Experience report: Lipoedema of the arms and legs

Fashion blogger and patient Caroline Sprott talks about her diagnosis of lipoedema, which she received in her early 20s, and how social media helps her deal with it. In the interview, she gives insights and tips for lipoedema and lymphoedema patients. 

Experience report: Caroline Sprott

"You become self-confident by becoming self-aware!"

Caroline Sprott is a well-known face of the new trend colour campaign. The Augsburg native regularly reports about her life with medical compression on her fashion blog and on Instagram. The self-proclaimed “lipoedema maid-of-all-work" has swapped her job in marketing for her own online shop and flagship store in Augsburg – as an independent entrepreneur, author, speaker and model, she shows other sufferers how to integrate medical compression stockings into their everyday lives in a fashionable and modern way.

Ms Sprott, you were diagnosed in your early 20s – please give us a brief insight into your medical history.  

"I sat in the office a lot during my apprenticeship in 2010 and also took long train rides every day. One evening I spontaneously had very badly aching legs, even painkillers did not bring any relief. In addition, the circumference of my calves had increased significantly. I didn't even know about lipoedema at that point - but I knew I should go to the doctor." 

How were you treated? 

"At the time, my family doctor referred me directly to a vascular clinic where I was diagnosed with lipoedema – at that time, only my legs were affected. The specialist staff took my case seriously right away and fortunately I received proper care immediately. This was really amazing for the lipoedema world at that time, as such good initial care is still not taken for granted today. I got the prescription for my first compression stockings – even then I opted for stockings from medi - and lymphatic drainage, as well as the application for a home treatment device. My treatment still looks similar today. But I think lymphatic drainage is now being prescribed more widely and lymphology is slowly making progress." 

Medical compression stockings are an important component of your treatment. What do you particularly like about the mediven 550*? 

"I have tested many things over the years and for me the mediven 550* is the best quality. The knitted fabric is high quality, durable and still looks good even after prolonged wear. The robust wall stability also helps me with severe pain. And I really like the different additions such as the functional zones, the patterns and especially the colours – as far as variations go, medi is simply ahead of the game." 

What do you like about the variety of colours, patterns and crystals at medi? 

"I especially like the fact that you can mix so many elements together. I currently like the fashion element 'Classic' in black best. My next compression will be 'Nature' in medi Magenta – I'm really looking forward to that: Magenta is a bold, happy colour that immediately puts me in a good mood!" 

You are very active with your own blog and on Instagram. With what intention did you start back then? 

"At the time, a friend encouraged me to share my experiences so that other sufferers would no longer feel so alone – I was one of the first to appear with medical compression stockings on social media. At first it was all very unusual for me. To this day, it is important to me that I compile as much knowledge as possible about lipoedema and its treatment, so that people can be read about it there at any time. Since then, the channels have grown steadily and continued to be filled with life!"  

One focus of your blog is fashion: Have you been so open about styling with medical compression stockings from the beginning of your diagnosis?  

"When I received the medical compression care, I knew it would be seen. So I had to come up with something that would harmonise with my style. From that moment on, I got into my compression with my look. When I got the arm diagnosis two years later, I was initially overwhelmed. That's when my – as I call it – fashionable self-therapy began: I dress well every day, even when I'm sick or in home office. It helps my body image enormously. The better you are dressed, the better you can perform, feel and think more confidently."   

You are a strong, confident woman in dealing with the disease – what has helped you? 

"I'm a happy person, but when I got my arm diagnosis I was very depressed and unhappy far too often. To get out of this impasse, I did psychotherapy, from which I still benefit today. If you can no longer get ahead on your own, someone who has a neutral view can help you. I realised that I didn't have to stop anywhere in life because of my illness – I gradually built up this self-confidence. I could always use fashion to show myself in the way I felt comfortable. This way, your environment will perceive you positively and you will also get good vibes back. You only become self-confident by becoming self-aware!" 

What role does the support of family and friends play? 

"The more understanding and relaxed the environment is, the more you dare to be honest and yourself. When I was 24, for example, driving home after a concert we had to take a break in a layby picnic site after only a short time because I couldn't sit in the car any more – frustrating! When family and friends understand and take the pressure off, it’s as valuable as gold. No matter what age, if you're chronically ill, the personal environment has to deal with a lot." 

