about 5 mm by 5 mm up to 10 mm by 10 mm, distinct from each other but grouped together (Herbst, 2015).

They are actually hard calcified necrotic fat that forms due to connective tissue disorder. There is another type of larger and softer fat lump calledlipoma. These may also be present in lipoedema (Herbst, 2015).

Sometimes, instead of nodules, the skin looks like an orange peel, as it is called.Orange skinwith a thick and bumpy appearance. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between normal fat in cellulite and diseased fat in peau d'orange.

Lipedema vs. cellulitis

cellulitisit is a cosmetic problem with no serious medical implications and occurs when fat and connective tissue pushes and pulls on the skin.

In contrast,lipedemait is a chronic progressive disease with multiple comorbidities (read full list). Lipedema can greatly benefit from early diagnosis and treatment. So if you're not sure if you have cellulite or lipedema, read on.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (2)

Diagnosis Lipoedema

Diagnosing lipedema is critical to starting proper treatment, and the sooner you get a definitive diagnosis, the better. But... finding a doctor who can reliably assess and diagnose lipoedema is a challenge.

Unfortunately, it is the norm rather than the exception that people with lipedema struggle for years and even decades to be informed about obesity and/or cellulite and miss the correct diagnosis of lipedema.

If you are in this situation now, you must continue to defend yourself. find oneCertified Lymphedema Therapisthe can then recommend a doctor who is familiar with lipoedema.

How is lipedema diagnosed?

There are several parts to a diagnosis of lipedema, including:

Physical exam

Lipedema tends tobilateral and symmetrical(right and left equal). But this isdisproportionate- not equal not equal upper and lower body - depending on the exact type (see below for types of lipedema), but most commonly appears as disproportionately larger hips and thighs and smaller abdomen and trunk and unaffected hands and feet.

Here are some important aspects of the physical exam (Ghods, 2020, Fall, 2021):

  • Cuffs and ankle cuffs (this is a typical sign of lipoedema)
  • Negative Stemmer (see below)
  • Broken blood vessels or spider veins (telangiectasia) around fatty deposits
  • ankle pronation
  • Abflachung des Plantarbogens
  • Hyperlordotic curvature in the lumbar spine (a large inward curve in the lower back)
  • Knee valgus, also called knock-knee (ankles not touching when knees are together)
  • Hypermobile Joints - This is present in about 50% of cases
Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (3)

vote sign

Stemmer's sign is a simple physical exam used to diagnose lymphedema. Examiner failure to pinch the skin between the second and third toes is a positive Stemmer sign. In a study of 110 patients, the Stemmer sign was found to be 92% accurate in detecting lymphedema (Goss, 2019).

If you have a positive Stemmer's sign, it means you probably have lymphedema. Now it must be determined whether you have lymphedema or lipo-lymphedema.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (4)

medical history

If you have lipedema, you may find that your limbs feel heavy. In Stage I, you might describe your skin as feelingspongy.This is important to discuss with your doctor as well as other questions.

(Video) Lipedema Vs Cellulite - 10 reason your cellulite is getting worse

You can also complain about:

  • pain and easy bruising
  • Worse pain later in the day
  • Difficulty losing weight in areas of lipedema when the rest of the body responds to diet and exercise
  • Skin that feels cold in areas of lipedema

family history

Your diagnostician should ask about your family history. Try looking for family photos, paying special attention to your female relatives. This can sometimes be a challenge as your relative may have taken steps to cover their legs to avoid being featured in photos.

if they had"Stove Legs"as they were sometimes called, they may have been covered up. Talking to your relatives and having this family history can help shed light on your background history and help with the diagnosis.

Although they are mostly female relatives, check the family history of both your father's family and your mother's family as it is not inherited from your mother's side only.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (5)

Medical exams

This is not a specific test for lipedema, but here are a few to help make a diagnosis.

ultrasonicLipoedema shows thinner skin and increased thickness of subcutaneous adipose tissue, which becomes more prominent in the calf and lower leg. Thickness is classified as follows: 12-15mm is light, 15-22mm is moderate, more than 20mm is significant, and more than 33mm is thick (Vyas, 2022). In the case of lipoedema, however, this is not significant, as obesity can also present similar alterations.

