Where did it start? And how did I get to the where I am today with a Lipedema diagnosis and pending surgery? Keep reading my blog – ‘Lipedema and Me’ – to find out how I discovered that I suffer from a condition called Lipedema that affects 11% of women worldwide. Yes, 11%!
Since being a teenager and making the decision to start taking the contraceptive pill at 15, my lower half has always been out of proportion with the rest of my body. In fact, I remember having thicker ankles than most girls even as a child.
For many years, I thought my body composition was just different to everyone else – I had straight, tubular shaped legs that I always hated. In my late teens and early 20s, my ankles and calves were the worst affected areas. My lower body was always bigger than my upper half. But those were the two areas where the fat was most concentrated.
As I reached my mid 20s, the thickness migrated up my legs, and before I knew it the fat had reached my knees too. My thighs have always looked more ‘normal’ in comparison, so now my legs were straight up and down instead of going in at the knees and ankles.
People would always comment on how slim my waist is and how ‘I didn’t need to lose weight’ because I was tiny. While some may see this as a compliment, it’s very frustrating for someone living with Lipedema. Little did they know I was hiding my biggest insecurity under baggy, wide leg trousers even in summer. Sound familiar?
You only need to take a look at my mum to see a striking bodily resemblance, especially on old holiday photos from her younger years. The disproportion between her stomach and legs is so noticeable and it makes sense when you realise that Lipedema can be a hereditary condition.
Although the ramifications of having Lipedema can seem only ‘skin deep’, let me assure you they are not. As I have gotten older and my legs have slowly increased in volume, the pain and discomfort has increased too. Now at 30, it affects my day to day life and unfortunately, untreated it will continue to get worse.
If this is sounding all too familiar, take a minute to ask yourself the below:
- Do your legs and ankles swell in warmer weather or during exercise?
- Is your lower half unresponsive to diet and exercise?
- Do your legs feel heavy and weighed down often?
- Does your lower half bruise easily?
- Are you arms also out of proportion with the rest of your body?
- Do any other females in your family have the same body type as you?
If the answers are yes to the above questions and there is a clear lack of symmetry between your upper and lower body, you may well have Lipedema.
I am going to write about my journey to raise awareness for the condition, there is very little awareness around Lipedema, so much so that some countries still don’t recognise it as a medical condition. I’m planning to delve into all the details: my diagnosis, treatments, prevention, surgery and more.
Stay tuned to find out how I finally said ‘enough is enough’ and managed to get a Lipedema diagnosis in the UK and in Madrid. The process certainly wasn’t a simple or short one, but hopefully I can advise you on the best way forward. Advice and support from other women online has helped me get to where I am today. The book linked here also helped educate me when I first discovered the world of Lipedema.
Let’s raise awareness for Lipedema and help more women living with this isolating condition know they are not alone.
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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.