Women's Health

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Key Takeaways

  • Fibromyalgia is found more commonly in women.
  • Stress can be associated with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition characterized by chronic pain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. This condition is often misdiagnosed and millions of people in the country develop this condition. Fibromyalgia is common in women between the ages of 25-years-old to 60-years-old. Experts believe that this condition is caused by a combination of many triggers, including physical triggers, environmental triggers, and emotional triggers. Other experts suggest it is a hormonal or chemical imbalance that triggers this condition. Other theories link fibromyalgia to stress or trauma. The actual cause of the condition is still not clear. A number of theories have been proposed and none of them have any scientific evidence to prove them.

Since fibromyalgia is found more commonly in women, and one theory suggests that hormonal or biochemical changes in the body of women is the cause for this condition. A study on the serotonin levels showed that women have seven times lower levels of this chemical in their brain. Some experts are of the belief that it is this change in serotonin levels that results in fibromyalgia.

According to several researchers, stress is associated with fibromyalgia. One of the theories suggest that insomnia, or other sleep disorders, reduce the level of serotonin, which may result in fibromyalgia symptoms. A low level of serotonin also increases one's sensitivity to pain. Fibromyalgia is always associated with depression, and this gave rise to the theory that the two conditions might be linked.

It is still not clear whether fibromyalgia is hereditary. According to one theory, specific genes may be involved in processing the stimuli for pain. Thus, some people with a specific genetic makeup may react very intensely to pain that an ordinary individual might recognize as pain. However, the genes that are related to this pain that causes this action to occur has not been identified yet, which is why it still remains just a theory. Experts are of the opinion that people with a certain genetic makeup, when exposed to triggers, respond in a different way and feel as if there is a serious illness.

Experts have identified a number of risk factors for fibromyalgia, including:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Change in hormones, particularly during menopause
  • Poor physical conditioning
  • Surgery
  • Physical trauma, particularly to the nervous system

It is possible that people without any of the above-mentioned risk factors can also develop fibromyalgia. In some cases, fibromyalgia is associated with other conditions, like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.