Ultrasound can also look for peripheral vascular disease. This would indicate that the leg veins are not efficient and some blood fluid is leaking and pooling.

However, this also does not rule out lipedema, as many women can have both lipedema AND vein problems (see comorbidities below), but it can help to get the right treatment for your veins.

lymphatic scintigraphy, is a test in which dye is injected into the tissues of the toes and given time to be absorbed by the lymphatic vessels. Your legs will then be examined with the room lights off and a special light to visualize the function of your lymph vessels.

Unfortunately, this also does not completely rule out lipedema, as individuals may have just lipedema, lymphedema alone, or a combination of the two - calledlipolinfedema. But getting this information is vital!

Genetic test for lipedema, is a test that can give you a definitive yes, but ... at the moment only one genetic mutation has been identified, vizAKR1C1. However, other genetic mutations are also being researched (Michelini, 2022).

DEXA-Scan(Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Scan) is used to measure bone mineral density, but it can also measure fat and lean mass. A higher ratio of fat to lean mass may indicate lipedema (Vyas, 2022).

After physical examination, medical examination, and medical history, the diagnosis depends on the physician's clinical experience, other than a positive AKR1C1 genetic test, there is no single simple diagnostic measure.

Summary: Lipedema x Cellulite

In summary, here are the differences between lipedema and cellulite:


  • Cosmetic problem where the skin looks bumpy and uneven
  • no swelling
  • no fat knots
  • Painless
  • normal bruises


  • Painful
  • light bruises
  • fat lumps under the skin
  • Restoration of hands and feet, which may give the appearance of an ankle cuff, wrist cuff, or elbow over hand, but not in 100% of patients
  • Swelling of the limbs may occur with pits, but need not be present for a diagnosis
  • ankle pronation
  • Abflachung des Plantarbogens
  • Herpetic lordotic curve in the lumbar spine
  • white knee
  • Hypermobile Joints (50%)

Lipedema x Obesity

A similar catalog of criteria can help with differentiationLipedema against obesity. Obesity is often described as apple- or pear-shaped. Keeping body fat around the hips and thighs - this is also called a pear shapeginoideobesityand is more common in women, especially premenopausal women.

When fat is kept around the abdomen, it is called apple shape orandroid obesity. The android is metabolically more dangerous, as fat can be stored in the visceral layers and accumulate in the liver and other organs.

(Video) Diagnosing Lipedema Part 2 - Physical Exam

It is the gynoid or pear shape that is most difficult to distinguish from lipedema because lipedema also accumulates around the hips and thighs. Even more confusing is the fact that obesity is often associated with lipedema.

What may help distinguish obesity from lipedema is that lipedema fat is very difficult to lose, whereas gynoid fat will likely be reduced in proportion to other fats in your body as you lose weight.

So while two women, one with gynoid body fat and one with lipedema, pursue weight loss strategies like healthy eating and exercise, women with normal gynoid body fat distribution may lose weight all over their bodies - although it's not the same. everywhere. and she may lose some in more places than others, a woman with lipedema can become very thin in her trunk and non-lipedema areas, but still remain the same in the lipedema areas.

Lipedema fat vs. normal fat

Lipedema fat has a different structure. Although lipedema or lipedema means "fat edema", it does not accurately describe the structure of lipedema fat.

In lipedema there is adipocyte hypertrophy – enlarged fat cells, there is also more fibrosis (scarring) and more macrophages, indicating inflammation. There is more angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels, indicating that the blood vessels are altered in lipedema (Al-Ghadban, 2019).

Here is a description of the pathogenesis of lipedema (Al-Ghadban, 2019):

  • Hypertrophic fat cells (enlargement of fat cells)
  • Macrophages (immune cells) surround fat cells
  • Crown-shaped structures form
  • Blood capillaries dilate and new blood vessels form
  • Increase blood plasma flow to fat cells
  • Fat cells are unable to remove plasma
  • Excess fluid in fat stimulates its growth
  • Inflammation causes fibrosis and difficulty losing weight
  • Interstitial fluid (fluid inside the cell) stagnates - activates nerve endings and causes pain

Conclusion - the structure of fat is abnormal, and these pathological changes have significant consequences.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (6)

Lipedema vs Lymphedema

What about lipedema and lymphedema? Lipedema can often be misdiagnosed as lymphedema, and to make matters even more difficult, some people have it too.lipolinfedema– a combination of the two conditions. Here are some of the differences between lipedema and lymphedema.