You have been a well-known medi testimonial since 2016 – what do you particularly like about the collaboration?  

"I like the family atmosphere. I am allowed to contribute my ideas, medi responds to them and has said many times: 'Cool, let's do that!' We have been able to generate real added value through this appreciative dialogue between patients and manufacturers, which is also perceived by the community. The openness, the modern entrepreneurial spirit and the positioning as an approachable company are very successful. It doesn't feel like work to me, it feels like a creative dialogue." 

You are one of the faces of the new mediven trend colour campaign – the focus here is on authenticity and empowerment. What motivates you? 

"Proactive feedback! In the beginning, I wrote for years without knowing who I was reaching. At some point, the first emails came: One woman wore a skirt again after ten years because I was able to give her the incentive. Also currently, many share their positive stories with me. I have given courage with the way I deal with it. Knowing that my work is so important to so many people and that their lives would be different without it – that's my motivation." 

Do you identify with the campaign yourself? 

"Totally, because I always prefer to be real than perfect too! To inspire other people with my way of doing things and to give them strength for themselves, that's what drives me – and I only manage to do that because I have no aspiration to be perfect. I just want to live a happy life!" 

The campaign motto is: "Discover your idea of perfect!", that is, discover yourself and feel just right the way you are. What is "your idea of perfect"? 

"My idea of perfect is the feeling of humble gratitude! For example, when I sit on a meadow somewhere in beautiful weather and think: It's good that everything is like this, I have my loved ones and I'm still alive. To be able to feel gratitude is a perfect moment for me, because: Gratitude leads to happiness! – and that is what counts for me. Desired weight and beauty ideals don't matter if at the end of the day you can be grateful that your life is - maybe not perfect – but good!"  

Dear Ms Sprott, thank you very much for your personal insights and the nice interview! 

Monthly styling tips from fashion blogger Caroline Sprott

Let yourself be inspired by an ambitious young lady, who has discovered the beautiful side of compression and is making this accessible to others: with her monthly styling tips, she presents fashion trends, outfits and a variety of combination possibilities with medi stockings for all occasions.

Visit lipoedema fashion blog

A shapely bottom in compression panty hose

A problem many women find with wearing compression pantyhose is that it gives them a flat bottom: because the fabric is flat knitted, it has the unwanted side effect of compressing their bottoms as well. Until now women who wear compression pantyhose have had to do without a rounded bottom, or “apple bottom”, when wearing jeans or skirts.

medi has designed mediven 550 leg compression pantyhose with a special bottom-shaping fabric: it means lipoedema patients too can have an apple bottom and it gives them a much more feminine silhouette. Over the last few weeks, Caroline has been thoroughly testing the new compression pantyhose, which work like shapewear for your bottom, and she has written a blog article about how good the experience was.

Caroline says: “The shape fits and moulds itself really well to my bottom. You can even still see it when I’m in jeans, which is an enormous improvement as far as I am concerned.” Oedema patients gain in confidence when they experience this for themselves, which means the bottom-shaping mediven 550 leg* helps them cope with everyday life. A little tip from the tester: for better “bottom lifting” you should put the compression pantyhose on very carefully. That way you don’t get uncomfortable wrinkles. But all lipoedema patients can manage it with a bit of practice. Desirable “side effect”: the compression pantyhose stay in exactly the right position.

Caroline noticed another effect of wearing bottom-shaping compression panty hose. The new knitted fabric technology makes the panty top far more comfortable to wear and gets rid of the problem of constantly having to tug it back into place. Caroline says, “With my current pantyhose, I hardly ever have to pull the panty top back up, which is so much better than before, and it’s such a fantastic feeling. I might be imagining it, but it hugs my body shape better and helps to keep everything where it’s supposed to be.”

View bottom-shaping panty hose



*Intended purpose:

mediven® 550 leg:
Flat-knitted medical compression garment used for compression of the lower extremities, mainly for the treatment of disorders of the lymphatic system.

mediven® 550 arm:
Flat-knitted medical compression garment used for compression of the upper extremities, mainly for the treatment of disorders of the venous and lymphatic systems.

Health personnel will make the diagnosis and can prescribe compression stockings, e.g. from medi if necessary.

Your medical retailer will fit them individually for you.