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Fibromyalgia Facts For Females

Fibromyalgia Facts For Females
By James Brann, MD

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common diseases affecting the
muscles, tendons, and joints in women. Many health care
professionals still do not recognize the condition as a
disorder, most likely, because x-rays, blood tests, and biopsies
often show no prevalent evidence to support the patient’s
complaints. However, in recent years, the use of thermographs, a
device that tests and measures the heat produced by areas of the
body, has helped diagnose the condition. Studies indicate that
fibromyalgia patients have decreased blood flow and decreased
skin temperatures in sites of tenderness. Symptoms include
long-term muscle soreness, muscle stiffness, sleeplessness,
fatigue, mood changes, anxiety and depression. Often times the
condition is worsened by stress and weather changes. Unlike
other rheumatic conditions that cause swelling and inflammation
of the tissues in the body, fibromyalgia does not cause any type
of joint deformity or does not damage any internal organs.

Many times, patients that suffer with fibromyalgia have other
conditions or disorders that will occur. One of the most common
disorders associated with fibromyalgia is TMJ, a disorder
associated with the jaw. Many sufferers of fibromyalgia may be
diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well. Some patients
complain of migraine or tension headaches, irritable bowel and
bladder syndromes. Some women may develop a loss in memory and
concentration. Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Endometriosis is
often present in women that have fibromyalgia, although there
has been no studies conducted regarding the correlation of the

Causes of this condition is still unknown, many experts are
researching the relationship between menopause and fibromyalgia.
Most women are diagnosed with this condition between the ages of
40 to 55 which is when menopause usually occurs, and
approximately 85%-90% of all reported Fibromyalgia conditions
are women. Hormonal changes, such as the decreased amounts of
estrogen in the female body, may contribute to symptoms like
anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness in fibromyalgia patients.
Research shows, however, that estrogen and progesterone
replacement therapy is not that beneficial to fibromyalgia
sufferers. There are mild benefits reported when using the
estrogen patches rather than the estrogen pills. Some studies
indicate that the low thyroid function and decreased levels of
thyroid hormones, as well as estrogen and progesterone hormones,
may contribute to muscular pain, fatigue, mood changes, and
anxiety. At the present time the correlation between menopause
and fibromyalgia is uncertain, due to the lack of research on
the subject. Fortunately, more tests are being conducted to find
out how declining estrogen levels affect the onset of
fibromyalgia. On-going research is being conducted that may
suggest abnormally low levels of the hormone Cortisol, which is
the hormone produced by the adrenal gland may also be a linked

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this disorder or
completely cure it, either… Therefore, most treatment’s center
on conquering the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Treatments for women suffering from fibromyalgia vary according
to symptoms. In some cases, physical therapy or light exercise
may be prescribed. Research has shown that the use of ice
immediately following any exercise may decrease muscle and joint
pain. The use of tricyclic anti-depressants usually used in
treating depression; has also been shown to be an effective
medication for treating firbromyalgia. These medications usually
relieve depression, anxiety, reduce fatigue, and restores
effective sleep patterns. Some physicians may prescribe local
injections of analgesics to the sore or stiff areas. The use of
pain-relievers and muscle relaxers has both been beneficial in
reducing pain symptoms and improving sleep. Often times, doctors
will discuss pain and stress management to their patients; which
can eliminate some symptoms of the disorder.

Diet plays an important role in the prevention of symptoms
concerning fibromyalgia. Eating organic foods, such as fruits
and vegetables; increasing the intake of low-fat, high fiber
foods; those high in Omega-3 Fatty acids, found in fish may
benefit sufferers. Some physicians suggest lowering sodium rich
foods or eliminating additives such as monosodium glutamate
(MSG’s) and artificial sweeteners, like Aspartame may relieve
many symptoms of fibromyalgia. And recent studies indicate the
use of a vegan diet may help alleviate symptoms. Alternative
treatments, specifically in the field of homeopathic remedies,
suggest taking magnesium, B-12 Vitamins, and Vitamin C.

Other non-medical treatments involve massage therapy, heat
therapy and cold packs that may temporarily relieve symptoms.
The use of Hydrotherapy or water therapy can increase
circulation and decrease muscle aches. Currently, there are
studies being conducted that may offer more treatments or one
specific treatment for helping relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.

Women suffering with this disorder may find themselves
withdrawing from society due to the pain and anxiety associated
with fibromyalgia. Many times, women find themselves unable to
work a physical or stressful job. The best advice is to seek
treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes light
exercise, good eating habits, and staying active in both, work
and life.

About the Author: Dr. James Brann is a board certified
Obstetrician and Gynecologist and a Fellow of the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is also the
Editor of Women's Healthcare Topics an information source for
all women. At Women's
Healthcare Topics website you will find valuable and up-to-date
information on numerous topics related to women's health
including Early Signs of Pregnancy, First Pelvic Exam, Genital
Warts and more.


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