Is lipedema painful? That’s a question that many people who think they may have this condition ask. Lipedema is a progressive condition that affects adipose tissue. Its main characteristic is a larger lower body and column-like legs. However, there are other symptoms to look out for too. These include easy bruising and tenderness in the affected limbs. Getting a diagnosis of lipedema isn’t easy. That leaves some potential sufferers seeking more information about the signs of the disease. Pain is one possible sign of lipedema but isn’t an automatic indicator of the condition.
What Does Lipedema Pain Feel Like?
Pain is a common symptom of lipedema. In fact, about 70% of lipedema patients experience pain due to their condition. The pain experience varies between individuals. In some cases, it can feel like a dull, heavy ache. In others, it can feel like a sharp pain even with a light touch to the affected area. Some people feel pain in their calves when standing for a long time. Others feel tingling or a sensation of restlessness in their legs. If patients kneel, they may feel discomfort from the pads of fat on their knees. In some cases, sufferers may also experience pain in the joints of their knees and hips.
Why Does Lipedema Cause Pain?
Doctors don’t understand why lipedema causes pain for sufferers. It’s possible the cause is inflammation in the fat that influences the sensory nerves and leads to connect tissue fibrosis. More pain arises because the swelling of the legs causes chafing during movement. Meanwhile, extra weight around the hips and knees puts added pressure on the joints. The extra fat can change the sufferer’s walking gait, which then causes more pain when moving. Fat on the buttocks can also put added pressure on the lower back, causing back pain when moving and standing.
How Does Lipedema Pain Affect Quality of Life?
The pain that lipedema patients experience affects their quality of life in a number of significant ways. For a start, it reduces their mobility. Pain when moving around makes it difficult to get about and live an active lifestyle. Being in constant pain can also cause mental and emotional well-being issues. It can cause anxiety and depression in sufferers, especially if they struggle to leave their homes because of mobility problems.
How Can I Reduce Lipedema Pain?
Doctors often suggest that sufferers make lifestyle changes to reduce their pain. They recommend healthy eating and taking more gentle exercise. They also recommend wearing compression garments and having Manual Lymphatic Drainage massages. These treatments help to relieve the pain temporarily, but the relief is only short-lived.
The best way to reduce or even eliminate the pain of lipedema is to have liposuction surgery. Liposuction addresses the cause of the disease – the problematic fat. By removing the diseased fat, liposuction reduces pain in the long term. It also improves mobility by reducing bulk from the lower limbs.
Is lipedema painful for you? Then get in touch with Dr. Su at ArtLipo, who is a specialist in the field.
Dr. Hamwi is an aesthetic plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgical and non-invasive procedures. After completing residencies in both plastic surgery and general surgery as well as a fellowship at Harvard University, Dr. Hamwi then went on to pursue an aesthetic surgery fellowship at one of the country’s most competitive programs in Manhattan, New York. Less than one percent of plastic surgeons have completed such specialized training.