Women's Health

Understanding the Unique Menstrual Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Understanding the Unique Menstrual Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

We all know that more women suffer from fibromyalgia than men. So, it isn't much of a surprise that women with fibro experience severe pain while they experience their monthly menstrual cycle.

Fibromyalgia affects menstrual periods significantly. This disease is extremely difficult to deal with, but add fibro pain to your monthly period. While a woman already faces serious symptoms during their period, fibromyalgia causes a patient to experience symptoms that are both unique and a little unusual.

Typically, women have their first period when they're 13 years old. For some women, it can arrive even earlier. Nearly every woman experiences cramps while on their period, but with fibromyalgia, their symptoms vary greatly, which can be difficult to deal with. 

According to many women with fibromyalgia, once their cycle begins they suffer from muscle tension throughout their whole body. Clenched fists and curled toes are just some of the symptoms in women with fibromyalgia.  Sweating and moaning involuntarily are also very common. Usually, painkillers are not capable of relieving pain, and sleeping is the only way to reduce this feeling.

This is a monthly reality for many women with fibromyalgia. In most cases, when they have to visit a doctor, women with fibromyalgia tend to say they only have cramps even when they are experiencing other symptoms. Most women do not realize that they are experiencing different symptoms than other women. Actually, these severe menstrual symptoms sometimes lead to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, especially when a patient experiences them at a young age. 

Unique symptoms and the common fear for internal exams

In most cases, women with fibromyalgia find it extremely difficult to describe these symptoms because they aren't able to compare them to anything else. And patients aren't the only ones who are confused, doctors are as well. The medical world is still trying to understand fibromyalgia as a whole, and there is still a severe lack of awareness surrounding the disease.

According to many teenagers who did not know they had fibromyalgia, they would usually visit the doctor feeling extremely uncomfortable about some of the symptoms during their period. Doctors would even tell them that they just have to live with them. However, some people find relief while taking birth control pills because they can reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Women with fibromyalgia are speaking out

When interviewing women with fibromyalgia, most of them agree that all of the symptoms during their menstrual cycle are uncomfortable. Several of these women describe manic pain, sweats, fist and feet clenching, and chronic muscle tension. They also discuss the fact that none of their doctors do not understand much about fibromyalgia, even with the amount of awareness around it today. 

Sadly, there are no clinical studies that focus in on the menstrual cycle and fibromyalgia. Researchers need to investigate and clarify the reason for these specific symptoms in women with fibromyalgia, just so that they can develop better treatment option and properly advise patients while they have their period. 

Every patient responds very differently to these symptoms. However, patients who speak out on fibromyalgia and its symptoms during the menstrual are providing the first step for researchers to study later on.

Tips that can be helpful to relieve pain during the menstrual period

To treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia during your period, you must take your medication consistently. Physicians do not recommend changing or discontinuing medication while on your period.

Medications and treatments for fibromyalgia include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, exercise and talk therapy. All of these methods can be very effective for someone with fibromyalgia, before and during their menstrual cycle. Another alternative can be contraceptive pills. The pill is known the decrease the severity of symptoms in patients, including pain. 

Getting enough rest before and during your period can also help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Other remedies that allow women to better control pain and other symptoms include:

  • Massages
  • Heating pads
  • Water therapy
  • Yoga and other gentle exercises

According to WebMD, "It is also important to avoid stressful situations during menstruation since stress can increase the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia." Try to maintain your level of stress as much as possible. You can do this through meditation, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques. 

If your symptoms worsen your period, you should talk to your doctor about different treatment options. Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia vary, a personalized approach will work better with treatment.