‘Lucky to develop Lipoedema only in my later years’

I am now 77 and my Lipoedema was diagnosed in 2022. This photo was taken in December 2021. Symptoms like mine are not a family trait, and my problem only started to show post menopause, about 25 years ago. Prior to that I took the contraceptive pill for 23 years without a break, followed by nine years of HRT pills. My legs started to gradually increase in size after I ceased the HRT. The flesh became painful to touch and leg ache was a daily issue. Spider veins and bruising appeared. Putting my feet up at every opportunity was essential.

In 2022, and quite coincidentally, a massage therapist commented on my legs and suggested I should see a GP, who immediately referred me to a private Lymph Specialist on the Isle of Man. Since then I have had monthly sessions with her. As well as the MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) treatment, she has helped me with compression stockings, exercise and diet regimes. With her help and understanding, I am able to manage my condition to my satisfaction.

However, I am aware how lucky I am to have had Lipoedema only in my later years, unlike so many other women and young girls. As such, I do not have the psychological and confidence issues which understandably plague younger women, who have their lives ahead of them. I am able to regard my symptoms as just one of the problems associated with an older body, and I manage to cover my legs with trousers or long skirts so that I feel confident about my appearance. Note – since seeing the photo here, I have given up shorts and short skirts except in the garden at home!

I joined Lipoedema UK in order to keep abreast of developments in medicine and treatment options, and to become part of the community. It is good to know that I am not alone.

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