"I was fat-shamed by trolls for having tree trunk legs so paid £20k to get same surgery as Love Island star"

A woman who was fat-shamed by cruel bullies for having "tree trunk legs" has spent £20,000 on surgery -after realising she had the same condition as a Love Island star. Emma Martin, 23, said her legs had always been chunky and out of proportion to the rest of her body no matter what she ate or how much she exercised. The trainee solicitor claims she was even told by her GP to "just lose weight" and "stop eating crisps and cake" when she tried to raise her concerns. It wasn't until she heard Love Island contestant Shaughna Phillips talking about Lipoedema that she realised her condition might be medical. People with Lipoedema see a painful build-up of fat and connective tissue in their legs, hips, bottom and sometimes arms and is not the same as obesity, the NHS say. But with surgery not available on the NHS, Emma has been left to fork out £20,000 of her savings to get the same procedure Shaughna had in Spain. Emma has since had 10kg (1.5 stone) of fat drained from her legs at the clinic in Madrid that specialises in Lipoedema, giving her a new lease of life. Emma, first noticed the condition- which left her sensitive skin prone to bruising - while she was a teenager where she was picked on for the size of her legs. Emma, of Droitwich Spa, Worcs., said: "I totally didn’t realise that it wouldn’t be anything other than me being fat until last year. “People always talk about the weight going to their stomach, I just thought my weight went to my legs. "I used to get a few comments at school, people were like why are your legs bigger than mine and I got called tree trunk legs. "I was so upset about it to my mum after school and asking her 'why have I got much bigger legs than my friends?' "At 17, the doctor told me to stop eating crisps, cake and chocolate. I was still quite small and 9 stone but they said I should just eat better. "It made me feel like it was my fault, I just thought I was always bigger. “I had a personal trainer after I left school. I got an awful lot smaller but my legs remained larger. I'd find basic exercises really tiring or get out of breath really quick. "I've never watched Love Island, but I saw Shaughna Phillips' tweet about her legs and they looked like mine. "And that's when I went down a rabbit hole of research." Following a lot of self research online and private consultations, Emma was finally diagnosed with Lipoedema last year at 22-years-old. It affects both men and women but is more commonly found in women, with over 11 per cent of the population suffering with the condition in some form. Since then, she had has flown to Madrid twice to receive preventive surgery and she plans to go for further surgery to remove the excess fat and tissue in June. She has splashed out over £14,000 and will undergo another two procedures costing £4,500 each after being left to feel the NHS didn't recognise her condition. Emma, who suffers with Lipoedema i her arms and legs, added: My size is not my fault, people think I am having surgery for cosmetic reasons, but it is a preventative surgery. "When you tell people, they think it's the same as going to Turkey and getting your teeth done. “My GP and the NHS were not all that helpful. In England we don’t really recognise it until it gets to the last stages where you’re immobile. “Everywhere else is more advanced with it so my specialist was in Madrid and it took him five minutes to confirm it was Lipoedema. “The only way to have it removed was through surgery. It's a form of lyposuction, but it’s not the same method that they use to remove fat from the stomach. “I'm probably one of the youngest that’s had it done." Emma says she has gone from feeling miserable after being told her diet and lack of physical activity was to blame to being much happier in herself. Emma, who is also looking forward to marrying boyfriend Cameron Dipple, 24, next year, added: "I feel so much better in everything I do now. "For years I just thought I was not trying hard enough. My legs would swell and ache all the time. Not being able to wear things that I wanted was quite frustrating. "But now I've been able to put on heels since and I feel lighter. Exercising is much easier. "My legs would bruise and ache so easily if I knocked into a table and other girls with the same condition said they felt the same. "Since my diagnosis last year, I felt like I'm not going to bother covering up my legs anymore and I started wearing clothes I wouldn't normally wear. "It felt like a huge relief but it was bitter-sweet. "At least I know now it wasn't my fault. “I feel an awful lot better, I'm lighter and wear what I want and do more things. "Hopefully I’ll be fully healed too by the time we get married next August and I can wear the dress and shoes I've always dreamed of."