  • Tends to be symmetrical from left to right
  • Gentle on hands and feet
  • Tends to focus on hips, thighs, legs, upper arms and sometimes lower abdomen
  • No corrosion
  • sign downvotes
  • Painful
  • fat nodules
  • Fat pads above or below the knee
  • Occurs mainly in girls and women and minimally in men
  • Tends to present during puberty


  • May affect only one side or two sides asymmetrically
  • pitting edema
  • sign positive votes
  • May occur after cancer treatment, surgery, or injury
  • May be primary and present at birth or occur spontaneously
  • Can be reduced with decongestive therapy
  • no fat knots
  • Occurs in both men and women
  • Can occur at any time

Similarities Between Lipedema and Lymphedemaalso exist, as

  • Primary lymphedema and lipedema appear to have a genetic component
  • Both are inflammatory diseases
  • Stage III lipoedema can include lymphedema
  • Both can occur in conjunction with venous insufficiency
  • Both can benefit from compression garments.
  • Both can be treated by certified lymphedema therapists
  • Both can benefit from itanti-inflammatory diet


To make things even more difficult to get a proper diagnosis, there is a condition called lipolymphedema where people have bothLipedema And Lymphedemaat the same time. This is also referred to asstage IV lipoedema(Steps see below) (Autumn, 2015).

Not everyone with lipedema will develop lymphedema, but it can develop at any stage of lipedema (Herbst, 2015). Pitting edema and a positive Stemmer's sign are indicators of lymphedema.

When lymphedema is present, the likelihood of cellulitis and sore development is greatly increased.

What causes lipedema?

The cause of lipedema is still unclear, but several theories are being considered. One is that it is related to estrogen and therefore is predominantly found in females and usually first appears during puberty and can get worse during hormonal changes such as pregnancy, contraception or menopause.

miss lipedema

Lipedema pain has been described as “dull, heavy and aching” (Shavit, 2018). It can be stimulated by touch or occur after sitting or standing for a long time. I've heard women say that they can't stand having a cat cradled or holding a baby, or having a regular Swedish massage that is painful for them.

(Video) What is Lipedema? Causes, Symptoms and My Diagnosis

While this can be alleviated by wearing compression garments, putting the garment on can be uncomfortable and may take some getting used to. Other pain relief can be obtained through manual lymphatic drainage, compression pump and liposuction. To seelipedema treatment.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (7)

Stages and types of lipedema

Lipoedema is divided into stages and types. The types of lipedema depend on the location of the lipedema fat in the body. Disease stage indicates the extent of disease progression, and progressive stages are accompanied by additional disease signs and symptoms.

types of lipedema

Type 1 lipedema

This type concentrates the lipedema fat around the hips and buttocks. This type can also have a "saddlebag" appearance.

Type 2 lipedema

This type concentrates the fat from lipedema from the buttocks to the knees. There can often be lipedema fat hanging from the top of the knee, making it difficult to see the knee. It can also hang down into the knee and look like a lobe. You will often see a dramatic difference in the skin on your thighs compared to your calves and shins.

Type 3 lipedema

Type 3 lipedema extends from the buttocks to the ankles. This type can show the ankle cuff, making it difficult to wear boots or shoes that go above the ankle.

Type 4 lipedema

Lipedema in this type occurs in the arms, usually concentrated on the back of the arm, but it can extend from the shoulder to the wrist, or from the shoulder to the elbow, or from the elbow to the wrist. The diseased fat can protrude past the elbow and when the arms are stretched out it can look like a bat wing.

This type can also include the lower body, in which case it is said to be combined with another type. Common combinations are types 2 and 4 and types 3 and 4 (Vyas, 2022). See below for more information on lipedema arms.

