HIS and HER Fibromyalgia

I received an article to my Inbox this morning from newlifeoutlook│Fibromyalgia about men with FM:

Is Fibromyalgia in Men Different?

Fibromyalgia-in-Men-210x270Many people believe that fibromyalgia is a woman’s disease. In fact, men do get fibromyalgia, though not at the rate of occurrence seen in women. It is unknown why women suffer from it more often than men.

People with certain biological markers are predisposed to fibromyalgia. Fibro patients of both genders have been found to have a higher level of substance P, a neurotransmitter that signals pain. To make things worse, their level of serotonin is lower than average; this neurotransmitter is responsible for inhibiting pain. Genetics and hormones also have a role in bringing the disease out or making it worse. Women are more likely to experience more pain because estrogen reduces the pain threshold.  The heightened sensitivity to pain may be why the odds are greater for women to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

How Fibromyalgia Affects Men

Men often have less severe fibromyalgia symptoms than women do. They may not have as much pain and it will be in fewer places; they often don’t have the complaint of “hurting all over” like female fibromyalgia patients do. They also don’t experience as much fatigue. They do, however, experience many of the other conditions and symptoms that accompany fibro, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, difficulty sleeping and restless leg syndrome. Memory problems are apparent and it can become very difficult to concentrate at times.

Undiagnosed Fibromyalgia Cases in Men

There may be more cases of fibromyalgia in men then we know about, as men are less likely to go to the doctor than women. It is usually gender-based stereotyping that influences this trend – men are raised to think they should not admit to any weakness, that they shouldn’t complain of pain or discomfort lest they be viewed as less of a man. It is estimated that up to 20% of men with fibromyalgia are undiagnosed.

If you think you may have fibromyalgia, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. By putting it off, you put yourself more at risk of developing complications. This means your work could be affected as well as any hobbies and other important things in your life. You could also be putting your mental health as risk. Depression is a common ailment that crops up among men who delay getting an answer to their health problems. Work with your doctor to get the proper diagnosis and treatment. The sooner this is done, the better you will feel so that you can enjoy life again.

Managing Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Medications can help control the symptoms and lifestyle changes can help in a big way. Being overweight can increase the pain and fatigue that accompanies fibromyalgia, so adding exercise to your daily regimen and eating better will help lessen these symptoms.

Resource: Web MD (How Fibromyalgia Affects Men)

Head clampBut I also remember writing about a study a while back…so I did a little search of my own blog and found Men Get Fibro, Too! from back in 2012 and (although all my picture links are missing) the post mentions an Israeli study from 2000 that found men with FM actually had more severe symptoms, decreased physical function, and lower quality of life than women the same age with FM.

I don’t know too many men with FM personally, so what do you think?

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5 Comments

  1. I am a male with fibromyalgia. I am 31 years old and completely disabled. I can’t work or even take care of myself for the most part. If you have any questions you can email me I am happy to talk about it. I like getting the word out about males with it. Granted we are all different.

  2. Also male, have been diagnosed with FM since I was 30. I’m 55, I also have a spinal injury from a mator vehicle accident. Pain specialist says I have Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Pain. Most GP’s, Physios, seem to find FM too difficult and treat me for Chronic Pain, and Depression.

    • Does it get any better? I was Navy for 9 years lifting lots and lots of heavy stuff. Destroyed my back knees and every other major joint. Plus more stuff then I can type.

      • I had a similar background as a Storeman carrying weights up to 50 Kilos, eventually couldn’t continue, then had someone pull out of a stop sign in front of me causing spinal injury in Car smash.

        Sam, all I can say about it getting any better is that you learn what you can and can’t do. I find being in water best way to excercise, as on land I can’t really.

        If you don’t have pain relief from your Doctor, just be honest how you feel, i.e., it doesn’t feel like it’s getting better.

        Personally I take medications such as Lyrica, Tramal, Diazepam. The Valium is to calm as someone in Chronic pain needs to be relaxed, not all scrunched up in fear.

        When I was in my 30’s I found Chinese Medicine, with Herbs/Acuupuncture very helpful.

        It doesn’t get any better unless you do all you can for your Body, in a relaxed healthy manner, and realise you’ll probably need to use your Brain a lot more than your Body.

        Having friends understand you, that you kind of look ok, but your not is an important thing. You need Love, or contact with others in meaningful ways. Sam, sorry I took so long replying.

        There is a lot of information on this Blog, and links to others.

        Hang in there as anything may happen to improve our situation.

        It seems Australia is not the best place to have Fibromyalgia; as many Doctors believe it exists as don’t.

        I think as Men we probably fall into a category where we’ve shocked our bodies severley, the nervous system learns to ‘expect’ pain .
        Try reaearching as much as you can, and see a Pain Specialist, perservere till you do feel some improvement.

        All the best,

        Tony

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