Good morning Judy. For sure, for us ladies with lipoedema and lymphedema (whether diagnosed or not) a ketogenic WOE appears (judging from science, anecdotes and our own N=1 experiments) the best thing currently, and we have the power to help ourselves by arming ourselves with knowledge and making informed decisions. The thing with science is that it changes all the time yielding fresh insights, new approaches and ideas, but because it can also be fickle, I always listen to my body more.
Like you, I don’t believe liposuction is the answer, it comes with its own risks. I have varicose veins as well, it’s a feature of lipoedema, and I am in the process of getting the veins treated. If you have varicose, and you are considering having liposuction in the future, (1) You’ll have to have your veins treated first, otherwise they could cause complications during the liposuction procedure, (2) The liposuction would have to be performed by somone who specialises in lipoedema liposuction.
Although there’s not much NHS can do (I live in the UK) they can prescribe compression which is beneficial and teach you lymphatic massage, although you may would likely need to be referred to a clinic specialising in lipoedema and lymphedema. But bringing your concern about your lipoedema up with your doctor is the first step. Sadly, not many doctors are knowledgeable about this. I was lucky. My GP, when I brought up my suspicion that I had lipoedema with her, she actually listened. And she knew about the condition, if not in great detail. She agreed it looked like lipoedema, and referred me to a lymphedema clinic where they are also knowledgeable about lipoedema. At that clinic a lady examined me and said, I was so different from any lipoedema lady she had ever met (because I’m slim) and she diagnosed me with the beginning changes of lipoedema rather than the most prominent features (caused by obesity and progression). What she did note is that I have the characteristic cuffs around my ankles, though still not very noticeable, and although I’m thin, my top half is a size UK 6 and my bottom half is a size UK 8. The difference between top half and lower half was noticeable, she remarked, and that my lipoedema features were made more prominent by being slim.
Now I’m going to share some lipoedema features with you she said many ladies she saw have, two of which I don’t have, so you can examine these traits in yourself. (1) A lot of lipoedema ladies may have a fat cap, you would be able to feel it if you touched your head (I don’t have this). (2) A lot of lipoedema ladies may have lordosis which is curved spine (I don’t have this either) (3) Lipoedema is often associated with hypermobility (This I’m pretty sure I have, but we didn’t discuss it at the time).
Another feature I used to have was that my legs were covered in bruises. But because I was already on a ketogenic WOE when I spoke to the lady, there were no bruises to remark upon. She did remark my waist is tiny. And this is quite typical of the lipoedema in the early stages. According to Dr. Ken Berry it’s to do with insulin malfunctioning, that it gives your body a signal to put weight on in really odd places, disproportionately. So you can be as thin as to count your ribs, but still have the same legs as before, which is of course, madly frustrating. In the end she gave me some helpful advice (showed me how to perform daily lymphatic massage) and prescribed me Sigvaris compression class 1. I opted for tights instead of stockings, black to go with my skirts and dresses, and I got prescribed two which would have been about £70 each. These Sigvaris tights have been most helpful, and it is possible it is because of religiously wearing them, and not the ketogenic WOE, or perhaps a combination, that all the bruises I used to have on my legs are now gone, and stay gone.
But here’s the thing about lipoedea that is the must frustrating part. It is not just a fat disorder (I have very little fat), it is a painful fat disorder because lymphatic fluid is trapped in the fat. So your skin can feel spongy in the later stages. Mine don’t. The little fat I do have on my legs, however, (mostly calves and on and around my knees) can be a bit tender. It used to be much more tender before I started a ketogenic WOE, but I still get that tenderness. In my thighs as well as the calves, and it comes and goes. That could also be the Tamoxifen. The other, even more frustrating thing, is that lipoedema is a loose, connective tissue disorder, and because of this I don’t do well running, though I am a keen walker. I am looking now into sources of collagen which are meant to strengthen connective tissue in food, as I don’t wish to take supplements. I believe there is a lot of collagen in animal skin, and bones.
I also would like to say, as you are probably currently researching this condition yourself, it is a very natural impulse afterall to wish to arm oneself with knowledge, don’t let the more extreme cases you see on the internet discourage you. Lipoedema does not progress unless there is weight gain/obesity. Sadly, a lot of ladies who were battling with their weight and addicted to carbs and ended up obese - and unbeknownst to them their lipoedema progressed along with their general obesity - end up with lipo-lymphedema which explains those more extreme cases documented on the internet. Often, someone who was morbidly obese and then had the gastric sleeve, discovers that the fat in their non lipoedema-related areas goes, but of course the lipoedema fat/condition remains, and is greatly progressed, so they end up looking very slim on top, but vastly disproportionate on the bottom. Which is why it is so important I think to raise the awareness around lipoedema. So many women don’t know about it, and sadly, likewise, so many health professionals remain clueless about the condition as well.
If you suspect you have lipoedema Judy I would if I were you bring it up with your doctor. This WOE has helped me so much so I do believe a ketogenic WOE is highly beneficial in treating both lipoedema and lymphedema. The other two things I have added to my arsenal are lymphatic massage and compression. The lady at the lymphedema clinic also reccommended various toning exercises like bicycling and water aerobics, preferably specifically designed for lipoedema. I just do walking for now. Your doctor may not be knowledgeable enough to diagnose your lipoedema, but he/she may be able to refer you to a lymphedema clinic where you will be met with knowledge and good support. Hope this helps, sorry for waffling on. Wish you the best of health!