Lipedema type 5

This type is from the knees down, but like type 3 would probably be easier on most people's feet and may have a visible ankle. This is the rarest type (Vyas, 2022).

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (8)

arms with lipoedema

Lipedema in the arms or type IV lipedema occurs in about 30% of cases. It can also occur only in the arms without involvement of the legs, but it is rare (Reich-Schupke, 2012).

Lipedema in the arms also tends to be symmetrical, which would differentiate it from lymphedema, which tends to be worse on one side.

Lipedema vs cellulite, stages of lipedema and more (9)

stages of lipedema

According to (Autumn, 2015 and Vyas, 2022) the stages are:

stage I lipoedema

There is a normal-appearing smooth skin surface with increased subcutaneous fat. You may feel lumps under your skin. Pain and mild bruising may occur.

stage II lipoedema

Dimples in the skin and the fat under the skin to give the skin an uneven appearance, or dimpling which may include lipomas. At this stage, the skin may have a mattress-like appearance caused by the thickening and contraction of the connective tissue overlying the fat.

Stage III Lipodema

Large accumulations of subcutaneous fat cause lobules that can distort the normal silhouette and appear as large skin folds. The body has a more pronounced disproportionate appearance, with the lower body appearing larger than the upper body. Joints, mobility and balance can be affected.

Typical signs of this may include fat on the sides of the hips, "saddle bags", fat on the upper part of the buttocks, "shelf of buttocks", fat hanging over the top of the head or on the inside of the knee, fat protruding beyond the elbows, " Bat wings".

Those with stage 3 lipedema have greater and more serious complaints about their condition, including but not limited to: blood clots, burning pain, constipation, flu-like symptoms, high body temperature, nausea, and sleep apnea (Herbst, 2015) .

stage IV lipoedema

This is the stage where lymphedema develops and this is known as lipo-lymphedema. As staging increases, so does fibrotic tissue and pain (Ghods, 2020).

Lipedema types and stages

When considering the type and stage, you can label a case of lipedema as "Type 3, Stage IV", etc., which helps to identify the location and severity. Whatever the type of person, they present themselves as disproportionately fat – which means that the parts of the body with lipedema are larger than the parts without.

For example, one of my clients notes that she wears a size 8 top and a size 14 bottom and that her waist is 34 inches and her hips are 54 inches. This helps demonstrate the disproportionality of lipedema.

Although lipedema is disproportionate from top to bottom, it is often symmetrical from right to left. This helps to differentiate it from lymphedema, which can only affect 1 leg or 1 arm, whereas lipedema usually affects both more or less equally.

(Video) Lipedema Fat vs. Normal Fat | United States | David Amron, MD

Lipedema comorbidities

Comorbidities are other conditions that occur at the same time, sometimes called comorbidities. Several disorders appear to be linked to lipedema as they occur more frequently than randomly.

The other conditions most commonly associated with lipedema are (Ghods, 2020, Fall, 2021):

  • obesity
  • hypothyroidism
  • migraine
  • Depression
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • SOP
  • Venenkrankheit
  • lipoma
  • sleep apnea
  • Anguish
  • eating disorder
  • migraine

While this may seem like one problem after another, there is good news. It appears that people with lipedema appear to be protected from diabetes and high cholesterol, as these conditions are much less common than people with a similar BMI.

The rates of diabetes and dyslipidemia are 5% and 7%, respectively. Although they still need treatment for these conditions, it has been found to take years compared to the population without lipedema (Ghods, 2020).

Lipedema in men

Lipedema occurs mainly in women, but it can also occur in men. It is described as occurring along with testosterone deficiency, growth hormone deficiency, liver disease or high estrogen levels. It has also been described as occurring in hypogonadism and hyperestrogenemia (Herbst, 2012, Ghods, 2020).

prevalence of lipedema

The prevalence of lipedema is estimated at 1 in 72,000 people (Vyas, 2022). However, since it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as obesity or lymphedema or other misdiagnoses, the prevalence number is likely higher.

Conclusion about lipedema

If you suspect you have lipedema, it's important to get a diagnosis and treatment. Keep advocating for yourself and connecting with others who have lipedema for support. A certified lymphedema therapist in your area is probably the best place to get a diagnosis, as they have a lot of knowledge about lipedema and lipolymphedema. Don't forget that your diet is also important!

