Fibromyalgia is more common amongst women than men but are the symptoms worse?
Fibromyalgia varies from person to person. Some describe the pain as sharp and shooting, while others report a constant, dull ache. It is widely accepted, however, that women experience symptoms differently. For example, they tend to report higher levels of pain and often have additional symptoms to men. In this blog, we look at the different ways that men and women may experience fibromyalgia. Read on to find out more.
While there are many variations of this complex, often confusing condition, the hallmark of fibromyalgia is chronic, widespread pain that cannot be explained by other issues. This debilitating, persistent pain is usually in several areas of the body, such as the hips, thighs, neck, and back. The type of pain is less important for diagnosis than its chronic and widespread nature.
As well as from pain, every person with fibromyalgia will experience a variety of other symptoms including chronic fatigue even after a good night’s sleep, dizziness, cognitive problems, such as concentration or memory, dry eyes, and hair loss. Urinary problems such as frequency or incontinence and gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea and vomiting can also make day-to-day-life more uncomfortable and troublesome.
Many women with fibromyalgia experience heightened or different symptoms than men. For example, women are more likely to experience fatigue in the morning, pain all over the body, and issues specific to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Fibromyalgia can also affect the menstrual cycle, causing periods to be heavier and many women may suffer abnormally painful menstruation, which is called dysmenorrhea.
Many women with fibromyalgia have no problems during pregnancy, although in some cases pregnancy can worsen symptoms of the condition. Fibromyalgia can also lead to increased fatigue and mood swings, both of which are common side effects of pregnancy.
Fibromyalgia is characterised by 18 tender or painful points in nine locations on the body. These are generally paired and located on either side of the spine. Not everyone with fibromyalgia has tender points, however, women are more likely than men to have them in the following areas:
- At the base of the head, where it meets the neck
- Between the base of the neck and the tip of the shoulder
- Where the muscles of the back connect to the shoulder blade
- On each forearm near the crease of the elbow
- Just above the collarbone
- Beneath the collarbone on the side of the breastbone
- Just above the bony part of the outer hip
- Very low on the back, above the buttocks
- Inside the knee
No test can determine whether someone, man or woman, has fibromyalgia. Instead, diagnosing fibromyalgia tends to be a process of exclusion. A doctor will ask about symptoms, then test for other disorders that might cause them. If no other cause can be found, the likelihood is a doctor will diagnose fibromyalgia.
Here at Brian Barr Solicitors, we provide these articles to help you be as fully informed about your condition as possible. However, it is important to remember that we are not medical experts. Always seek professional help from your own doctor if you are concerned about the symptoms you are experiencing.
If you believe your condition has been caused as the result of an accident or injury that was not your fault, we can help you to claim compensation. If you would like to find out more about this or speak with one of our specialist fibromyalgia solicitors, call us on 0161 737 9248 or click here to fill in our online contact form.
We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.