Compression for Lipedema is arguably one of the most important conservative measures, they help manage the difficult symptoms and ultimately slow down or stop the progression of the condition. Read on to discover more about compression for Lipedema.
What is Lipedema?
Lipedema is a chronic condition that affects the adipose tissue, causing it to accumulate disproportionately in the lower body, particularly in the legs, hips, and bum. It is a progressive condition, which means it can get worse over time without proper treatment. Lipedema is more common in women, and it usually starts during times of hormonal imbalance such as puberty or pregnancy.
What are compression garments?
Compression garments are clothing items that fit tightly around the skin. In a medical context, compression garments provide support for people standing for long periods or have poor circulation. They come in varying degrees of compression, sleeves that provide compression of 20–30 mmHg or higher typically require a doctor’s prescription. Compression garments worn on the legs can help prevent deep vein thrombosis, improve lymphatic flow and reduce swelling, especially while travelling.
Compression for Lipedema
Compression garments encourage the flow of blood and lymph fluid within the lymphatic system which helps prevent fluid retention/oedema in the tissues and the onset of Lymphedema. In addition, fluid within the tissues is encouraged to move towards the root of the limb, where it can be drained away more easily.
Compression therapy may also reduce the level of pain and discomfort often experienced in the limbs by supporting soft tissues and painful knee joints. They also provide support to the loose connective tissues and help improve appearance, streamline and redefine the shape of the limbs. Compression for Lipedema is mainly found for the legs, however there are arm compression garments available too.
In the UK and many other countries, medical grade compression garments are available on prescription. Compression garments are most effective when worn every day and it is recommended that Lipedema sufferers wear them from the early stages of the condition to avoid progression.
Different types of compression for Lipedema
Wearing compression is believed to be the single most effective way of slowing down or preventing the progression of Lipedema symptoms. People with Lipedema, especially those having surgery, often require made to measure garments which require specialist skills and experience to prescribe.
Compression garments are usually measured by Lymphedema specialists or nurses. To ensure the best fit, different manufacturers require a specific set of measurements on their own brand’s measurement chart, so it is essential to be remeasured if you are changing from one type of garment to another.
Certain postal prescriptions services offer a wide range of brands, styles and colours which can be delivered to your door. They can also help you set up repeat prescriptions to avoid you having to contact your specialist whenever you need new ones.
Putting on compression hosiery is easiest first thing in the morning, when the legs are at their smallest and least swollen. Getting garments on and off may take practice and a pair of rubber gloves can help, as can specialist appliances, such as Arion Easy Slides.
When prescribed successfully compression garments should be comfortable, give support and increase mobility.
Compression requirements for Lipemedical
One of the preoperative requirements for surgery with Lipemedical is that you visit a vascular specialist, such as a Lymphedema nurse, to have custom flat knit compression made. Then for the 6-8 weeks prior to surgery, they need to be worn for 16 hours per day. This softens the stubborn Lipedema fat ready for surgery. The same compression garments will need to be worn for 8 weeks post op to ensure a smooth recovery. From there, you can gradually start wearing them less and less.
All the details of my preoperative requirements can be found in my blog ‘Lipedema liposuction pre surgery checklist’.
My experience with compression for Lipedema
I think all women who wear compression garments probably have a love hate relationship with them. They definitely take some getting used to. I booked my WAL Liposuction surgery at the start of 2023 and it’s not until October. This means I’ve had time to build up to wearing compression for long periods. Now, it’s become more of a routine and I’m ready to start wearing my flat knit compression every day starting in August.
When being measured by my nurse, I was given the option to try a pair of sports compression leggings from a brand from Lipoelastic. They are not medical grade compression, however they’re a great alternative to wear to the gym on the days where my flat knits feel too much.
Do you currently wear compression garments to manage your Lipedema symptoms? Have you worn them in the past and no longer feel the need to? Send me an email on email@example.com and let me know whether you love or hate them.
Disclaimer: My blogs talk about Lipedema, diet, surgery and much more. I’m talking from my point of view to help women, and remind them they are not alone. I am not a medical professional, so the content above is from my own perspective with research I have done into the topic. It’s not meant as medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or a specialist for both your diagnosis, and a treatment plan.