Best diet for lipedema

See my blog calledDiet for Lipedemato explore the best diet for lipedema.

Read toolipedema treatment.

References for Lipedema vs. Cellulitis

Al-Ghadban S., Cromer W., Allen M. et al. ddilated blood and lymphatic microvessels, angiogenesis, macrophage enlargement, and adipocyte hypertrophy in thigh skin lipedema and adipose tissue.J Obes. 2019;2019:8747461. Published March 3, 2019. doi:10.1155/2019/8747461

Ghods M., Georgiou I., Schmidt J., Kruppa P.Disease progression and comorbidities in patients with lipedema: a 10-year retrospective analysis. Dermatol Ther. 2020 nov;33(6):e14534. doi: 10.1111/dth.14534. Epub 2020, 22 de novembro. PMID: 33184945.

Goss JA, Greene AK.Sensitivity and Specificity of the Stemmer Sign for Lymphedema: A Clinical Lymphoscintigraphic Study.Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019;7(6):e2295. Published on June 25, 2019. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000002295

Herbst KL , Kahn LA , Iker E , Ehrlich C , Wright T , McHutchison L , Schwartz J , Sleigh M , Donahue PM , Lisson KH , Faris T , Miller J , Lontok E , Schwartz MS , Dean SM , Bartholomew JR , Armor P , M. Strap-Perez , N. Pennings , EL Wallace , E. Larson .Standard of Care for Lipedema in the United States. Phlebology. 2021 Dec;36(10):779-796. two: 10.1177/02683555211015887. Epub 28. May 2021. PMID: 34049453; PMC-ID: PMC8652358.

Herbst K, and others Ch.Lipedema fat and disease symptoms increase as the stage progresses. Medicine Archive. 2015 7 4(10)1-8.

autumn cl.Rare obesity disorders (RADs) masquerading as obesity.Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2012;33(2):155-172.

autumn cl.Subcutaneous adipose tissue disorders: Dercum's disease, lipoedema, familial multiple lipomatosis, and Madelung's disease. . . . [Updated December 14, 2019] In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, editors. Endotext [web]. South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000-.

Michelini S, Herbst KL, Precone V, Manara E, Marceddu G, Dautaj A, Maltese PE, Paolacci S, Ceccarini MR, Beccari T, Sorrentino E, Aquilanti B, Velluti V, Matera G, Gagliardi L, Miggiano GAD, Bertelli M .A multigene panel to identify lipedema predisposing genetic variants through a next-generation sequencing strategy. J Pers. With. February 11, 2022;12(2):268. doi: 10.3390/jpm12020268. PMID: 35207755; PMC ID: PMC8877075.

Reich-Schupke S, Altmeyer P, Stücker M.Thick legs – not always lipoedema. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2013 March;11(3):225-33. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12024. Epub December 11, 2012. PMID: 23231593.

Vyas A, Adnan G.lipedema. February 16, 2022. In: StatPearls [web]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 January–. PMID: 34424639.


What are the stages of lipedema? ›

There are four stages of lipedema.
The types of lipedema are :
  • Type I: The fat is between the navel and the hips. ...
  • Type II: The fat is around the pelvis and down to the knees.
  • Type III: The fat begins at the pelvis and continues down to the ankles. ...
  • Type IV: The fat spreads from the shoulders down to the wrists.
Mar 15, 2022

What does Stage 3 lipedema mean? ›

stage 3. Large extrusion of fat tissue causing deformations especially on the thighs and around the knees. Large extrusions of fat tissue causing buildup from buttocks to knees, with folds of fat around the inner side of the knee.

What does early stages of lipedema look like? ›

In early-stage lipoedema, you may have heavy legs, a narrow waist and a much smaller upper body. You may have a large bottom, thighs and lower legs, but your feet will usually be unaffected. Sometimes lipoedema can affect the arms too, but the hands are not usually affected.

