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The Connection Between Fibromyalgia & Hormones

computer-1149148_1920What is the connection between fibromyalgia and hormones? The is no definitive correlation, however, there is a lot of speculation surrounding this subject in medical community. Researchers suggests a hormone imbalance could be a contributing factor in people developing the disorder, as well as a means of irritating symptoms in diagnosed patients. In this blog entry we take a deeper look at this topic.

Can a hormone imbalance cause fibromyalgia?

There is no sure answer to this question because there is not a complete understanding of what exactly causes fibromyalgia. As mentioned in our previous blog entry, What causes Fibromyalgia?, fibromyalgia symptoms are often first seen following a trigger event such as a viral infection, mental trauma or physical trauma such as an injury in a public place, at work or in a road traffic accident. The impact from this traumatic event leave many people facing the long-term effects of fibromyalgia.

A leading theory is that this incident has disturbed their central nervous system that processes pain messages around their body, which could be reflective of a hormonal imbalance. The NHS reports, in the article Causes of fibromyalgia, people with fibromyalgia have abnormally low levels of the hormones serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine in their brains. These hormones are required for regulating everyday behaviours such as mood, appetite, sleep and our reaction to stressful situations. There’s also evidence to suggest an imbalance of other hormones, such as cortisol and oestrogen, may contribute to fibromyalgia.

Major hormonal changes

Significant research is ongoing to explore the link between gender roles in fibromyalgia, considering the vast majority, approximately 85%-90%, of all fibromyalgia patients are women. Some researchers suggests this is due to the fact that women are more prone to large hormonal shifts are various life stages, as detailed below:

  • Puberty

As mentioned in our prior blog entry, Women suffer more from chronic pain than men, but why?, hormones in women tend to start fluctuating during puberty as a response to pain at different points in their menstrual pain. Post puberty, women’s sensitivities to pain has been known to create a pattern that can persist through adulthood with the majority of chronic migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia sufferers being female.

  • Pregnancy

There is a tremendous increase in the amount of hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy, but due to our individuality there is no telling how we will react to them. In the initial stages, the majority of fibromyalgia patients report typical symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness, headaches and dizziness. Once these side effects subside, leading up to the third trimester, their fibromyalgia flares-up. Although, on the contrary, some doctors say pregnancy helps to lessen, or even eliminate, symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. They speculate this could be from the extra ovarian hormone relaxin in the body during pregnancy.

  • Menopause

Most women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, between the ages of 40 to 55, during menopause. Medical researchers believe symptoms noticed at this stage in a woman’s life are most likely triggered by a decrease in the amounts of estrogens. The typical post-menopausal woman produces 40 % less oestrogen than a woman who is still experiencing menstruation and therefore experiences symptoms like anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. It’s when other hormones are low or unbalance that trigger the full spectrum of fibromyalgia but it can be difficult for doctors to distinguish the difference between normal menopausal features from fibromyalgia, since symptoms overlap.

Research shows there is a clear path connecting hormones and fibromyalgia but more evidence is essential to understand this exact relationship. If you would like to speak with one of our solicitors about a fibromyalgia related claim, then call us on 0161 737 9248 or 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.

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24 responses to “The Connection Between Fibromyalgia & Hormones

  1. Hi,I was given injections to stop my periods do to heavy and painful periods,I am 55 years old ,endometrial ablation had failed,I had some fibroids and I felt due to my age a hysterectomy was too radical,My gynaecologist suggested artificially inducing menopause.The injections were 3 monthly.I was give a type of HRT that I later discovered wasn’t like conventional HRT in that it did not contain Oestrogen and progesterone ,Livial I think it was called.I began to experience horrific joint pain ,tendor spots all over my body ,my heels became so sore it was difficult to walk on them at times.I have always been a fit and active woman .I visited my GP who suggested it could be lack of female hormones causing these fibromyalgia symptoms.I visited my gynaecologist who concurred that this could be the problem and changed my medication to a more conventional HRT .i have only been taking it a week and although still in pain it does seem to improving.

  2. Mandy Wilson, I hope that changing medication and going on to a more conventional HRT will improve your pain and your symptoms. Many women do in fact improve greatly using HRT and find it very beneficial. Please do keep us informed as to how you get on, it might help others in a similar situation.

