Menopausal Status and Fibromyalgia

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Sleep loss from menopause and changing hormones can also make you achy. Menopause can leave you reeling and wondering if what you’re feeling isn’t just in your mind. The typical post-menopausal woman produces 40 percent less estrogen than a woman who is still experiencing menstruation. It’s known that a lot of women suffering from fibromyalgia are menopausal.

This decrease in estrogen can lead to a lot of changes in your body including symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep apnea. Menopause cause your hormonal imbalance, this may further lead to severe muscle pain, as muscles respond to hormonal changes. They become sore and tender.

Menopausal status and Fibromyalgia

It makes sense though, if you consider that most women diagnosed with the condition are between the ages of 40-55, the usual age group for the onset of menopause. Research suggests that fibromyalgia symptoms are more severe in post-menopausal women than in women who are still menstruating. Imagine if you were facing both fibromyalgia and menopause symptoms at the same time.

Menstrual period cramps can be mild or painful, depending on the woman. Women suffering from Fibromyalgia have more painful periods than usual. Sometimes the pain fluctuates with their menstrual cycle. Most medical professionals that believe Fibromyalgia exists, the numbers are increasing! Feel that menopause affects Fibromyalgia more so than Fibromyalgia affects menopause.

At least, that’s the current overall agreement. Symptoms like depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety may occur in fibromyalgia patients, when less estrogen is produced by female body, though some mild improvement has been shown when estrogen patches are substituted for estrogen in pill form but replacement therapy doesn’t seem to alleviate symptoms.

Some studies show that decreased thyroid hormone levels and low thyroid function along with low estrogen and progesterone levels can be contributory factors in the symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, and mood changes that plague fibromyalgia sufferers.

The consensus is that the decrease in estrogen levels plays into a worsening of Fibromyalgia symptoms. Some of the symptoms cross over anyway. Examples of crossover symptoms are insomnia and hot flashes. In menopause, hot flashes can occur at any time of day, but seem to occur more frequently at night. Temp fluctuations and insomnia are worse in Fibromyalgia patients, too. (Men included.) Add in the additional sleep and temp disruptions from menopause, and it’s easy to see why this phase can be such a hard time for Fibromyalgia women.

People with fibromyalgia are sensitive to all sensory inputs including pain, loud noises and even bright lights. This means that a woman with fibromyalgia, who is already dealing with achy muscles and bones sleep deprivation and anxiety, may feel these even more powerfully as she experiences menopause. Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia are ones that people also experience with menopause.

Combining these two conditions can make the symptoms exacerbated and can make the woman feel incredibly sore, irritable and tired. Some women with fibromyalgia also have endometriosis. In this disease endometrial tissue is found other than uterine lining. Fibromyalgia can also increase the uneasiness that endometriosis causes. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms don’t go away after menopause.

Some studies show that decreased thyroid hormone levels and low thyroid function along with low estrogen and progesterone levels can be causative factors in the symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, and mood changes that plague fibromyalgia sufferers. More research is still needed to prove a correlation between menopause and fibromyalgia. Low levels of cortisol produced by adrenal glands also contribute to all of these symptoms.

What to do?

Sometimes it really is a good idea to talk to the women in one’s family about their experiences with menopause. It may provide some insight into what to expect and do, but that’s not a certainty. Families don’t share every medical problem, or experience normal biological processes in the same way.

Speak to your doctor as you approach the age of menopause if you already have fibromyalgia and have not yet experienced menopause. Find out if there are supplements or dietary changes that you can take to help to smooth the transition into menopause. You should be acutely aware of the negative combination of these two conditions, if you have already gone through menopause and have fibromyalgia, Try to do strengthening exercises, take extra calcium and magnesium, adjust your diet and pay attention to when you ache the most.

Hormone treatment via estrogen is one of the major ways to treat menopause. However, taking estrogen isn’t for everyone. This decision must be made between a woman and her doctor, based on her health history, life style, and more. Most importantly, admit your pain and recognize that it may be worse now that you’ve experienced menopause. Be gentle with yourself in this difficult stage and allow your body the space, time and sleep that it needs whenever you can. Vaginal dryness can also be a symptom of menopause and perimenopause.

A doctor should be able to make recommendations for this treatment, specifically a gynecologist. Fibromyalgia can also do a number on one’s sex drive because of pain and fatigue. There are ways to regain one’s ability to have sex without pain, as well as one’s sex drive. Any woman who is having problems with either should talk to her doctor no matter what her age, or what the cause is.

Also Read:

How to manage unique Menstrual Symptoms in Fibromyalgia

References:

  • Fibromyalgia Often Worsened by Menopause via Fibro Daily
  • Stronger menstrual pain in women with fibromyalgia via Health line

Related Article:

Fibromyalgia can cause Infertility 

 

Fibromyalgia and Polycystic ovarian Syndrome

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