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the plank
  • FUPA is a slang term for fatty upper pubic area. Another name for it is panniculus or pannus.
  • Causes for the FUPA include genetics, aging, pregnancy, weight changes, and stress.
  • Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help to reduce the size of your FUPA.
  • Plastic surgeons can treat your FUPA through surgery and minimally invasive procedures.

Bikini season is coming up again soon, and with that time of year, many people start to feel self-conscious about their bodies. One common flaw is having a fat upper pubic area (FUPA), which can make wearing even tight pants problematic, let alone slipping into a bikini when the hot weather arrives.

Should you have concerns about your FUPA, don’t despair: you can make your body bikini-ready by adopting a few lifestyle changes or visiting a cosmetic surgeon.

What Is the FUPA?

The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English says that the FUPA is a slang term for fatty upper pubic area. Another term for it is panniculus or pannus. It refers to the area between the belly button and the mons pubis.

What Causes a FUPA?

Obesity is an epidemic in America, causing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, as well as the FUPA for some. But why do some overweight or obese people get the FUPA while others do not?

Blame it on your genes. Genetics is the main reason why some people develop the FUPA. Your genes tell your body where to store extra fat, and unfortunately, where to take it from first when you start to lose weight. For this reason, the abdomen and the groin area are major trouble spots that resist most reduction efforts.

You’re getting older. It’s not your imagination: those pants you fit into just fine a few years ago are getting a little tighter around the midsection. As we get older, we lose lean muscle mass, gain more fat, and find it more difficult to maintain our weight than before.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say that just over 40% of Americans aged between 40 and 59 years are obese, while 37% of those over age 60 are as well. Both rates are higher than for adults under the age of 39.

You’re stressed out. Being under a lot of stress for a prolonged period not only predisposes you to gain weight, but it also makes it more likely that you will accumulate fat in the areas you least want it, such as the abdomen and groin. The culprit is the stress hormone, cortisol.

You’ve had a baby. You love your children, but let’s be honest: pregnancy is not kind to women’s bodies. Aside from the expected weight gain while you are pregnant, it can also weaken the muscles around your lower abdomen, causing the skin to sag.

You gained or lost a lot of weight. Whenever you gain or lose a large amount of weight, you increase your chances of developing extra, loose skin.

Panniculectomy

RELATED: Panniculectomy 101 — Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask

Lose Weight to Lose Your FUPA

Losing weight overall will help to reduce the size of your FUPA. For the best results, combine a sensible diet with regular exercise. In a 2012 study of obese postmenopausal women, researchers determined that the women who changed their diet and exercised more had the most favorable outcomes in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance.

Make Healthy Food Choices

Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and is low in fat and processed sugars. Foods that contain a lot of sugar cause an insulin spike, which encourages your body to retain fat.

Here are some healthy and nutritious suggestions to include in your diet:

  • Add some Greek yogurt to your smoothies or have a bowl mixed with your favorite fruit. Not only does Greek yogurt have plenty of protein, which keeps you satisfied longer, but it also contains the fat-burning acid arginine to roast those fat cells away.
  • Eat more fish. Fish are rich in omega 3 fatty-acids that help lower the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. Another source of omega 3 fatty-acids are nuts and seeds, should you not care for fish.
  • Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as fruits from the citrus family and vegetables like peas and broccoli. Other sources of vitamin C include papaya, guava, and even tomatoes.
  • Season your food with cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is a member of the Capsicum family of plants containing the chemical capsaicin, which not only can up the spice factor in your food but also may increase your metabolic rate. Chili peppers are another source of capsaicin.
  • Cinnamon is another spice that may help increase your metabolic rate while making your food tastier.
  • Drink plenty of water to flush your system and help manage bloating.

Get Regular Exercise

The CDC recommends that adults who wish to maintain their weight build up to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes or vigorous aerobic activity per week. For weight loss, the CDC says a “high amount of physical activity” is necessary unless you combine it with changes in your diet.

Check out these exercise ideas:

Boost Your Afterburn

Up your aerobic game by including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your routine. HIIT means pushing yourself to your maximum aerobic capacity in short bursts during your regular workout. One of the benefits of high interval training is that it can increase the amount of fat you burn when you are not exercising.

Do the Plank

The plank is a great core-building exercise that targets your entire abdomen.

