Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread pain in the muscles and tendons of the body, fatigue or exhaustion and sleep disorders. However, these are not the only symptoms of fibromyalgia. The condition can be accompanied by many other signs and symptoms in both men and women.
Generally, it is believed that the condition is associated with an increased sensation of pain, which may be due to repeated stimulation of the nerves. Women are the worst sufferers of this condition, while the incidence of fibromyalgia in men is comparatively rare. Men account for about 20% of the total cases of fibromyalgia. Before discussing the symptoms of fibromyalgia in men, let's have a brief look at what causes it or what are the factors that contribute to the development of this condition.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Though the exact causes of fibromyalgia are not known, it is suspected that certain individuals can have a genetic predisposition to develop the condition. At the same time, stress can also play a very important role and is considered as an aggravating factor for this condition.
The sensation of pain is regulated by several neurotransmitters and so, many are of the opinion that fibromyalgia may be related with the abnormalities in the levels of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin. Other factors that can induce an outbreak of fibromyalgia are hormonal fluctuations, weather changes, cold, depression, lack of sleep, and overexertion.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Men
Fibromyalgia symptoms in men have been observed to be milder and less frequent than their women counterparts. It has also been observed that symptoms of fibromyalgia in men usually subside within a short period of time, in comparison to women.
- Most of the time, men with fibromyalgia encounter the problem of an aching and stiff body, that makes them feel overworked. The pain can be muscular ache or a throbbing or burning sensation across the body. Debilitating pain coupled with extreme fatigue can reduce the level of activity of an otherwise active man.
- However, pain throughout the body and fatigue are not the only symptoms or signs of fibromyalgia in men, as the condition is also characterized by tender points on some specific areas of the body. If pressure is applied on these tender points, they can produce extreme pain. Such common tender points can be found in between the shoulder blades, upper chest, back of the head, inner knees, upper region of the hips, front sides of the neck, etc.
- In addition to these, both men and women can experience sleep disorders due to fibromyalgia. Falling asleep as well as staying asleep can be quite difficult for such individuals.
- Another common fibromyalgia symptom is jaw pain, mainly caused by temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Apart from the jaw, it can cause pain in the face and head as well.
- Problems related with memory and concentration can also be some highlighting fibromyalgia symptoms. The affected individual can face a reduced memory power and they can have difficulty in concentrating.
- Other common symptoms include morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, palpitations and increased sensitivity to bright lights, strong odor and noises.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Fibromyalgia
There is no specific test or examination to detect fibromyalgia. Therefore, diagnosis of fibromyalgia involves ruling out other similar health conditions that can produce the same kind of problems. The diagnosis can be a little more difficult in men than in women, firstly, because men have a greater threshold for pain, and secondly, as a great number of men (due to their 'gender role') are more likely to show reluctance to accept the fact that they experience severe pain, that restricts their level of activities.
Presently, there is no treatment or cure for fibromyalgia and only the symptoms can be targeted to provide pain relief. Lifestyle modifications like intake of nutritious meals and exercising to keep the weight in check can go a long way in controlling the devitalizing symptoms.
Recognizing fibromyalgia symptoms in men is the most crucial part, that determines proper diagnosis and treatment to manage the condition. Therefore, men should report accurately about the pain and discomfort they feel, so that the condition can be diagnosed properly. Rejecting the truth may lead to further aggravation of the condition. Joining a support group meant specifically for men diagnosed with this condition will help you deal better. Today, many men have accepted the fact that they have fibromyalgia and accordingly taken concrete steps to manage the condition with proper treatment and active support from their families and friends.