Demystifying (My) Lipomas

Since I was diagnosed with lipomas in the fall of 2010, I’ve had to make some major lifestyle changes in things like hair care products and, most drastically, foods I can eat. Every once in a while a question comes up i.e. “Why aren’t you having any edamame? You love the stuff!” or “Why can’t you get a shampoo at a hair salon?” So I thought I’d take a minute to explain my particular situation, what caused my lipomas (as best the doctors know) and how I’ve been combating them by watching what goes into and onto my body – along with some exercise.
As a category, WebMD describes lipomas as:

“… a growth of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below the skin. Lipomas are found most often on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and armpits, but they can occur almost anywhere in the body. One or more lipomas may be present at the same time. Lipomas are the most common noncancerous soft tissue growth.”

Wikipedia is a little more brutal:

lipoma is a benign tumor composed of adipose tissue. It is the most common form of soft tissue tumor.[1] Lipomas are soft to the touch, usually movable, and are generally painless. Many lipomas are small (under one centimeter diameter) but can enlarge to sizes greater than six centimeters. Lipomas are commonly found in adults from 40 to 60 years of age, but can also be found in children. Some sources claim that malignant transformation can occur,[2] while others say that this has yet to be convincingly documented.[3]

My doctor noted there are several different types. She believed (correctly it seems) that the type I have is a conglomeration of plant estrogen and excess fatty tissue. No, being overweight doesn’t cause lipomas – however, they are composed of fat deposits so it stands to reason that excess fat could potentially help them form (WebMD doesn’t believe this, other sources aren’t concrete on the issue). And an increase in fat cells can make you a bit more susceptible. (Honestly, no one really knows a ton about them – they’re non-cancerous so they just remove them and move on). Because mine formed in the chest area, an excess of plant estrogen was deemed a likely contributor.

The solution for me? Get rid of excess fat. Cut back on consumption of plant estrogen. To do part 2, I had to get educated quickly. Luckily my doctor gave me a cheat sheet that showed me foods high in plant estrogen and foods that counteract plant estrogen. (Side note, women in menopause will sometimes do the OPPOSITE of what I have to do to get more plant estrogen into their bodies.)

In short I had to do the following:

  • Give up almost all soy products.
  • Stop using any shampoo with tea tree oil (most salons) or lavendar.
  • Avoid other high plant estrogen foods like apples, papaya, pumpkin, wheat (yep), pomegranate & yams.
  • No more egg yolks.

There are a ton of other things that are lesser evils – and eating things like broccoli, berries, onions, citrus and green beans counteract the effects of plant estrogens.

So, almost 2 years later I have no issues with lipomas. No lumps. No pain. No adverse effects. And I’ve had no surgery. I lost ~50 lbs (which I needed to anyway) and eat better (also not a bad thing to do anyway).

Please note that nothing in this post is medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Not even pretending to be one. Nothing is a recommendation for you. You should do what I did and talk to doctors and specialists. My lipomas were presumed to be tied directly to these things – and making these two changes has helped me significantly (FYI, if I eat a small quantity of edamame I’ll have a small lump within 24 hours – so I take the diet piece seriously).

Lipomas are tricky and complex. Your situation is your own.

At the end of the day, the entire experience helped me to make lifestyle changes that have made me healthier and happier. So whatever the cause or potential solution, I’m better off today than I was. I’m not 100% strict on any of these (except no soybeans), but now you know why I order egg whites. Pass on edamame. And avoid wheat as much as I can.

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10 Responses

  1. Hi. I am wondering what kind of doctor you went to for this diagnosis. I have lipomas that developed during pregnancy that I think are estrogen related, but I have not seen a doctor who can confirm/help me with this idea. Your post is very interesting. Thanks, anna

  2. This makes sense. My first lipomas came after my first child. There were 3 or 4 in my thighs and I had them removed. After my second child, I got about 100. I have had many removed and have recently discovered that a steroid shot will dry them up. After reading this info, the plant estrogen theory makes sense. I am also dabbling in chickweed capsules. I just recently began to use estradiol cream and got about 50 around the tops of my thighs. I really appreciate this info. Any more knowledge to pass on? Anything is worth trying.

  3. So what is a good breakfast, or meals?? No oatmeal?? oats are high in estrogen… what do you eat?? no wheat/?oatmeal is wheat right?

  4. Same thing happen to me but mine is just coincidence. I used to have Lipoma on my wrist. The size is around 1 cm in diameter and the shape is round. It has been there for five year i guess.
    I have change my diet, for the purpose of losing weight, by replacing all the snack with carrot and ended up eating around 200-500 gram carrot a day and no snack at all, some time I had the 100% fresh carrot juice.
    After a month, the Lipoma is gone. (Actually, i’m not sure when it was gone since I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it). After a search, I found that it is not disappear but shrunk to a size that you have to push a little to find it.
    After internet search, I found that there no connection between losing weight and Lipoma smaller but I found this post so I decided to tell my story. At time the Lipoma is smaller, my weight is still the same.

  5. So its ok to take broccoli,berries,onions,citrus n green beans? What abt wheatgrass juice?

    1. I do fine with everything you listed there – though I’m not sure about wheatgrass juice. Never had it. I would do some Googling to see if it contains plant estrogens… if it does, it’s likely a “no.” If not, it’s probably fine.

    1. I am still free of them. I keep a close eye on my diet and skincare products and have had no issues.

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