The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Women

The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Women

Fibromyalgia is a chronic neurological condition accompanied by acute pain, fatigue, stiffness, and tenderness of joints and muscles. It is estimated that 3.7 million Americans suffer from this condition, and 80-90% of people diagnosed are women.

Until recently, a patient who suffers from these conditions is often misdiagnosed as psychological complaints and usually dismissed due to a poor understanding of the illness. Medical researchers are now actively searching for the causes and best treatments for Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms in men vary significantly compared to women due to the influence of hormones, genes, biochemical reactions, and immunity. However, women often report a higher pain intensity than men. Depression, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, extreme mood swings, restless sleeping are some of the effects of Fibromyalgia.

Causes of Fibromyalgia in Women

Doctors are unsure of the exact mechanism responsible for Fibromyalgia; however, researchers are beginning to achieve essential milestones to shape a theory. Current theory states that abnormalities in pain processing centers in the brain cause Fibromyalgia. 

Several studies indicate that a history of trauma can increase the risk of developing Fibromyalgia. According to a survey, approximately 49% of women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia have experienced some form of trauma in the past.

While Fibromyalgia is not a psychological condition, frequent recurrence can develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Other common causes of Fibromyalgia include:

Central Sensitization

Central sensitization is characterized by the stimulation of nerves, leading to increased sensitivity to pain.

Autoimmune Disorders

As a medical condition, autoimmune disorders are a reaction of the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissue. This condition can lead to inflammation of the joints, tendons, and muscles.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Most patients with fibromyalgia experience widespread chronic pain all over the body, which may be sharp and cause a throbbing sensation in the muscles. Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Fatigue and tiredness that doesn’t get better with adequate rest
  • Mood swing
  • Memory problems
  • Twitching or cramping of the muscles
  • Excruciating menstrual period (dysmenorrhea)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sensitivity to noise and bright light


There is no specific lab test to diagnose Fibromyalgia; instead, your doctor will examine you based on exclusion. Your doctor will ask for symptoms you are experiencing and test for underlying conditions with similar symptoms. If no underlying disease is discovered, your doctor will diagnose Fibromyalgia.

Your doctor may order advanced tests such as an X-ray and blood work for effective diagnosis. They may also test for sensitivity in tender spots and tissues and examine your medical history for previous records of injuries.

A diagnosis may be recorded if you experience any of the following

  • Reach an elevated ranking on the pain index
  • Extreme sensitivity to an external stimulus such as touch, bright light
  • Severe pain in a specific body area for more than 3 months.

Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening condition; however, it can negatively reduce your quality of life and disrupt daily activities. Common risk factors of Fibromyalgia include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Other underlying conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Genetics
  • Previous history of trauma to the brain

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Since fibromyalgia has no permanent cure, the main goal of treatment is to relieve pain and other symptoms. Physiotherapy, exercise, and stress-relief techniques may constitute the first form of treatment.

Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, both Over-the-counter pain relievers, may effectively relieve pain and discomfort. Your doctors may prescribe alternative medications such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise), and pregabalin (Lyrica) if OTC drugs fail to relieve discomfort.

Home remedies that may help treat Fibromyalgia include:

  • Eliminating stress and activities that can trigger a flare-up
  • Engaging in regular physical activities to help relieve pain
  • Engaging in alternative therapy such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, and Myofascial release therapy

Discuss with your doctor to recommend other treatment options if your symptoms continue after scheduled treatment.

Fibromyalgia is a lifelong chronic condition but not a progressive disease. This means it doesn’t worsen with time and causes no extensive damage; however, you can enjoy an improved quality of life with intense treatment. Above all, eat healthily and seek support from friends and family.