Difference Between Lipedema and Lymphedema

Lipedema and lymphedema are two medical conditions that are often confused with each other, however they have some distinct differences. Both conditions involve the swelling of fat cells and can lead to severe health problems if not managed properly.

Lipedema is a chronic and progressive disorder that affects the subcutaneous fat in the legs, hips and arms. It is usually seen in women, but can also occur in men. Lipedema is caused by a malfunction in the lymphatic system, which is responsible for draining excess fluid from the body. This malfunction leads to the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the fat cells, which then leads to swelling. The swelling is usually symmetrical, with the legs being more severely affected than the arms.

Lymphedema, on the other hand, is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system. This blockage prevents the lymphatic fluid from draining properly, which then leads to swelling in the affected area. Lymphedema can be caused by a variety of things, including surgery, radiation therapy, or an injury. It is more common in women, but can also occur in men.

The primary difference between lipedema and lymphedema is that lipedema is caused by a malfunction in the lymphatic system, while lymphedema is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system. Additionally, lipedema is more common in women, while lymphedema is more common in men.

The treatment for both conditions is similar. Both require lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Additionally, compression garments are often recommended for both conditions, as they help to reduce the swelling and improve circulation. Other treatments, such as manual lymphatic drainage and liposuction, may also be recommended.

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In conclusion, lipedema and lymphedema are two different medical conditions. Lipedema is caused by a malfunction in the lymphatic system, while lymphedema is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system. Both conditions require lifestyle changes and compression garments for treatment. It is important to see a doctor if you suspect you may have either condition, as both have the potential to cause serious health problems.

Lipedema vs Lymphedema


Lipedema is a disorder of the subcutaneous fat, mainly affecting the lower extremities, characterized by symmetric swelling, the enlargement of fat cells, and the tendency for the condition to worsen over time. Lymphedema is a chronic condition in which the lymphatic system does not properly drain fluids from the body, resulting in swelling.


The cause of Lipedema is not yet known and current research is focused on determining if there is a genetic component to the disorder. Lymphedema is typically caused by damage to the lymphatic system, which can be due to cancer, radiation, surgery, or other trauma.


The most common symptom of Lipedema is swelling and enlargement of the lower extremities, often accompanied by tenderness, pain, and the formation of fat nodules. Lymphedema is characterized by swelling and impaired lymphatic drainage, typically in the arms and legs. There can also be a feeling of fullness and heaviness, as well as skin changes and tightness.


The treatment for Lipedema is focused on reducing pain and swelling, and managing the condition. This can include diet and exercise, massage, and the use of compression garments. Lymphedema is typically treated with manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, exercise, and the use of compression garments. Other treatments, such as lymphovenous bypass surgery, can also be used to improve lymphatic drainage.

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