Fibromyalgia Hurts Your Love Life

Forget the roses and the bottle of wine. When it comes to romance, Fibro is a buzz kill!

broken_heart1A new survey of FM patients has found that well over half believe that chronic pain has significantly harmed their romantic relationships.

The survey of 1,228 adults in the U.S. with FM found that pain was having a widespread impact on their social life, home life, work and school attendance, and exercise habits.

Pain also took a big toll on romance. Nearly 70 percent said FM pain has affected their physical intimacy with a partner or spouse. And over half (55%) said FM had negatively impacted their romantic relationships in some way.

“Fibromyalgia has long been misunderstood, as it is a complicated disease with many different symptoms, and as a patient, I have understood the importance of differentiating between the symptoms and recognizing the impact that just one symptom – like pain – can have on your life,” said Jan Chambers, president of the National FM & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA).

“This survey is important for the fibromyalgia community as it underscores the need for more effective dialogue between patients and their HCPs (health care practitioners), specifically focusing on pain management, including lifestyle changes that can make a difference.”

The survey, called Functioning with Fibro, was funded by Pfizer Inc., and was conducted in collaboration with NFMCPA and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The survey was conducted August 9 – 23, 2013, using an email invitation and an online survey.

On average, the survey found that FM patients had more bad days than good, with the number of “flare up” days exceeding the good ones in a typical week. Daily activities most affected by FM were sleep (71%), exercise (70%) and the ability to do household chores (60%).

FM patients who work missed an average of 3 weeks of work annually (versus only 3 sick days for the average American). They were late for work an additional nine days. About a third said their professional relationships were adversely affected by FM.

Other key findings:

  • 85% said pain was the #1 symptom impacting their daily life.
  • 85% said they had missed important events in their life, including holidays, birthdays, vacations, and social engagements.
  • 72% say they are hesitant to plan social activities out of fear they’ll have to cancel.
  • 54% say it’s had a negative impact on their friendships.
  • 48% say it’s had a negative impact on their family life.

FM patients were very pro-active about their treatment. Nearly half said they were currently discussing with their health care practitioner ways to improve day-to-day life. And nearly all (97%) had done something to improve their ability to live with pain, including minimizing stressful situations and setting more limits.


Looking to improve your love life? Check out Fibromyalgia, Fatigue and Sex

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  1. I have experienced these pronlems as well, to the letter. My 23 year illness turned me around nearly 180 degrees. When I was at the very peak and my career and family life was fully developed and going quite well I started feeling the sensation of ice cold blood and the rest is history. I made it through to retirement. My marraige collapsed as my husband sought girlfriends. Divorse ensued. I have a second husband who I believe contracted this illness from me. We both suffer debilitating symptoms now. I shudder to think this illness is contagious in similar ways as HIV. Noone has addressed thus issue. I am afraid to be around my Granchildren. I have lost my home and energy. I have continued to try to find ways to keep going. Its like a cancer that never really kills but never goes away. My Sons have had a very difficult time understanding the sequence of diagnoses. I no longer mention my health and they no longer ask. Although not said it is as if I am a person who sought for an illness and needed psychiatric help. Only now at 64 years of age I am starting to not care as caring has been so painful. Especially the inability to make and keep plans. I was once the Golden Girl and the hope of my Family. It has been a hard journey to this point. am grateful for the internet and especially for sites such as this. CCHaskins

    • CCHaskins, my story is almost identical to yours, but with some traumatic life events tossed in as well. It is as you say, like having a cancer that doesn’t kill you. I fully believe it is genetic. I do think my Mom had it, but went undiagnosed. I am now awaiting 6 children from the next generation, to see, and hope I am wrong…that it can be passed down. I do not believe it is contagious, but I do think becoming familiar with someone that has it, is actually assisting in other’s getting a proper diagnosis. My fiance has similar aches and pains, but I don’t think he has FMS. I do think his similar suffering with pain in areas, gives him the compassion and understanding, to make our love unconditional, upon our mental or physical health issues.

  2. Oh, and I have actually used my “romantic” life, to ease my pain symptoms.

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