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  • Lipoedema is a condition that mainly affects women and is characterised by a painful swelling in the legs, thighs and buttocks, and sometimes the arms.
  • Lipoedema occurs because of the abnormal accumulation of fat and other tissues under the skin.
  • If you have lipoedema your legs become swollen, bruise easily, are tender, feel increasingly painful as the day progresses and are generally uncomfortable.
  • 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.
  • Treatment includes changes to your diet, use of compression stockings, bandaging affected areas, low-impact exercise, massage and water-based activities.
  • Specialised liposuction for lipoedema can assist when other conservative treatments have not been effective.

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Reviewed on: 11-09-2023