Why your fat legs might not be your fault

Research is being carried out on the genetic cause of lipoedema - a condition that causes women to have abnormally fat or ‘tree trunk’ shaped legs.

Experts at London’s St George’s Hospital and St George’s at the University of London hope the research will help to find the cause of the disease which is thought to affect around 9% of women.

Lipoedema fat is different to normal fat in that it doesn’t respond to diet and exercise and causes pain and bruising. It also gets worse over time and can lead to mobility issues and another condition called lymphedema. It often starts at periods of hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause.

Hollie is 32 and from Hull. She first developed bigger legs when she was 16 and was diagnosed with lipoedema three years ago. She’s had a special type of liposuction to remove the abnormal fat and says the operation will be “life changing”.

The NHS page on lipoedema says: “It’s difficult to get NHS funding for liposuction for lipoedema, but your GP can try to apply for funding through your local CCG."

Following the surgery, Hollie said: “When people say you look amazing - I say but I didn’t do this for how I wanted to look - I did this to get rid of the pain”.