What are the 5 types of lipedema? ›

Five Types of Lipedema
  • Type I – affects the buttocks.
  • Type II – affects the buttocks, hips, and thighs.
  • Type III – affects the buttocks, hips, thighs, calves.
  • Type IV – affects the arms.
  • Type V – affects the calves.

How do you stop lipedema from progressing? ›

The only way to ultimately stop the advancing stages of lipedema in their tracks is through surgical intervention, such as water-assisted liposuction, manual lipedema extraction, and other innovative fat-extracting techniques targeted to specifically remove painful, accumulated fat buildup.

How long does it take for lipedema to progress? ›

It may take many years (more than 10) for the condition to advance to this stage. Eventually, fat deposits from lipedema may block or damage lymph nodes, preventing lymphatic fluid from draining properly.

What causes lipedema to flare up? ›

Those who have inherited this disease usually have occurrences of it around puberty, after pregnancy, or when experiencing perimenopause issues. Therefore, many aspects of a woman's life that are hormone-driven or when a flux of hormones is apparent, can cause a lipedema flare-up.

What makes lipedema worse? ›

However, lipedema frequently does worsen with time due to the general trend toward increasing body weight and obesity (which is itself a progressive disease) with age. Psychological distress is often also a progressive disorder, one that typically amplifies feelings of pain and diminishes willpower and general health.

What causes lipedema to progress? ›

The exact cause of lipedema is unknown. But the condition runs in families and may be inherited. The condition occurs almost exclusively in people assigned female at birth, and usually starts or gets worse at the time of puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Because of this, there is likely a connection to hormones.

How can you tell the difference between cellulite and lipedema? ›

However, there is a stark difference between cellulite and lipedema. Lipedema is a medical condition that can result in pain, bruising, and swelling. On the other hand, cellulite is purely cosmetic and doesn't result in pain or require treatment.

What does mild lipedema look like? ›

Stage 1 – Mild: Smooth skin appears dimpled and uneven as fat deposition develops on your thighs and around your knees. Stage 2 – Moderate: Uneven skin with large mounds of fat tissue develop throughout the legs.

Can lipedema fat disappear? ›

There is currently no cure for lipedema. However, patients can slow down its progression with surgical treatments like liposuction to remove painful subcutaneous fat buildup, as well as nonsurgical options like massage therapy, compression garments, healthy dietary choices, and remaining active.

What can mimic lipedema? ›

Venous Insufficiency and Veno-Lipo-Lymphedema:

The symptoms of Lipedema and venous insufficiency are similar. They both cause heaviness, tenderness, fatigue, and swelling. They often both have discoloration in the shins, easy bruising, and prominent veins.

Does lipedema fat return after liposuction? ›

It will not completely eliminate it. In most cases, lipedema pain, swelling and bulk stays reduced for many years (and possibly your whole life). However, it is possible lipedema can become worse.

Does lipedema reduce with weight loss? ›

Anecdotally, patients have not shown loss of lipedemic fat after extreme caloric restrictive diets. However, healthy eating is very important for people with lipedema as the growth of normal fat is thought to promote lipedema fat growth.

How does mucinex help lipedema? ›

Mucinex / guaifenesin may help pain or it may work as an expectorant in lipedema tissue and thin out extracellular proteins. However, there are no studies to support these theories in lipedema.

What supplements help with lipedema? ›

It is recommended that lipedema patient who are deficient in Vitamin D take up to 4 times the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA. Selenium: A supplement that can aid with your daily metabolism is Selenium. It has been known to help reduce swelling that is often painful and continuous for those with lipedema.

Is lipedema caused by hormone imbalance? ›

Lipedema is a painful fat disorder which predominantly affects women and develops during times of hormonal fluctuation including, but not limited to, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause [1,6].

Does lipedema make you tired? ›

Fatigue: In one study, ~75% of women with lipedema complained of fatigue [2]. Women do report higher levels of fatigue than men and fatigue increases with chronic disease [46].

Does fasting help lipedema? ›

Neither diets nor fasting or exercise will bring the desired success for lipoedema as a fat reduction in the affected parts will not be achieved. You will only lose weight in the “healthy” parts of your body. That is why these methods are not an option treating lipoedema.

