Today, it is estimated that as many as ten million of Americans suffer from fibromyalgia; even if they aren’t officially diagnosed with it (the number of Americans officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia is probably much closer to five million).
People are far more likely to develop fibromyalgia if they have a family history of fibromyalgia. For example, someone whose grandparent suffered from fibromyalgia, or even a great-grandparent or a more distant relative, is more likely to develop fibromyalgia versus a person who comes from a family with no history of fibromyalgia whatsoever.
We don’t yet know if fibromyalgia is a genetic disease, but hopefully new scientific and medical research will yield the answer to that sometime soon.
Fibromyalgia mostly develops in middle aged people, even though young adults, teenagers, and even little children have been known to develop it too. Between the two genders, women are far more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
Today, it is estimated that more than eighty percent of all fibromyalgia sufferers are women, an astonishing figure. Why are the numbers so lopsided? Just like how we don’t know if fibromyalgia is a genetic disease, we also don’t know the reasons why women are the primary sufferers of fibromyalgia.
For this article, we will discuss the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia in women, and as we shall see, many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia that women suffer from are some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia all together.
The Pain of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is distinctive from other types of similar disorders because the pain is very different. The pain begins very dull and not very noticeable, but is chronic all throughout the body and gradually gets much worse over time without proper treatment. Eventually, it may get to the point where your ability to move is hindered, and your performance at work could suffer.
Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia report being in bed for most of the day. Not only that, but fibromyalgia sufferers also have great difficulty sleeping and feel very fatigued during the day. They also suffer from anxiety and mood swings, and in extreme cases, depression.
The Tender Points of Fibromyalgia
One of the simplest ways to tell if you have fibromyalgia in the first place is to check the ‘pressure points’ throughout your body. There are eighteen pressure points throughout the body that send a sharp, shooting pain throughout the body when pressure is applied to them. If a person feels this kind of pain in eleven out of these eighteen pressure points, then chances are very high that they have fibromyalgia. These pressure points include the back of the head, the knees, the sides of the hips, the upper part of the buttocks, the chest, elbows, neck, shoulders, and between the shoulders.
Another very common symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. Not only do people with fibromyalgia find it very difficult to sleep, but they feel very tired throughout the day. Sometimes all it takes is the chronic pain alone of fibromyalgia to make you stay awake all night, or wake up at various points throughout the night.
This fatigue, combined with the chronic pain, is what inhibits a person’s ability to think and comprehend things, affecting their driving skill on the road or their performance at work. Not to mention, but a lack of sleep is only bound to make the pain feel worse. All in all, fatigue is a major symptom of fibromyalgia.
As we have just previously mentioned, fatigue can lead to a difficult in focusing on everyday tasks. But if this persists, it can lead to worse problems such as having a difficulty remembering something just from the previous day, getting confused from what you read or hear, or even speaking mixed up words.
Not to mention the chronic pain that goes on throughout the body, but most women who suffer from fibromyalgia also have to endure consistent migraine headaches. Migraine headaches can cause stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, and light flashes. Currently, scientists and medical researchers are conducting tests to find out more about the relation between headaches and fibromyalgia, but for now, the reason why people with fibromyalgia are more likely to develop migraine headaches on a regular basis over people who don’t have fibromyalgia remains unclear.
Painful Menstrual Periods
In women, menstrual periods can be very painful with fibromyalgia, and can develop a condition called endometriosis, where tissue that only grows in the uterus also grows in other areas in the pelvis. Endometriosis can cause even more painful periods than fibromyalgia.
Women with fibromyalgia also may experience bad bladder problems. Studies have compared men who have fibromyalgia with women who have fibromyalgia and have come to the conclusion that women with fibromyalgia are exponentially more likely to have bladder problems than men. Women who suffer from bladder problems may have heightened diarrhea and feel constipated, bloated, and stomach cramps.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Women who suffer from fibromyalgia get a strange feeling in their legs that cause them to wake up at irregular intervals throughout the night. This is called restless legs syndrome, and is far more likely to develop in anyone who has fibromyalgia versus people who don’t. Roughly one third of all fibromyalgia sufferers simultaneously have to suffer restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome can also contribute to sleepiness and fatigue throughout the day.
The last fibromyalgia symptom for women that we will talk about here is developing sensitive skin. You’ll find yourself much more sensitive to the temperature, so maybe if the temperature in the summer time is at ninety degrees and drops to seventy five over the next few days, you could develop goose bumps. You’ll also feel much more sensitive to touching everyday things, and might feel pain in the skin more easily.