Fibromyalgia Most Common in Women, Causes Pain Throughout the Body

Health Minute

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Fibromyalgia can be a condition that women suffer in silence about because they think the pain they feel isn’t directly caused by anything and they feel unsure about how to describe it to a doctor.

However, fibromyalgia is a real disorder that causes aches and pain throughout the body, including tender joints in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs when pressure is put on them, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon  (HHS).

Most fibromyalgia – about 80 percent to 90 percent of the 5 million Americans 18 or older who suffer from the disorder – occurs in women, according to the HHS. Most people are diagnosed when they are middle age. 

The disorder can occur on its own, but is more likely in people who have close family members who also have fibromyalgia and in people who have certain other diseases, such as rheumatoid and other forms of arthritis, according to the HHS.

Women with fibromyalgia can have the following symptoms, according to the HHS:

  • Cognitive and memory problems
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Morning stiffness
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
  • Sensitivity to temperatures
  • Tingling and numbness of hands and feet
  • Trouble sleeping

While there isn’t a specific known cause for fibromyalgia, it has been linked to family history of the disorder and experiencing traumatic events, such as car accidents, infections, illnesses, being sent to war, according to the HHS.

Treatment for fibromyalgia can be difficult, and the HHS recommends finding a doctor who has treated fibromyalgia before. Treatment could include sleep management, physical therapy, psychological support and medications to help with pain management.

Learn more about the fibromyalgia or to find a physician, or find a physician.

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