  3. Hello, I just discovered this article. I have been trying to understand what is wrong with me. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years back. I am 45 now. It has been quite trying for me most days. Working more than part time is impossible. Currently, I wake in the morning with such pain from my lower back, to hip and down back of leg. I can’t walk or sit. I have seen a number of doctors, and had MRI, Xrays but nothing really could be concluded. I do have some disc issues and mild osteoarthritis but no nerve obstructions. I do notice that my symptoms improve with better sleep but pain keeps me up many nights. Sigh…I used to be so active. Now, just fatigued most of the time and in pain, but not overweight. I have taken a number of medications but none have worked but for only a short term. The quality of my life has spiraled downward. Medical marijuana has been approved in my state. This is my last only hope.

  4. I had a hormone test done,Dr says my hormones are depleted and my testosterone is also depleted.she has suggested a compounding cream.what do you suggest.

    1. Dear Kathy,

      As we do not provide medical services, We are unfortunately unable to assist you in this matter.

      Please feel free to contact us though if you require any legal assistance. You can do this either through our website inquiry form, or by calling us on 0161 737 9248.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      Brian Barr Solicitors

  5. I am a Fibromyalgia patient for about 8 years now. I researched this subject because I noticed a pattern linking my pain level and my period. In my case, my pain actually decreases significantly during my period. Can someone explain or confirm my experience.

  6. While I was pregnant my fibromyalgia completely went away!!! I have had fibromyalgia since my early twenties! It has been awful but somehow I learned to cope and deal with it throughout the years. At 34 I decided to have another baby and much to my surprise once I got pregnant I felt great better than I have felt in years ……all my Fibromyalgia symptoms disappeared during my pregnancy and even the 9 months after while I was breastfeeding! But when I stopped breastfeeding all the symptoms came back with a vengeance! This cannot be a coincidence it has to be hormones so I went to a so-called fibro specialist and told him my concerns and asked if he could put me on some kind of hormones that mimic pregnancy! Of course this doctor told me there’s no way that those two are linked and he’s never heard anything like that happening before! So here I sit at a dead end but I know that it has to have something to do with hormones and I’m not crazy!!!! I have had many previous thyroid test in the past that all came back within normal ranges but there has to be more in-depth testing that someone can do!? There has to be some kind of hormones they can give me so I can feel better again! I just have no idea where to go or where to start or how to find somebody who believes me and doesn’t think that I’m crazy or it’s all in my head! I have done a lot of research and This is the first article that I have found that links pregnancy hormones and fibromyalgia and I am so grateful that I found this! Why isn’t there any research about pregnancy and fibromyalgia!? I can’t be the only person that this is happened to!? This could potentially be life-changing if some kind of hormone replacement could cure my fibromyalgia and could potentially cure millions of others too!!! I don’t know where to go from here or who to see or who to talk to but I know that I felt normal again for a short 18 months after 15 years a feeling terrible everyday!! I had energy my body didn’t hurt even though I was carrying a whole nother body inside of me!! I just want to feel normal again I want to be a good mom to my kids I want to enjoy life and not be in pain everyday! So if anyone has any suggestions on what I can do or where I can go or who I can see I would greatly appreciate it also if anyone else has went through the same during pregnancy I would love to hear from you maybe we can work together to try to get someone to listen!!

    1. Your story is my story as well. Exactly. I am seeing a naturopathic doctor to have my hormone levels tested and begin bio identical hormone replacement therapy. I hope it is the answer!

  7. 36 years ago I had a full hysterectomy as I had endometriosis. I have had M.E and fibromyalgia ever since. Then 3 years ago I had breast cancer. The side effects of the radiotherapy has made me really ill. I can’t do much these days at all. I’m 68 and I fear I have no future.

  8. Hi, I am a 20 year old girl diagnosed with fibromyalgia and trust me it came as a shock to me… I having a tendency to research stuff so surfed the internet for this disease which was completely unknown to me… WebMD came for my rescue and I got know it’s related to depression, anxiety and all these mental health stuff when I on the other hand I am really positive person surrounding myself with good energy always and having a carefree nature (sort of lol)….I was previously diagnosed with PCOD and given estorgen hormone which was a really bad decision by my doctor as I got Deep Vein Thrombosis(DVT) beacuse of that hormone as My family had history regarding DVT…And with DVT came fibromyalgia and as I had no signs of trauma or depression My doctor (based on my irregular periods) suggested that it may be due to hormonal imbalance and I am still trying to get my hormones in balance So if hormonal imbalance is out of the picture Will I be able to lead a Healthier life? Cause I am really suffering right now….

