A few weeks ago Ursula wrote to me (@ursel_at_home) on Instagram if she could ask me something. "Of course," I wrote back. After all, my daughter Charice and I had our side Lipomedels created to show how we deal with lipedema, answer questions and simply share our life with it. The next question now led to the fact that I am sitting here in front of a rather blank page and not really know what to write.
Who do you talk to about your menopause with lipedema and would you write a small article?
Uh, menopause? Good question. So actually I don't talk to anyone about menopause. Well, so flippantly with my friends. But that's not really a real exchange. Ursula caught me head-on with this little question. We then had a really great video call and for the first time I talked about the topic of menopause with lipedema. Why is that like that? This question has occupied me for a few weeks now.
Menopause? I'm only ... well, 51. So not so young anymore, I have to admit, and that's definitely the age for menopause. I'm not really someone who quarrels with his age, but menopause is really not a cool word. At least there is nothing positive about it. In my head it sounded like doom and gloom and the end. My brain blinked the alarm light very briefly, but then it did its job.
What does menopause mean?
Change definitely. Years is a longer period. Also true. Of course, a lot had changed in the last few years. Life has "changed". It's not all about the kids anymore. They are now grown up at 19 and 25 and go their own way. Time for mom to find her new way. My path is very closely related to lipedema.
I received my diagnosis of lipedema very late, at 47. Before that, I was simply the overweight person who knew every diet, followed every fitness trend and still kept on gaining weight over the years. When I was 46, I decided again to do something about my excess weight. I went to the gym and got a contract. The great thing about this studio was that it had an attached swimming pool with daily courses in the water. My goal was to exercise at least 3 times a week. No excuses.
I quickly noticed how good the daily exercise was for me
I had increased to 2 hours 5 times a week. In addition, I was walking my dog longer and longer every day. I simply attributed the pain in my legs to moving with my body weight. The first few weeks I lost 14 kg very quickly, and the next 6 kg took me almost a year. After 1,5 years of intensive training, I had a coaching lesson in the gym with body analysis. My trainer said
“You should have your body fat percentage checked again by a doctor. It shows me muscles, water percentage, but the fat values are somehow wrong. Have you ever heard of lipedema? "
Now I've totally drifted away. In short, that's how my diagnosis came about in the first place, which I then had some doctors check out. Since then, my perspective on my body has changed. I don't expect a perfect body anymore. I only do sports for myself and because it's good for me. I don't need a model figure. I wear compression because it's good for me and if it bothers me, I leave it off like 51 years ago. And I go to lymphatic drainage because it helps me very well against the pain. Quite often the word I. Perhaps it is also about menopause with lipedema. The own ich find.
When the menopause goes under with lipedema in everyday life
Now I've told you a lot about my diagnosis of lipedema, but nothing about menopause. Maybe it all went under for me a little. I dealt so intensively with lipedema that I paid little attention to other changes. In addition, I injured my knee very seriously in November 2019. Actually a total write-off, which in turn was overlaid by Corona and my husband's severe heart attack. I've only been thinking about menopausal symptoms for the past few weeks. Yes, my periods come very sporadically. But I've never had a steady cycle. Yes, it was so strong that I didn't want to leave the house. I've always had a cheeky hair or two on my chin, but now it has buddies with me. The tweezers are my constant companion. All things that I can live with.
My lipedema has definitely taken off again.
It slowly settled on the lower abdomen without being asked and let the arms explode. I can't put the exact extent to this because I have to admit that I was just lazy the last few months of the lockdown. I don't notice any mood swings. Maybe that's because we all live in such an exceptional situation. But what I definitely notice is that sometimes I am really exhausted. Is that the menopause with lipedema or worries about my husband? Do I just miss my gym and swimming pool during these corona times?
I can't tell you. The fact is, Ursula's question continues to work in me. The change will definitely continue. So far I've made up my mind to see it loosely. It's not a disease, it's just a change. I will listen to myself, give myself breaks, get fitter again by opening the bathrooms and studios and enjoy as much as possible.
thank you for your article!
I can also confirm that my lipedema increased with the menopause. Just like you, it happens to me in spurts. Suddenly after months the menstrual period comes back and shortly afterwards I have the feeling that the lipedema has slightly increased in size again. Before menopause, it was more of a long, creeping process.
In the meantime, it has hit my arms and I suddenly have bruises there just as often as on my legs. I'm not even talking about the circumference (hello wink arm!) And as with you, the waist circumference has changed differently. I haven't been slim for a long time and one or two corona pounds have settled there, but I never had such a big stomach in the same weight class. It almost seems as if one exchanges one load (menstrual period) for the other (increased lipedema). Bad deal. It is frustrating to see your girth grow with limited ability to do anything about it. Too quickly you are back in the spiral of frustration and grief. That's why I also sincerely hope that we will soon have Corona in check again to swim or go to the fitness studio. Sports at home are not the same. Even if it doesn't change much about lipedema, it is good for the soul (and the rest of your health!) And then it is easier to live with your roommate lipedema again.
With this in mind, everyone stays healthy!
Hello Steffi, thank you for your comment. Just as you describe it, I also feel the lipedema flare-ups. The menopause seems to trigger something again for Rich. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the baths and sports facilities will soon be able to open. I have great hopes for it. Exercising at home is really just a small substitute. Kind regards, Sylke
Hello, I look forward to your comment. It complements my report perfectly. It is exactly like that. The frustration actually increases weekly. I really hope that the baths will open again soon and my body will react positively to them again. I just can't get my butt up at home to get enough exercise. At the moment it's really hard work. But we can do it. I bet on a good spring. Kind regards Sylke
Thank you for your honest, interesting contribution. Is not so easy with the years in the middle of the change. I think I'm already in there. Before and already at it and before that. I leave a lot of greetings. Stay healthy and all the best. Wish Claudia
Are you writing from me? You could replace your first name with mine, point by point, including concern for the man. I'm 49 and currently have the feeling that my legs are exploding, including my knees. All the best to you. Greetings Tanja
Hello Tanja, thank you for your comment. All the best and good times for you too. Kind regards Sylke
I was also diagnosed late, at 45 years of age. My lipoedema has always affected my hips, buttocks, thighs, and upper arms. I have had symptoms since the age of 5 years old, and over the years I got up to 20 stones in weight (127kg); however, since menopause I have put on another 5 stones (31.75kg).
I love that you are so happy and confident, and can wear dresses which show your legs. I have chronic lymphatic insufficiency (lymphoedema) in my legs, so they are very big and misshaped, even with compression stockings. It was good to read your blog, and quite inspirational.