Shaughna Phillips admits her lipoedema affected her self confidence on Love Island (Picture: Rex)
The Love Island star had the surgery in October after being diagnosed with lipoedema, a condition which leads to an abnormal build-up of fat cells.
In a new in-depth Q&A with fans, Shaughna opened up about her battle with the condition and how it affected her confidence appearing on the ITV2 dating show in 2019.
Shaughna explained: ‘My heart breaks for myself. It was so bad. Not constantly, like I could get dressed and feel okay. But there were just certain parts of my journey that really do ‘til this day make me upset.
‘For example, there was one time, I think literally the first week we went in, and we had to do the Dirty Dancing challenge and we were told we were doing that challenge midday, and I cried from that point until when I walked out. I just thought this is my worst nightmare.’
The 26-year-old continued: ‘I remember saying to producers, “I don’t care if you send me out there with no bra on, all I’m asking is that you give me trousers”.
‘My outfit was the only outfit without trousers, tights, boots… All I asked was for something to cover my legs.’
When asked if lipoedema gets worse, the reality star admitted: ‘It does, unfortunately. It is a progressive illness and there are four stages of lipoedema, and I was stage one to two on my legs when I had my surgery.
‘It can get progressively worse over time. That was probably the biggest thing for me, it was such a relief finding out this is what’s causing this problem. But then I almost felt like “oh my God, the clock’s ticking. If I don’t have this surgery quickly then my legs are just going to keep getting bigger and bigger”.’
Shaughna, 29, revealed she had just under three litres of fat, around 2.5 litres, taken out of her calves.
Shaughna’s recovery lasted around three months (Picture: @shaughnaphillips, Instagram)
One fan asked when she knew for sure that she had lipoedema, to which she answered honestly: ‘There isn’t really a test that answers the question and goes “you have lipoedema” but I’ve known from a very very young age that my legs were different to everyone else.
‘Even more so when I did lose my four stone in weight and my legs didn’t change. So I always thought this is just my thing.’
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She continued: ‘I think the hardest part of the journey is knowing it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
‘You have the surgery and you imagine the next day you’re going to be up and you’ve got these super slim legs just like strutting your stuff and it’s absolutely not that at all. My mum was changing my adult nappy!’
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