Fibromyalgia affects millions of people across the world. The condition is characterized by unbearable pain all over the body. Although, fibromyalgia affects both sexes, almost 80-90% women experience fibromyalgia (Source: National Institutes of Health). In women, the condition amplifies menstrual pain that fluctuates during the periods. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia like crankiness, anxiety, soreness, may escalate in women in 40-55 years of age who are experiencing menopause. Apart from these, general symptoms of fibromyalgia include-
A huge percentage of people with fibromyalgia suffers from lack of sleep, restless leg syndrome, and less deep sleep.
It is one of the most exhausting symptom as the person may feel tired all the time.
Because of heavy pain and stress, the person may develop anxiety issues.
Lack of sleep, constant fatigue and muscle weakness may result in depression.
Nearly 70% of the people suffer from stress-related headaches or recurrent migraine.
Heavy Periods, Difficulty in concentrating, Stiffness on walking, Severe menstrual cramps are some other common symptoms of fibromyalgia are common in women.
Risk Factors of Fibromyalgia
Bowel & Bladder Problems:
Bowel problems, increased bladder pain are some condition that may arise in women with Fibromyalgia. There are higher chances that women may develop internal cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome (PBS) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Cramps in the lower abdomen, painful intercourse, pain during urination, frequent urge to pee and pressure on the bladder are signs of this condition.
Issues While Conception & Pregnancy:
Various researches have suggested that women with fibromyalgia finds it difficult to get pregnant. From the first issue of painful periods to the process of getting pregnant, till the time of delivery, women with fibromyalgia may have difficult time with the normal functioning of the reproductive process of the body. However, there is no strong evidence for the same.
While it is not an issue to conceive while you have fibromyalgia, pregnant women with fibromyalgia may find it difficult to cope up with the symptoms such as pain, stress and anxiety. Managing stress, nausea and the effect of antibiotics especially while breast feeding the baby has to be taken into consideration while managing the condition.
Intrauterine Growth Restrictions (IUGR), Recurrent Miscarriages, and Polyhydramnios
(a condition wherein the women has high amniotic fluid). Polyhydramnios may result in preterm delivery, birth defects and still births.
Fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening disease but it can affect the quality of life and hence, it is important to consult a doctor immediately when you see the first sign.
Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia is not clear. The joint pains may be confused with arthritis and the depression and anxiety may have a different set of symptoms. Patients with Fibromyalgia is generally diagnosed with Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Myofascial Pain, and depressive disorders etc. Therefore, a different set of tests has to be done to diagnose fibromyalgia-
Blood test, Physical examination, Organ Test, Blood Sedimentation test, X-Rays are important tests to detect the condition.
Apart from these basic tests the doctor will diagnose fibromyalgia by finding out-
• If the pain is present in all four quadrants of the body. • Has the pain been present for more than three months? • Are all the disorders and pains have been ruled out?
Points to Consider if you have Fibromyalgia
• Avoid certain foods that may trigger Fibromyalgia- These include Caffeine, Refined Sugar, Aspartame, High Fructose, Alcohol, Red meat, Processed foods, dairy products, artificial sweeteners etc. • Healthy diet and lifestyle is important to ease out the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Lack of physical activity may lead to muscle atrophy, therefore, low intensity workouts such as stretching, yoga, brisk walking has a long-term effect. • Don’t overexert your body. Overdoing anything will harm your body instead of giving it benefits. Be it exercise, food or sleep, try to maintain a balance. • Stress Management is also very important. Try to relax your body; engage in various activities like Yoga, Art of Living, Pranayam etc. • Medicines are important to a control the condition, therefore, make sure that you consult your doctor before popping any other pill. • Go with Natural Remedies
Common Misconceptions Related to Fibromyalgia
It affects only elder women:
It is not true that only older women are affected by fibromyalgia. Many young women are also being diagnosed with this condition. Precaution and care goes in the long way to tackle the issue.
The Pain is Normal:
Fibromyalgia is characterized by constant pains in the body which are often confused with arthritis. In addition to pain constant fatigue, depression, headaches and migraines also cause a lot of issues.
Migraines, Autoimmune diseases, Restless legs syndrome and Pelvic pain, Depression & anxiety are other health condition associated with the disease and hence, treatment is very important. Women who are struggling with difficulty in conceiving because of fibromyalgia should consider consulting a fertility expert who will analyze all the issues and suggest treatment like IVF, IUI etc.