  9. hi , I’m 58 years old and I have suffered fibromyalgia for 23 years . From my experience I do know that hormones and fibromyalgia are connected . I suffered the most intense pain going through my menopause . My flare ups were definitely triggered by hormones . My pre menopause and menopause years I suffered . My pain was intense . I now in my post years of menopause and my pain has dropped considerably , I still have little flare ups , but my quality of life has improved . Weather, too much exercise I will flare up but hormones was my biggest problem with fibromyalgia. I tried hrt with many change to prescriptions but could not balance hormones . Still continued with chronic pain . What I can say now so relieved to have past through the hard ship if menopause for me . I also did genetic testing . I have high inflammation and have inherited a toxic liver which I treat daily with milk thistle .

  10. I developed fibromyalga too after the menopause and was put on all sorts of medications.I was put on hrt but it didn’t seem to do much for me.I struggled with work for a year and now I’m suffering anxiety which is very debilitating so I’m seeking help for anxiety and the menopause now.Ms M Parkes

  11. My symptoms of widespread pain and muscle stiffness began within about a three year span of time following an automobile accident. I suffered for years with the pain and accusations that it was all in my head before I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I became a walking pharmacy until I finally said to hell with it and threw out all my meds. I have experienced two periods in my life since that time that I felt I was in complete remission: Once, when I was pregnant with my daughter, and once when I was placed on hormones prior to a complete hysterectomy. I only recently put two and two together when I noticed my daughter experiencing everything I went through in my youth. Now, suspecting a connection between hormones and my condition I searched the web and discovered that there is now much discussion about the possible connection. How can we become more involved in helping to study this connection? I can’t bear to watch my daughter go through this too! The doctors today won’t even diagnose fibromyalgia… they’re back to treating it as a psychosis!

    1. Hi Kathleen. Thank you for your comment. We are disappointed to heart that doctors are treating fibromyalgia in such a way. Like you, we know how debilitating the condition is. The key is to raise awareness of the condition, which we actively try to do by sharing blog content on our website relating to the condition. As discussed in our blog, further studies are required to better understand the connection between fibromyalgia and hormones.

  12. I am a 48 year old FMS sufferer. I can tell you after years of self-observation that hormones, (I strongly suspect estrogen, but possibly whatever else is changing as cycle approaches) are bringing on my flares. With every approaching cycle, I become increasing achy, get a migraine, have an IBS flare and stomach upset. In short it’s like having full body pain and flu every month but also with migraine and IBS (the actual cramps are the least of it). It’s debilitating. I should mention a past history of endometriosis, but none was seen in the last surgery I had (~5 years ago). I’ve tried suppression hormone regimens with much better results when no estrogen is in the mix. Again, this is not just menstrual pain–it’s a full body flare. The hormones that put me into menopause are best for reducing the pain/flares, however the night sweats have been extreme and caused lack of sleep to the point of increasing the Fibro symptoms anyway. I have one last thing to try if insurance will approve–a new drug called Oralissa. I’m very confused by reading that LESS estrogen is the culprit? I;m also very concerned as the last resort, hysterectomy, may be in my near future and I’ve read that for some Fibro patients this worsens the problem as does as you indicate here that “Medical researchers believe symptoms noticed at this stage in a woman’s life are most likely triggered by a decrease in the amounts of estrogens”. I am at a loss of help and solutions. Anything offered would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

  13. I am a 72 year old woman suffering from fibromyalgia. I can tell you for sure from my own experience just lately that there is a connection between hormones and fibro. I have been taking the lowest dose of HRT possible for the last 7 years and only every other day for debilitating hot and cold flashes. I attempted to be patient as I entered menopause but finally my job was a risk as I could not function they were so severe. Since there was no breast cancer concerns in my family that eliminated some further concerns with regular mammograms. During that time the fibromyalgia symptoms were quite manageable and medication was not required. Five months ago I decided to very slowly take myself off the HRT thinking I had been on it long enough. Since being off it for only a few months completely. My level of daily comfort is non existent. The flashes came back even worse and sleeping is a problem. But the biggest problem is my fibromyalgia attacks. I have been sick with the fibro pain and complete body aches and pains with the metal fogginess . I am not a headache person but I am now waking up every morning with a small headache. Thank goodness I only work part time as I am even having problems doing that. This is all since I have gone off the HRT . I have decided not continue on with all this extreme discomfort at my age and am going to start back on the therapy . Its not worth all this daily suffering.

