FMS & Menopause

If you have fibromyalgia, is there anything to be worried about as you hit menopause age? This is a big question for people with fibromyalgia, and one that is quite important to address. It is particularly important when we look at the statistics.  The vast majority of fibromyalgia sufferers are women.  Researchers put the number at close to 90%.  Therefore, the combined issues of fibromyalgia and menopause will be relevant to most fibromyalgia sufferers. Unfortunately, researchers have found that post menopausal women typically do experience more intense fibromyalgia related symptoms. 

Why Does Fibromyalgia Get Worse With Menopause?

After menopause, estrogen levels drop a great deal. Women usually produce 40% less estrogen after menopause than they did previously. Low levels of estrogen impact mood, feelings of anxiety, and sleep patterns, all of which can be impacted by fibromyalgia. 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 intensely as she experiences menopause.

Combined Symptoms

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. Menopause often makes your muscles ache, since muscles often respond to hormonal changes by feeling sore. Sleep loss from menopause and changing hormones can also make you achy. Similarly, a lack of calcium or a loss of other minerals that can often happen with menopause, may also make your bones ache. All of these are also symptoms that people experience with fibromyalgia, creating a double impact on a woman's body as she reaches menopause.

What To Do?

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

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