Abnormal accumulation of fat in the legs and thighs characterises lipoedema. While more common in women, this chronic condition is increasingly also being seen in men.
What are the symptoms?
Lipoedema typically presents as symmetric swelling and enlargement of the legs, often accompanied by a feeling of heaviness and discomfort. As well, characteristic ‘orange peel’ appearance on the skin may be due to the presence of fibrous tissue. Abnormal accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues characterises lymphoedema, which often accompanies the condition.
While exact causes of lipoedema are not well documented, it is thought to be related to hormonal and genetic factors. Often underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed as obesity, it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
What are the treatment options for lipoedema in men?
Treatment for lipoedema typically involves a combination of approaches, including compression therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, and liposuction. Compression therapy involves the use of special compression stockings or compression garments to help reduce swelling and improve circulation. Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage technique that helps to reduce the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat from the affected areas.
Seeing a health professional is the first step
Lastly, men being aware that lipoedema is not just a women’s issue is a good first step. If you have symptoms of lipoedema, it is important to see a healthcare professional who can properly diagnose and treat the condition. With the right treatment, it is possible to reduce the symptoms of lipoedema and improve quality of life.
For more information see our earlier blog: Is fat in the legs lipoedema or obesity? where we talk about how misdiagnosis of lipoedema for obesity, oedema or lymphoedema is common. And as a result of this, sufferers may embark on an incorrect treatment pathway, such as weight loss surgery. While all of these conditions may be present at the same time to differing degrees, it is recognised as a distinct condition, with its own set of specific treatments.