Will walking help lipedema? ›

Aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking and cycling are especially recommended because they increase lymphatic drainage and improve blood flow through the affected limbs.

How do you stop lipedema getting worse? ›

The Only Way To Reset Lipedema Progression: Lymph Sparing Liposuction
  1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (referred to as MLD).
  2. Adopting a diet focused on low levels of carbohydrates and limited refined foods.
  3. Beginning and maintaining regular exercise activity that's low impact, such as water exercise.

Does stress affect lipedema? ›

Women with lipedema report a rapid growth of the lipedema subcutaneous adipose tissue in the setting of stress, surgery, and/or hormonal changes.

How do you reduce inflammation in lipedema? ›

Avoiding processed carbs and processed food, in general, will help keep your inflammation at bay and in turn reduce your lipedema symptoms. Along with reducing starches, avoiding gluten(found in wheat, rye, and barley) all together may be necessary to limit flare-ups.

Can you tone up with lipedema? ›

Good for toning the whole body, front and backstroke swimming is a great exercise for lipedema patients. Increasing and or maintaining muscle mass is very important for lymph circulation and overall mobility. Make sure you utilize both your arms and legs when swimming.

Does massage help lipedema? ›

If you're living with lymphedema, lipedema, or a similar condition, you can take steps to get relief from pain and the other symptoms at home. Lymphatic massage can be used to relieve the swelling in your arms, legs, or other affected areas. The technique works by helping to promote lymphatic drainage.

Is lipedema covered by insurance? ›

For your lipedema surgery to be covered by insurance, there must be a medical reason to do so. This reason can be the presence of swelling, pain or problems with mobility and other activities of daily living. A FCE can help you demonstrate issues you have with sitting, standing, carrying, bending, etc.

What happens if you don't treat lipedema? ›

If left undiagnosed, it leads to more risk of health concerns and in most cases, emotional issues. Although Lipedema starts off as a cosmetic concern for women, if left untreated, it can have life-threatening consequences. Affecting up to 11% of women, Lipedema becomes a painful and, in some cases, crippling disorder.

Does all lipedema progress? ›

The cause of lipedema is still unknown, and it is not possible to avoid the development of lipedema. However, you can prevent your lipedema from progressing. Your lipedema does not necessarily have to progress. There are a few things that have an impact on the course of your disease.

Can lipedema cause belly fat? ›

Patients with lipedema (or lipoedema) can experience an abnormal buildup of body fat in different areas of the body. While this accumulation of lipedema fat occurs most in the legs, thighs, and arms, areas such as the stomach and the hips are possible too.

Does lipedema feel lumpy? ›

Lipedema Nodules and Fat

Fibrosis (also known as fibrotic scarring), is a pathological wound healing in which connective tissue replaces normal tissue, eventually leading to the formation of permanent scar tissue. The fibrosis of Lipedema fat tissue gives it a hard, nodular feeling when touched.

Does lipedema look like cellulite? ›

Both lipedema and cellulite can cause the skin to appear dimpled, lumpy, or uneven. However, lipedema is a more serious medical condition that requires treatment, while cellulite is a common cosmetic condition that's harmless.

What are the three types of cellulite? ›

Here are the three different types of cellulite:
  • Soft cellulite. Also known as flaccid cellulite, soft cellulite is associated with sagging skin and is often found on body areas where fat accumulates, such as the arms, stomach, hips, buttocks and legs. ...
  • Hard cellulite. ...
  • Edematous cellulite.

How can you tell the difference between fat legs and lipedema? ›

Fat accumulation associated with being overweight is smooth with a rubbery texture. Lipedema fat is marble-like, knotty, or feels like little pearls to the touch. Lipedema specialists like Dr. Schwartz will specifically look for certain lipedema traits, such as location and composition.

When does lipedema usually start? ›

Lipoedema may occur because of changes in female hormones. The most common time of onset is around puberty or when there are other hormonal shifts such as during pregnancy and menopause. You are at greater risk of developing lipoedema if other women in your family are affected.

How can I tell if I have lipedema? ›

The typical symptoms are a large lower half and column-like legs, which are often tender and bruise easily. For example, the top half of your body may be a size 8, but the bottom half may be a size 16. As the condition progresses, fat continues to build up, and your lower body grows heavier.

