Severe headaches and migraines are another symptom of fibromyalgia. It’s also unclear what the direct cause of these are, but they could be another aspect of the overall chronic pain of the condition. Over-the-counter meds can help, as well as managing pain through methods like exercise and massage.
4. Sleep issues
People with fibromyalgia often report having sleep issues like waking up frequently or not being able to fall asleep, says Dr Kim. Again, doctors aren’t sure if the disturbances are caused by pain and discomfort waking people up and making it difficult for them to fall asleep, or something else entirely. But issues like these only make the fatigue worse. Biofeedback therapies, self-guided imagery, and hypnosis and meditation are methods people can try to help with sleep issues, says Dr Kim.
5. Brain fog
Many people with fibromyalgia experience “fogginess of thought” or “fibro fog”, says Dr Kim. That might mean they have memory issues, or just feel like they’re not as sharp or quick in their thinking. “If you examine patients who have fibromyalgia, there are differences in their brain activity from people who don’t have it, in terms of metabolic activity,” says Dr Kim. Doctors aren’t sure yet what that means, but they do know there are brain changes that could cause issues.
6. Depression and anxiety
Mood disorders are also associated with fibromyalgia, and chronic pain conditions in general. “The neurotransmitters that impact depression are also tied to pain,” says Dr Kim. It’s not clear how they’re connected, and it’s possible to have depression and anxiety that are separate from and not caused by fibromyalgia, but they may be linked.
People should evaluate their mental health with a therapist or other mental healthcare provider, recommends Dr Kim. “We can’t just focus on relieving pain; we want to make sure we’re addressing any psycho-emotional issues in addition to pain,” says Dr Kim. “Some people’s pain might improve but their mood may not – the interplay is very complex, so it’s important to address the physical symptoms and the mental.”
7. Irritable bowel syndrome
People with fibromyalgia may also get upset stomachs and nausea regularly, and may have to go to the bathroom frequently, says Dr Kim. People who do have irritable bowel symptoms should have their doctor or a gastroenterologist run checks to make sure everything is working properly, then consult with a dietitian about what nutrition deficiencies might be at play and what diet changes could help.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com