What is fibromyalgia?

Not everyone knows that I suffer from fibromyalgia. I find it so hard to tell people for many different reasons. 

Firstly, it’s so hard to explain what fibromyalgia is. To me it is not straight forward to explain what fibro is. Yes that are many symptoms that go with hayfever and asthma, people know what it is. With fibro it’s not the same. Generally, people I know have no clue what it is. Even though I’ve had it for around 4 years now I still struggle to explain what fibro is if people ask to the point where if I know that someone might be asking me I try to look up an answer on the NHS Choices website first so that I can string some sentences together and not sound stupid… although I bet that does, right? Secondly, that visible illnesses are far more widely understood in my opinion and people always say ‘well you don’t look ill’.

If you’re reading this blog to find out more I hope that by end of this post you’ll have a clearer understanding of what fibro is. So here you go… The NHS Choices website states:

’Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. 

As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating’

If you would like to read more on the NHS Choices website then please click here.

How common is it?

The National Fibromyalgia Association estimate that in the world’s population there are approximately 3 – 6 % that suffer with fibromyalgia. It is hard to find percentages and numbers for the UK but I will of course update this blog if I find out more on this. 

If you would like to read more about the NFA’s research then please click here.

Who suffers from fibromyalgia?

There is a lot of research around this and the common thread is that women are far more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia by as much as 90%. There has been a lot of research done around this area as it is so much more common in women (more to come in a future blog post). It also tends to effect people who are middle aged too.

What causes fibromyalgia?

There are several possible causes of fibromyalgia however the actual cause is unknown. The possible causes include:

  • an injury
  • a traumatic experience
  • a period of intense stress
  • having an operation
  • childbirth

There are also other possible causes such as a persons genetic make-up, a chemical imbalance and changes in the way that the central nervous system interprets pain. 

I hope that this blog post has summarised what fibromyalgia is and given you more insight into the condition. Thanks for reading 🙂 

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