Fibromyalgia in Women: Understanding its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Dr. Humeira Badsha is a well-known Rheumatologist and the founder of the Dr. Humeira Badsha Medical Center in Dubai, an Emirates Healthcare company. With nearly 30 years of experience practicing Rheumatology across the USA, Singapore, and UAE, she is a respected professional in her field, providing exceptional care to her patients.
In this video, she sheds light on the condition of Fibromyalgiaa chronic pain disorder that affects the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Dr. Badsha particularly focuses on the effect of Fibromyalgia on women, as they may be searching for an explanation for many of their symptoms.

The most commonly asked question about fibromyalgia among women may be “What causes fibromyalgia?” as the exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known. Fibromyalgia can greatly affect a woman’s quality of life, as it can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, maintain a normal routine, and participate in activities they once enjoyed. 
With her expert knowledge and experience, Dr. Badsha provides valuable insights and information on this debilitating condition. Here, we explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for fibromyalgia in women.

Fibromyalgia and it's effects

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that is characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is often described as a dull ache, but can also be sharp or burning. It is typically felt in the neck, back, shoulders, hips, and hands, but can also affect other areas of the body.

Fibromyalgia can have a significant impact on the emotional and mental well-being of those who suffer from it. People with fibromyalgia often report feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and hopeless due to the constant pain and fatigue they experience. They may also feel isolated and alone, as others may not understand the severity of their symptoms. Depression and anxiety are common in people with fibromyalgia. The constant pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances can make it difficult to maintain a normal routine. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness.

Some people with fibromyalgia may also experience cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and memory problems. This is sometimes referred to as “fibro fog.” These symptoms can make it difficult to perform daily tasks and can cause frustration and anxiety.

It is also important to remember that fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from person to person, and everyone’s experience with the condition is unique. Some people may have more severe symptoms than others, and their emotional and mental well-being may be more affected as a result.

It is important for people with fibromyalgia to have access to emotional and mental support to help them cope with the impact of their condition. This may include therapy, counseling, support groups, or medication to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is important for people with fibromyalgia to take care of their emotional and mental well-being, in addition to managing their physical symptoms. This can help to improve their overall quality of life and help them better cope with their condition.

Causes and Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors are thought to contribute to its development. Some research suggests that there may be a problem with the way the central nervous system processes pain signals in people with fibromyalgia. Other theories suggest that it may be caused by a combination of factors such as trauma, infection, or hormonal imbalances.

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed based on the presence of widespread pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific tender points on the body. These tender points are located in specific areas on the body, such as the back of the head, the tops of the shoulders, the front sides of the neck, and the upper chest. A doctor or healthcare provider will typically use a physical examination to check for tenderness in these areas in order to diagnose fibromyalgia.

It is important to note that fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means that other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, must be ruled out before making a fibromyalgia diagnosis. A healthcare provider may order blood tests or imaging to help rule out other conditions.

It is also worth noting that fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, as there are no specific tests for it and its symptoms can be similar to other conditions. However, the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) for fibromyalgia are widely accepted by healthcare providers, and the presence of widespread pain and tenderness in tender points is considered the most reliable indicator of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Treatments

Fibromyalgia symptoms can occur at any time, but it is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. It can vary greatly from person to person, and they may come and go over time. Some people may experience severe pain and fatigue, while others may have milder symptoms. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), headaches, and depression. 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Tenderness and stiffness in the muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Difficulty concentrating or “fibro fog”

The treatment for fibromyalgia typically includes a combination of medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications used to treat fibromyalgia include pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and tricyclic antidepressants. Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs have also been found to be effective in reducing pain and improving sleep in people with fibromyalgia.

Physical therapy and exercise are also important for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. A physical therapist can help design a program that includes stretching, strengthening, and low-impact aerobics to help reduce pain and improve flexibility and strength.

Lifestyle changes such as stress management techniques, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet may also help reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage, but with proper treatment and management, the symptoms can be controlled and the quality of life can be improved.

Disclaimer: The expert health advice offered on this video are that of the specialists. For more details, you can contact them directly or consult your health expert.