Fibromyalgia is a terrible disease that makes it impossible for a lot of people to live a normal life. But the severity of the disease can actually vary significantly from person to person. And while fibromyalgia affects both men and women, women seem to have it a little worse. That’s because fibromyalgia symptoms in women are usually more common and severe than they are in men.
But why is that? Why do fibromyalgia symptoms in women seem to be worse than they are for men? And what are some of the basic fibromyalgia symptoms that let you know when it’s time to see a doctor?
First, the basic symptoms of fibromyalgia are consistent among all fibro patients. These are things like constantly feeling tired or having persistent pain. This pain, in particular, is the most significant sign that you have fibromyalgia. With fibromyalgia, patients report a constant pain in the muscles that is located in 18 specific points around the body. Doctors use these 18 points to tell if you have fibromyalgia instead of some other chronic pain condition.
And a diagnosis of fibromyalgia really rests on two things: pain in 11 o0f those 18 points and a persistent pain that affects at least 3 of the 4 quadrants of the body. This is what your doctor will use as the criteria for giving you a diagnosis.
But, while this is the most significant symptom of fibromyalgia, there are also some less common ones that are worth a look. For instance, did you know that many patients with fibromyalgia report having a constant itching sensation? Or that some fibromyalgia patients report uncontrollable muscle spasms?
You should remember that there are a lot of different symptoms of fibromyalgia that vary from person to person. And if you are presenting some of these symptoms you should see a doctor as soon as possible. While there is no effective cure for fibromyalgia, you can get treatments that will help manage your condition.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms In Women
And while everyone with fibromyalgia has at least some of these symptoms, women with fibromyalgia seem to suffer from them more than men do. Women report experiencing symptoms more frequently and with greater intensity. In addition, women seem to develop fibromyalgia more often than men do. In fact, between 60 and 80% of people with fibromyalgia are women.
There are a number of theories about why this imbalance among genders is common with fibromyalgia. Researchers have suggested that hormones may be linked to the disease, or that genetics may play a role, but so far there isn’t concrete proof backing up one theory over another. So, there’s really no good explanation currently about why fibromyalgia affects women worse than it affects men.
But when it comes to fibromyalgia symptoms in women, they are usually the same as symptoms for men and run the gamut of all reported symptoms. So a woman with fibromyalgia can experience mild to extreme pain, fatigue, itching, insomnia, and aching joints.
Until more research on this subject is available we likely won’t know the answer to this question of why fibromyalgia seems to be different in men than women. Like many things about fibromyalgia, it isn’t fully understood at the moment.
What Treatments For Fibromyalgia Are Available
When it comes to treating fibromyalgia symptoms in women, there are a few things that doctors usually turn to. First is pain medication, which is used to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Usually, these are opioid-based medications. And typically, doctors use this as a last resort for dealing with pain, since opioids can lead to problems with addiction and often are only temporarily effective in treating chronic fibromyalgia pain.
Secondly, and more commonly these days is antidepressant drugs. While it may seem strange that drugs used to treat depression are effective for fibromyalgia, Savella and Lyrica can actually help deal with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. That’s because they can help numb some of the pain receptors in the brain and calm overactive nerves. If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you will likely end up on one of these drugs at some point.
Finally, there are some new treatments for fibromyalgia based on anti-convulsant drugs. Drugs like Gabapentin commonly treat epilepsy but are also effective in limiting the effects of fibromyalgia. This is because they also work to calm the reactions of nerves in your brain.
For most people, these drugs and holistic things like diet and exercise help to make your symptoms more manageable. But for a significant number of people with fibromyalgia, no current treatment will ever be truly effective. And it’s possible that the best outcome you can hope for will be living on heavy doses of pain medication. In this situation, it’s important to look for support.
Fibromyalgia can be isolating and depressing to live with, but a healthy support network can help make it bearable. It’s important to be active about planning for your disease and seeking out any support you can find. No matter where you find your support, make sure you have someone. Fibromyalgia is a terrible disease to live with and everyone diagnosed with it needs to find something to make it possible to keep going.