Fibromyalgia is one of the most common diseases that affect the muscles, tendons, and joints of women.
Many health professionals still do not recognize the condition as a disorder, probably because X-rays, blood tests and biopsies generally do not show prevalent evidence to support the patient’s complaints.
However, in recent years, the use of thermography, a device that tests and measures the heat produced by areas of the body, has helped to diagnose the condition. Studies indicate that fibromyalgia patients have decreased blood flow and decreased skin temperatures in places of tenderness.
Symptoms include long-term muscle pain, muscle stiffness, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. The condition is often aggravated by stress and climate change. Unlike other rheumatic conditions that cause swelling and inflammation of the body’s tissues, fibromyalgia does not cause any type of joint deformity or damage to any internal organ.
Often, patients suffering from 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 fibromyalgia patients can also be diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Some patients complain of migraine or tension headaches, irritable bowel, and bladder syndromes. Some women may develop a loss of memory and concentration. Fibrocystic breast disease and endometriosis are frequently present in women with fibromyalgia, although studies on the correlation of the two have not been conducted.
The causes of this condition are 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 when menopause occurs, and approximately 85% to 90% of all reported fibromyalgia conditions are women.
Hormonal changes, such as decreasing the amount of estrogen in the female body, can contribute to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia in patients with fibromyalgia. Research shows, however, that estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy is not so beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers.
There are mild benefits reported when using estrogen patches instead of estrogen pills. Some studies indicate that low thyroid function and decreased levels of thyroid hormones, as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone, can contribute to muscle pain, fatigue, mood swings, and anxiety.
Currently, the correlation between menopause and fibromyalgia is uncertain, due to the lack of research on the subject. Fortunately, more tests are being carried out to find out how decreasing levels of estrogen affect the appearance of fibromyalgia. Ongoing research is underway that may suggest abnormally low levels of the hormone Cortisol, which is the hormone produced by the adrenal gland, which can also be an associated cause.
Unfortunately, there is also no way to prevent this disorder or cure it completely … Therefore, most treatments focus on conquering the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. The treatments for women suffering from fibromyalgia vary according to the symptoms.
In some cases, physical therapy or light exercise may be prescribed. Research has shown that using ice immediately after any exercise can decrease muscle and joint pain. The use of tricyclic antidepressants generally used to treat depression; it has also been shown to be an effective drug for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
These medications generally relieve depression, anxiety, reduce fatigue and restore effective sleep patterns. Some doctors may prescribe local painkiller injections in painful or hard areas. The use of analgesics and muscle relaxants has been beneficial in reducing pain symptoms and improving sleep. Often, doctors discuss the treatment of pain and stress with their patients; which can eliminate some symptoms of the disorder.
The diet plays an important role in preventing symptoms related to fibromyalgia. Eat organic foods, such as fruits and vegetables; increase the intake of low-fat, high-fiber foods; those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, can benefit those who suffer. Some doctors suggest reducing foods high in sodium or eliminating additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which can relieve many symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Recent studies indicate that using a vegan diet can help relieve symptoms. Alternative treatments, specifically in the field of homeopathic remedies, suggest taking magnesium, vitamins B-12 and vitamin C.
Other non-medical treatments involve massage therapy, thermotherapy and ice packs that can temporarily relieve symptoms. The use of hydrotherapy or hydrotherapy can increase circulation and decrease muscle pain. Currently, there are studies underway that may offer more treatments or specific treatment to help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Women who suffer from this disorder may withdraw from society due to the pain and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. Often, women find themselves unable to do physical or stressful work. The best advice is to seek treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes light exercise, good eating habits and stay active at work and in life.