  14. i am 53 and have had fibro for 11 years. i had my daughter at 39. 2 years after i had a very bad case of EBV. After followed all the fibro symptoms. (I also suffered very bad whiplash in a car accident at 21) It wasn’t until 2 years ago i finally excepted that i had it. No doctor every denied it. In fact every doctor kept telling me i did indeed have fibro and could no longer handle on my own. I now take gabapentin 3 times daily and two antidepressants. I have tried several times to go off gabapentin but the pain always comes back even worse. They had me try Lyrica, too strong, could not drive with it. I am not in full menopause yet; but close. I will tell you hormones have EVERY THING to do with making my fibro symptoms worse!! A few times a month i get so tired that i must go to sleep for a half hour. I work and they let me go out to my car. I am fortunate that they are extremely supportive of my fibro. They suggested I go on FLMA which i have. Usually only use for doctors appointments. I then suffer the usual classic hormonal imbalance IBS symptoms from constipation to very loose stool. My joints become extremely painful. My collar bones will pulse with pain, then my jaw line and then the sides of my breast. So bad at times I can not put my arms completely down. i get a tightening around my rib cage and wearing a bra during this time is impossible. I get electrical shocks that will happen any where on my body at anytime. i have at least 7 trigger points on my back. The sides of my upper arms and upper thighs hurt 24/7. They always feel like i have big bruises there. This never ever goes away. Nor does the same pain on the inside of my knees. The right side of my hurts 24/7 as well. Ice and heat do help. I also get pins and needles in my shoulder blades, fingers and toes and lips. I have a constant sinus headache most of the time. MOVING HELPS. YOGA HELPS. a lot!!! However when you stop moving it’s kinda like a tin man; you rust. I also suffer with extreme fatigue. A lot comes from the gabapentin, but i can’t stop taking it. So is there a connection? Absolutely. Is it the cause? No i don’t believe so. All I know is I have seen every doctor. Rhum. Pain management. Infectious Disease. Orthopedic. I have had neck injections, i have had a torn rotator cuff repaired. I have been tested for EVERYTHING. I am healthy. I do suffer some heart palpatations (hormones), I have a non-alcoholic fatty liver that my enzymes rise with. However a healthy diet, exercise and cholesterol meds help with. In the end my doctors tell me it is time to except fully that i do indeed have fibromyalgia. I handle the best i can everyday. They tell me to be kinder to my self, stay present and they always are there to listen. I have never had any doctor tell me it’s in my head. In fact I did see therapist and psychiatrist who have also told me to expect that I have fibroymyalgia. So today i do. However i still would like to know an affirmative answer as to why? what has caused this daily and sometimes debilitating pain.

  15. Hi! I’m not one to blog, but I can attest to what you’re saying. Current age is 46, starting menopause @ 45, more than a year now. My pain stated about the age of 37 and increasing got worse. Stated taking bio hrt and had to stop – cut back because, I was having such bad acne. However, I figured out, that there had to be a hormone connection to my fibro pain, because, it was one of things that did get better. Joint, widespread body pain and for sure anxiety, and mood! I wasn’t sure what hormone played the biggest role, so I cut back. My pain and anxiety are back with a vengeance, so now I am trying to titrate back up, without the negative side effects. It’s taking longer to get back where I was, but that’s ok. I’m figuring out so much, on my own trial and error, books and support from my compounding pharmacist. You really have to be your own advocate. My doctor just want to give me RX drugs to treat all my symptoms and yes they help, but I want to give my body what is lacking and medicines…

  16. I have not been menstruating for seven months now and is homons imbalance when for echograph everything is normal. Pls which injection can I take

    1. Dear Mbah,

      As we do not provide medical services, I would recommend directing your query to your local healthcare provider.

      Please feel free to contact us though if you require any legal assistance. You can do this either through our website inquiry form, or by calling us on 0161 737 9248.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      Brian Barr Solicitors

  17. Hello I just ready your story. I have cronic pain that gets worse before my period. I have had a number of tests and they have all came back normal as I was convinced I had cancer. My doctors say that I am suffering from phychosis. The pain is awful all down my legs and lowe back. I am at my wits end with it

  18. Hi,
    From a child I have experienced painful periods throughout my life, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I used the Con traceptive pill from a young age which helped but did not alleviate the pain completely.
    I managed to get pregnant in my thirties and the painful periods stopped.
    Since I began perimenopause I began to notice slight symptoms of fibromyalga. I have been period free for 7 months now and these symptoms have increase causing health anxiety, sleepless nights and pain in chest, hips and legs. It began in my chest and I was informed this could be costochrontiitus. I have terrible indegestion every day. I am reluctant to take medication or hrt due to my anxieties and suffer alone as I feel health professionals and family don’t understand this issue this is understandable as don’t myself. All I do know is since menopause these symptoms have appeared on a daily basis and are increasing in their intensity

  19. Hi There, I’m 40 years old, finally diagnosised with fribomyolga in July and now have also been diagnosed with menapause too ???? other than pain biggest low is the fatigue

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