12.01.2022 – 12:10
medi GmbH & Co. KG
During puberty, she noticed that she was different: a little heavier on her legs, constant bruises, severe pain to touch and pressure, and an increasing feeling of heaviness. In the practical year as a trainee doctor, her complaints increased. Her then head of vascular surgery made the diagnosis – lipedema. Today Dr. Educate Nicole Gerlach in her dual role as an affected patient and doctor, share her specialist knowledge and experience. In the interview she talks about the importance of medical compression stockings (MCS), individual advice and self-management and gives answers to much discussed questions about lipedema therapy.
Miss Dr. Gerlach, to what extent has lipedema affected your everyday life?
“In every situation in life it was very stressful for me – especially at the beginning as a young woman. The sudden, uncontrollable weight gain and the extensive therapeutic measures turned my world upside down.”
How are you being treated?
“At first I was wrapped in bandages until the swelling subsided, before I got my flat-knitted MCS and went to lymphatic drainage several times a week. When I was too busy at work, I looked for alternatives: massages, water aerobics, exercise on the mini-stepper – now I have For lack of time I have a lymphoma and continue to wear flat-knit MCS every day. It is important to me to be consistently active – also in terms of comprehensive self-management. When my inner suffering increased from daily pain despite all the measures, I decided to have liposuction. ”
How important is the importance of medical compression stockings (MCS) after this procedure?
“The value of FMD is usually the same before and after liposuction, continuous wearing is extremely important, especially as a conservative therapeutic measure to relieve pain. It is a dream and rarely actually possible that you can no longer use medical compression after liposuction required – the reality is different as the diseased tissue cannot be completely removed.
The surgical procedure has to transform the tissue – an optimally adapted compression supply is very important for the healing time. After liposuction, you should wear the FMD for at least six months, or even better for a year, and I recommend it permanently beyond that. ”
What do you value when it comes to medical compression supplies?
“The MKS must be individually adapted to the patient and his needs, material and fit play a major role. The variety of patterns and colors also have a positive influence on acceptance and compliance (therapy adherence).”
So besides medical effectiveness, optics also play an important role?
“Definitely, the different colors and motifs are great! The MCS are not noticeable at first glance in everyday life, but look like normal stockings and tights. That gives you a good feeling – the bright colors are also great for young girls Option.”
You are active on social media. What made you decide to share your everyday life and your medical expertise?
“My family and friends have motivated me to become active as a doctor and affected patient. It is an affair of the heart to do good to others with my experience and knowledge. I provide information about the context and background of the disease and keep up to date with new content Often there is still a lack of knowledge, even in the medical profession, and my patients feel that they have not been understood – I can understand that as a victim. ”
We are seeing great support in the lipedema community. In your opinion, how does this contribute to the success of the therapy?
“Everyone decides individually what they want to find out about in what depth and what they enjoy. The community is growing steadily, you can exchange ideas with people you wouldn’t see on the street and realize that you are not alone with your diagnosis . I find channels appealing with personalities who give an authentic insight and also openly say when they are not doing well – that is real life. ”
What role does good self-management play?
“A very big one – with lots of exclamation marks (laughs)! Instead of resting on the diagnosis and conservative measures, you naturally have to take action yourself. An example: Most lipedema patients are overweight. Contrary to what is often communicated, you can also lose weight with lipedema. Lipedema cannot be combated with weight loss cures. However, specific, individual weight management in connection with exercise and compression therapy achieves very positive results and can alleviate the symptoms. In any case, patients should urgently avoid any weight gain and try to do so if they are overweight to reduce this. But the head has to want that itself first. ”
What roles do the experts from specialist retailers play?
“You should have a good medical supply store at hand, because advice from specialist retailers is very important for patient compliance with therapy. Primarily, the first aid must be precisely tailored so that patients consistently wear the FMD.”
You are a specialist in nutritional medicine. What tips can you give?
“Diet influences lipedema. Every time you gain weight, the increase in fat tissue constricts the lymphatic ducts and capillaries. If you go overboard, most patients have a kind of” carbohydrate hangover “the next day – they feel exhausted, have more pain and water retention . It is important to drink enough, in addition to oatweed tea, for example, to activate the lymphatic system. It is important to avoid finished products, additives and preservatives as well as hormone-sensitive substances from canned food and plastic bottles, to reduce animal-based foods, and instead switch to plant-based substitutes In addition, lipedema patients should eat sugar-free, refined carbohydrates and white flour products. Alternatively, carbohydrates with a low glycemic value, such as whole grain bread or legumes, can be on the menu. Dairy products should avoid lipedema patients or be of high quality ge hay milk from grass-fed cows without feed / grain. Conventional milk has a higher level of estrogen, but this hormone promotes the growth of lipedema tissue and can cause the disease to progress. It is important to speak to the attending physician, as an individual therapy should be closely coordinated, especially in the case of other concomitant illnesses. ”
So there is a connection between lipedema and hormones?
“Yes, the female sex hormone estrogen promotes relapses and the progression of the disease. During puberty, the first tenderness to tissue and touch, as well as bruises. The ‘pill’ can aggravate this. It is therefore important to have a good gynecologist on hand . During pregnancy, the hormonal change can lead to another surge. ”
In addition to diet and regular wearing of foot-and-mouth disease, which factors influence lipedema pain?
“Movement! This is also possible with sedentary activities – the calf and venous pumps are activated by rocking movements of the legs and feet. Don’t forget: Wear FMD during physical activity and keep your legs high in between. Another tip: breathing exercises. Deep breathing into the abdomen promotes the return flow of blood to the heart via the negative pressure generated and thus, secondarily, the removal of the lymphatic fluid. ”
What advice would you like to give to lipedema patients?
“Become active yourself and exhaust all therapy options individually! Your own will is important, because you can do a lot to support you. Exercise in everyday life is the be-all and end-all, there are always alternatives: For people who cannot take 10,000 steps a day , for example, an exercise bike for arms or feet or small dumbbells to strengthen the muscles could help. Find out together with your doctor what works and what is fun. So everyone can find the optimal therapy for themselves! ”
Dear Dr. Gerlach, thank you very much for the sympathetic interview and the exciting insights from your point of view as a doctor and patient!
medi – I feel better. For the company medi, around 3,000 employees worldwide make a significant contribution to making people feel better. The aim is to enable users and patients to achieve maximum therapeutic success in the medical field (medi Medical) and, moreover, a unique body feeling in the sports and fashion segment (CEP and ITEM m6). Medi Medical’s range of services includes medical compression stockings, adaptive compression supplies, bandages, orthoses, thrombosis prophylaxis stockings, compression clothing and orthopedic insoles. In addition, the many years of experience in the field of compression technology also flow into the development of sports and fashion products. The foundation stone for the internationally successful company was laid in Bayreuth in 1951. Today medi is one of the leading manufacturers of medical aids and delivers with a network of distributors and its own branches in over 90 countries around the world. www.medi.de, www.item-m6.com, www.cepsports.com
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