Fibromyalgia: it sure loves women!


Earle Logan
@EarleLogan2


02 August 2014

#1 Women are more likely to visit the doctor

The statistics regarding the genders of fibromyalgia sufferers may be a little skewed, as this is based on the number of each gender that are diagnosed with the condition; however, many more may be suffering undiagnosed.

This is one reason why women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more than men - because, generally, they are more willing to visit their GP than men, so are more likely to recieve an official diagnosis. Since the average length of time it takes to arrive at a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is around 5 years (GPs try to eliminate all sorts of rheumatic and neurological complaints to begin with), those who visit the least frequently (men) are unlikely to see this sort of lengthy process to a conclusion.

In a similar point, the most common age range for fibromyalgia diagnoses are 35-45 years old. Women may attend surgeries regularly on account of children, breast screening and parents. Again, they are engaging the health service. Men are not regular attendees at this age.

#2 Women are more prone to sleep disorders

Sleep disorders and insomnia affect women far more than men and menstrual disorders, which can also affect sleep quality, are of course exclusive to women.

Of those suffering insomnia, an estimated 75-90% also have a comorbid medical disorder (of which pain conditions are one category). The biggest comorbid category associated with insomnia, however, is the range of psychiatric disorders, the most common of which is depression.

We know fibromyalgia patients have low serotonin levels, so while not necessarily depressed, their tolerance to pain is greatly reduced. In fact, one of the big effects of low serotonin is poor sleep quality and insomniacs report even more physical problems than people with depression.

In 2011, Arthritis and Rheumatism reported a 10 year prospective trial from Norway that found “a strong association between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia in adult women” and that the relationship was dose-dependent, ie: the higher the reported sleep disturbances the higher the risk of fibromyalgia.

While this doesn’t mean that poor sleep causes fibromyalgia and of course it may be that the pain of fibromyalgia causes a lot of lost sleep, it is the quality, not quantity, of sleep that dictates our levels of fatigue and physical activity the following day. In fact, fatigue and inactivity may be better indicators of clinical pain than simple sleep duration according to the American Pain Society.

Why quality over quantity? Only deep sleep is restorative and regenerative. Disturbed, dreamless sleep never results in a great day to follow.

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  • Maria mcdonald 's photo avatar
    Maria mcdonald — 02.11.2017 16:30
    I am so glad I am not on my own with the pain it really gets me down coz I have always been so actiff and on the go now I can't do it want to cry most day

    Reply

    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 03.11.2017 09:48
      Hi Maria, you certainly aren’t alone here, and I hope the information throughout our pages, together with all the comments, have been useful to you. If your symptoms persist and are continuing to affect your mood, we would recommend you talk this over with your doctor so you can get the necessary support.

      Reply

  • Winifred Taylor's photo avatar
    Winifred Taylor — 17.07.2017 06:33
    I have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia for about 5 years and have been put on pregabalin which is not very effective,is there any other remedies please, as this constant burning pain and lack of a deep restfull sleep is making me feel depresss and dysfunctional,any suggestion would be grateful.

    Reply

    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 17.07.2017 10:05
      Hi Winifred, it is often the case that a multidisciplinary approach is beneficial to help treat fibromyalgia. Some of our advice includes the following: Manage stress.Stress is a trigger for many inflammatory processes, as well as causing muscle tension and reducing sleep quality and quantity. Sleep is very important for all areas of health, and anything that improves either quantity or quality of sleep will help with pain perception. We have a product Dormeasan which may be useful here. Also avoid caffeine in all forms too. Promoting better digestion ensures absorption of nutrients from food, which makes it more likely that the nervous system will be well nourished and more robust, which in turn may assist with stress and sleep issues. Avoid inflammatory foods including red meat, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods, refined sugar, white bread, white flour and white pasta – plus, eating fresh is key. In terms of supplements, our Devil’s claw product Atrosan can sometimes assist with pain, as can fish oils or flaxseed oil. Our Atrogel may also be useful to apply topically to particularly sensitive areas, this can be used alongside the Atrosan. Finally, even gentle exercise undertaken regularly, e.g. a 10-minute walk daily, may be helpful. Increase exercise levels gradually, as you are able, rather than starting any strenuous programme. I hope this helps!

      Reply

  • Diane 's photo avatar
    Diane — 09.07.2017 14:52
    My family don't understand how I feel with fibromyalgia

    Reply

    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 10.07.2017 15:16
      Hello Diane Here are more than enough fibromyalgia sceptics out there, mainly because there's no test to determine its existance but perhaps you might ask them to read the following NHS page, as if he NHS acknowledges fibromyalgia, they may trust what you are saying a little more: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

      Reply

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