  1. Get into the push-up position (or a modified push-up position).
  2. Making sure that your hands are level with your shoulders, raise yourself off the floor until you are balanced on your arms and toes (or knees for the modified position).
  3. Hold this position for up to a minute, or as long as you can. Work your way up to three minutes.

Climb the Mountain

Well, okay, we don’t really expect you to climb a real mountain. You can, if you want, but what we are referring to is the mountain climber exercise, another powerful core move that gets your entire stomach area working.

  1. Get into the push-up position.
  2. Balance yourself on your hands with your arms straight and your elbows locked.
  3. Move your right leg toward your right hand and do the same for the left leg.
  4. Aim to do three sets of 15 repetitions each.

Don’t Forget the Stomach Crunches

Although all the crunches in the world will not help you reduce your abdominal fat, they will strengthen your abdominal muscles, which can help reduce the appearance of your FUPA.

Maintaining the proper form is important to ensure that this exercise is effective:

  1. Lie on your back on a comfortable surface.
  2. With your neck cradled lightly in your hands, bring your knees up toward your chest.
  3. Now, lift your head and shoulders off the floor while curling your knees up.
  4. Start off doing three sets of 10 repetitions, or however many you can do and build up from there.

Crunch Alternative: Standing Crunches

Try standing crunches if you cannot do regular crunches because of a bad back, for example.

  1. Start standing straight with your hands behind your hips.
  2. Inhale and pull your stomach in.
  3. Bring your left knee up toward your chest while keeping your posture straight.
  4. Lower your left knee back down slowly.
  5. Repeat this 10 to 15 times and switch to your right leg.

Types of body fat

RELATED: Types of Body Fat — What’s Good, What’s Bad, and What You Can Do About It

Cosmetic Procedures for Getting Rid of Your FUPA

Abdominal fat, including the fat in the upper pubic region, is incredibly hard to lose. In fact, some people will still have unsightly pubic fat even after changing their diets and exercising regularly. Fortunately, some cosmetic procedures can help.

Panniculectomy

This procedure removes the loose skin and fatty tissues below the belly button and is usually done on people who have lost a large amount of weight and suffer from hanging skin in the groin area. It can be done as part of an overall tummy tuck or alone.

Mini Tummy Tuck

Like a panniculectomy, this procedure removes the loose skin and fatty tissues below the belly button. However, it also incorporates surgical tightening of the abdominal wall up to the level of the belly button. It is usually done on people with limited excess skin and abdominal laxity that are limited to below the belly button. It can be done as part of an overall tummy tuck or alone.

See our Mini Tummy Tuck Questions and Answers page for more information or to ask a question about this procedure.

Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck incorporates a panniculectomy (removal of excess fat and skin below the belly button) with surgical tightening of the entire abdominal wall, from the level of the pubis all the way up to the sternum. It’s the best option for those who have a pannus and abdominal wall laxity that extends above and below the belly button. A full tummy tuck is ideally performed on patients who are at their goal weight.

Pubic Liposuction and Pubic Lift

Pubic liposuction removes the excess fat from the mons via a cannula inserted through a small incision in the skin, while a pubic lift or monsplasty removes the extra skin and tightens and lifts the remaining skin around the mons pubis. Pubic liposuction and monsplasty are often done together, as part of a tummy tuck operation, or by themselves.

ThermiTight

ThermiTight is a procedure that uses radio waves to tighten the skin. It is most useful for tightening a small amount of skin and when you don’t have much excess fat to remove. Most patients only need one treatment. However, since it requires the insertion of a probe under the skin, it is considered to be a minimally-invasive procedure rather than a non-invasive one. Accordingly, if you take blood thinners, you should mention this to your surgeon.

Coolsculpting

Also known as cryolipolysis, Coolsculpting is a non-surgical method for removing fat from under the skin by reducing its temperature to a point above freezing but below body temperature. This method involves applying a vacuum to the area you want to remove the fat from, such as your FUPA, and cooling it for about an hour. There are no incisions needed, and most patients can return to their normal lives on the same day.

Unlike ThermiTight, Coolsculpting does not tighten the skin over the affected area. Also unlike ThermiTight, you may need multiple treatments to get the results you want.

Read our post on Non-Invasive Beauty Treatments for more information about ThermiTight, Coolsculpting, and other non-surgical body contouring procedures.

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