Fibromyalgia in Men
There is a misconception that fibromyalgia is a medical disorder that affects only women. Furthermore, men who are suffering from fibromyalgia often do not get correct diagnosis or appropriate treatment as women do. The reason for this is because women between 20 and 40 years of age account about 80% of all fibromyalgia cases. Also, women with fibromyalgia generally suffer from more severe symptoms of the disease comparing to men. However, men also deal with the condition and although many of these cases get undiagnosed it is now believed fibromyalgia affects around 30% of men.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects muscles and connective tissue. This disorder is characterized by pain, stiffness and tenderness of muscles, joints and tendons. Fibromyalgia is also followed by fatigue, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, problems with memory and concentration, and sensitivity to cold, noise and light. The pain is widespread and there is a presence of tender points on the body that are unusually sensitive to pressure. Tender points are located in the neck, shoulder, back, chest, elbows, hips and knees region. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but doctors believe that it may develop due to different factors such as genetics, stress, trauma and certain diseases. Fibromyalgia cannot be cured but with appropriate treatment that involves medications, physical therapy and lifestyle changes the symptoms can be relieved.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Men
Generally, unlike women, men usually have milder and less frequent symptoms. Tender points, stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome and fatigue are fibromyalgia symptoms that are less severe in men. Also, the symptoms in men do not occur as often and last as long as those in women. Still, men with fibromyalgia do suffer from restless sleep, widespread pain, jaw pain, headaches, sensitive skin, depression and brain fog.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia in Men
Men often go undiagnosed because they refuse to seek medical care for their problem. Also, men usually describe their symptoms as less serious as they really are. Another problem is that some doctors believe fibromyalgia is a disorder that exclusively affects women and tend to misdiagnose the condition. Due to all of this, men often do not receive adequate treatment for fibromyalgia. Additionally, men tend to refuse the treatment and deal with their pain silently due to their “gender role”.
Tips for Men with Fibromyalgia
For men who are suffering from fibromyalgia there are several tips that can help in dealing with the condition. One of them is to monitor the symptoms and report them to a doctor in order to get correct diagnosis. Also, men with fibromyalgia should join support group because it will provide more than needed help for living with this chronic condition. Finally, men with fibromyalgia must try to avoid stress and overloading themselves with too much work and too many goals on a daily basis.