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Does Lipedema Affect Men?

Most people think that lipedema doesn’t affect men at all. It’s true to say that it almost exclusively occurs in women. However, doctors have seen cases in men too. Some cases involve trans men, who find it worsens their gender dysphoria significantly. But cisgender men can suffer from lipedema too. In most cases, male sufferers have other medical issues too, but there are cases of idiopathic lipedema in men.

Why Does Lipedema Mostly Affect Women

At the present time, the exact cause of lipedema remains unknown. However, experts believe it has something to do with genetics and hormones.

Experts believe estrogen, one of the female hormones, is at the heart of the disease. Estrogen shifts are associated with puberty, pregnancy, menopause, gynecological surgery, and hormonal contraceptives. All of these things trigger or exacerbate lipedema symptoms. Therefore, doctors now think estrogen levels and lipedema have a strong link. As estrogen levels are much higher in women than men, it makes sense that most sufferers are female.

When it comes to genetics, studies an X chromosome-linked inheritance pattern or a sex-limited autosomal dominant inheritance. As a result, if someone’s mother, sister, or other close female relative has lipedema, they probably have it too. That also suggests why lipedema primarily affects women.

Also Read – How Long Does It Take to Progress Through the Three Lipedema Stages?

Which Men Are at Risk of Developing Lipedema?

Although most lipedema sufferers are female, certain men are more likely to develop the condition.

Trans men obviously have a greater risk, especially before undergoing testosterone therapy, due to their higher estrogen levels. Some cisgender males have a higher chance of developing lipedema. For example, some male sufferers have syndromal diseases with low testosterone levels.

A few men appear to develop idiopathic lipedema, although they may have other underlying conditions. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common association.

What Are the Symptoms of Lipedema in Men?

The symptoms of lipedema in men are the same as those seen in female sufferers. Typically, men with lipedema will have a larger lower body and a smaller upper body. They will have noticeably swollen, column-like legs that are symmetrical. They may also find that the affected areas bruise easily and are tender or painful. Another common symptom of lipedema in both men and women is nodules under the skin. Initially, these may feel like small grains of rice beneath the skin’s surface. As the disease progresses, the nodules will become more apparent. They may start to feel more like peas and eventually grow to the size of walnuts or plums.

Just as in female sufferers, lipedema is progressive in men too. Without treatment, it will only worsen over time. Men are also just as likely to experience emotional and mental health problems due to the condition. They are likely to have low self-confidence and poor self-esteem. They can also suffer from anxiety and depression, just like female sufferers.

What Are the Treatment Options for Lipedema in Men?

There is no cure available for lipedema in either female or male sufferers at the moment. However, treatments are available that can help relieve the discomfort and pain that the condition causes. Patients can choose from either conservative or surgical treatments.

Doctors often advise both male and female sufferers to try conservative options first. This approach involves wearing compression garments and undergoing regular manual lymphatic drainage therapy. Making lifestyle changes such as eating healthily and exercising more is also a common recommendation. The conservative approach can help to relieve the symptoms temporarily. But it cannot stop the progression of the disease, only slow it down. Patients must continue with their conservative treatments on an ongoing basis.

The other option is liposuction lipedema surgery. This approach is more drastic, but it achieves excellent outcomes for sufferers. The surgery is, essentially, the same as cosmetic liposuction surgery, but with a medical purpose. The surgeon operates with the patient under a local anesthetic. They make small incisions in the affected areas, pass a cannula through, and suction away the diseased fat.

As liposuction removes the problematic lipedema fat, it also reduces the pain that sufferers experience. Furthermore, it removes bulk, making movement easier. An added benefit of liposuction surgery is that it restores a more proportionate body appearance. Therefore, sufferers experience improved self-esteem and self-confidence. Both male and female sufferers alike can experience these benefits from lipedema surgery.

The biggest problem that male lipedema sufferers face is getting a diagnosis. It is often difficult to get a lipedema diagnosis, even as a woman. As a man, it’s even more challenging because there is a belief that men simply can’t get this condition. It, therefore, takes men even longer to find an expert who can diagnose them.

It couldn’t be more crucial to find the right expert who can diagnose and offer the best possible treatment. Dr. Su at ArtLipo is a leading expert in this field and can diagnose and treat both men and women. Get in touch today to arrange a consultation.

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