How do you starve lipedema? ›

Starve lymphedema and lipedema by avoiding added sugars (especially fructose), refined grains (especially grains containing gluten), and chemically modified fats. Limit animal products and high-salt foods. Avoiding dairy (other than kefir and yogurt) appears to help with lipedema.

Can a blood test detect lipedema? ›

There is no specific blood test or imaging test widely available to diagnose lipedema. The diagnosis of Lipedema is made based on a clinical evaluation using the below criteria by a physician knowledgeable and experienced in the diagnosis of the disease and with supporting tests that rule out other diagnoses.

Is lipedema an autoimmune disorder? ›

For some women it is impossible to lose weight because of an under-diagnosed autoimmune disorder many people have never heard of called lipedema. Los Angeles-based surgeon Dr. Jaime Schwartz diagnosed Cruz with the condition. As many as 1 in 9 women may suffer from the condition, according to Dr.

Does lipedema qualify for disability? ›

If the lymphedema severely impairs your ability to use your arms or legs, you may qualify for SSD under listing 1.02, Major Dysfunction of a Joint, which includes chronic joint pain and stiffness with either limitation of motion or abnormal motion as one of its criteria.

How painful is liposuction for lipedema? ›

During the liposuction procedure, Dr. Amron uses Water-Assisted Liposuction (WAL) to put the fluid into the fat to anesthetize it. His patients typically experience a slight discomfort and pinching feeling as the fluid is being placed into the fatty tissue.

What happens years after liposuction? ›

The results will be permanent since liposuction permanently removes fat cells from an area, and fat cells do not grow back or duplicate in the area where liposuction has been done.

What type of liposuction is best for lipedema? ›

Commonly used liposuction methods for lipedema are tumescent anesthesia (TA) liposuction, and water assisted liposuction (WAL). In TA liposuction, tumescent is infused in the subcutaneous tissues to cause the fat cells to swell and vessels to constrict; then blunt micro-cannulas are used to suction the fat.

Are saddlebags always lipedema? ›

Saddle bags alone are not evidence of lipedema and your legs look normal. Saddle bags are totally normal in many women, often of Mediterranean descent.

Does Low Carb help lipedema? ›

Ketogenic diets modulate pain in lipedema independent of weight loss. Ketogenesis positively impacts lymph vessel integrity and lymph transport. The release of BHB reduces inflammation by interrupting exogenous stressors.

What triggers lipedema? ›

The exact cause of lipedema is unknown. But the condition runs in families and may be inherited. The condition occurs almost exclusively in people assigned female at birth, and usually starts or gets worse at the time of puberty, pregnancy or menopause. Because of this, there is likely a connection to hormones.

Can losing weight stop lipedema? ›

Anecdotally, patients have not shown loss of lipedemic fat after extreme caloric restrictive diets. However, healthy eating is very important for people with lipedema as the growth of normal fat is thought to promote lipedema fat growth.

Why is lipedema not covered by insurance? ›

Since there is no specific ICD-10 code for lipedema disease, most medical insurers chose not to recognize Lipedema as a medical disease.

What does lipedema fat feel like? ›

Unlike normal fat accumulation, fat areas resulting from lipedema tend to be very tender if you apply pressure and may be easy to bruise. The fat deposits can also hurt for no apparent reason, and the skin can become less elastic feeling.


1. Living with Lymphedema and Lipedema
(The Doctors)
2. My Lipoedema diagnosis / what is Lipoedema
(the wellness panda)
3. LIVE SURGERY: Liposuction for Type IV Stage II Lipoedema by Mr Vasu Karri | Before & After Images
(The Karri Clinic)
4. And suddenly the lipedema was there: A young woman looking for more qualitiy of life
(CG LYMPHA - Fachklinik für Lipödem & Lymphödem)
5. Lipedema: Evidence-Based Truths - Dr. Omar Beidas
(Lympha Press USA)
6. Can’t lose weight? Always had fat legs? How to lose leg fat!
(Aylie Rose)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 07/16/2023

Views: 5746

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.