For many women the condition begins during puberty, specifically at the threshold from girl to adult woman. At a time in life when the reaction to an outfit can shake a still unstable youthfull self-image, the legs suddenly begin to grow uncontrollably without anything having changed in one’s lifestyle. Affected women then subsequently often suffer from attacks of mobbing and bodyshaming, which very often lead to depression and other psychological disorders. They feel guilty, even though they are in no way responsible for their condition. It’s not only the legs that hurt, but also the looks. This predicament often leads to the adoption of strict diets and excessive sports activities. They lose weight, but the legs remain oversize and don’t fit in with the rest of the body. The lipoedema continues to grow in an uncontrolled way, because it is a progressive condition.
Not so long ago, the condition was completely unknown and those affected were socially stigmatised and excluded, especially in advanced stages. At that time even family doctors did not take the reports of those affected seriously. They were told to go on a diet and exercise more. Misunderstanding was a constant companion on the path of suffering that had already lasted for years. Thus, the affected people were left to their own devices and were left alone with their suffering.
The moment of diagnosis, after a valley of tears, feels like a kind of release. There it is in black and white: it is a medical condition. And it is not their fault. The burden that disappears upon the announcement of the diagnosis changes their life. Just as life-changing as the conservative therapy that follows. Because wearing flat-knitted compression tights and doing lymphatic drainage provides relief, protects the lymphatic system and gives a better quality of life. Finally, the lipoedema is under control.
That is precisely why education is a mainstay of our work. The earlier people learn about their condition, the more they will be spared unnecessary suffering.