Fibromyalgia Symptoms In Females
When you think of fibromyalgia symptoms in females, pain, fatigue, and low energy levels are some of the first issues that come to mind. BuSurprising Natural Ways to Ease Fibromyalgia Paint a secondary — and often overlooked — impact of fibromyalgia is how it can affect the way you look.
“Probably the biggest reason that fibromyalgia can affect a person’s personal appearance is by way of the secondary depression that sets in — from the sense of doom after seeing many doctors who either don’t believe in fibromyalgia or don’t know how to treat it,” says Anthony P. Geraci, MD, vice-chairman of the department of neurology and rehabilitation medicine at Lutheran Medical Center in New York.
“Also, patients often get to the point with their disease that they just don’t have the energy to keep up their personal hygiene.” These strategies can help you look and feel better.
Pick the Right Footwear: Fibromyalgia is often linked with foot pain, tingling, numbness or a sensation of swollen feet, even when there’s no visible swelling. When you’re experiencing fibromyalgia pain in your feet, you might think you need to throw style out the window in favor of comfortable shoe choices that help you better cope with fibromyalgia.
However, Dr. Geraci says you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice style for comfort, even when you’re trying to fend off fibromyalgia symptoms in females. “Shop for shoes that have a low heel and are a half-size larger,” he advises.
Make Conscious Clothing Choices: Loose and comfortable clothing make many people with fibromyalgia feel better — and you can still stay stylish. “For clothes, stay away from tight-fitting blouses and pants,” says Geraci. “Short sleeves are best, weather permitting.”
If your fibromyalgia symptoms in females include skin sensitivity, he suggests also avoiding fabrics with many coarse fibers. And if you’re shivering in winter, try wearing more wool: A study published in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine found that wearing woolen underwear (as well as using woolen bedding) helped reduce pain and tenderness in patients with fibromyalgia.
Watch Your Weight: Gaining weight is not an inevitable side effect of fibromyalgia symptoms in females, but some drugs used to treat this chronic condition — like tricyclic antidepressants — are linked to weight gain. Geraci emphasizes taking charge of your health. “Have a dialogue with your doctor and choose medications that don’t cause weight gain,” he says. He also recommends consulting a naturopathic physician if you need help with a good weight-loss meal plan.
Exercise has also been shown to ease fibromyalgia pain and stress, as well as assisting in weight loss. Want an easy way to get started? “Walk one mile each day,” says Geraci. “You get the same caloric burn as running one mile — it just takes a bit longer.”
Figure out what causes your flares
Keep a symptom diary to determine the causes of your flare-ups. It can help “you and your doctor figure out how to treat it,” Dr. Silverman says.
“Some people go off their medication, and that could be the reason for the flare,” he says. “Or they could be going through a rough time emotionally. Physical stress — like a car accident – can also cause a flare.”
Eat a serotonin-boosting diet: Fibromyalgia involves low serotonin – a brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, involved in feelings, says David Edelberg, M.D., of WholeHealth Chicago, a center for integrative health, and co-author of Healing Fibromyalgia (WholeHeath Chicago) and The Triple Whammy Cure (Free Press).
“So diet and supplements should be about raising serotonin,” he advises. “Good carbs, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, [are serotonin-raising foods].”
Practice cognitive behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves changing the way you think about your condition. Also called “reframing,” the practice helps you alter your emotional responses that can worsen it.
“Don’t get discouraged and feel that you will be like this forever,” Dr. Silverman says. “Tell yourself, ‘I have had flares before; this one will go away.’ ”
CBT sessions often include:
- Education about the nature of the disorder
- Steps patients can take to manage it
- Skills that target pain, fatigue, sleep and mood
- Relaxation techniques
- Seek out a community
“Remember that you are not alone,” Dr. Silverman says. “There are many people with this disorder.”Search for self-help groups at local libraries, hospitals, newspapers and your doctor’s office. If you can’t find one or don’t know other fibromyalgia patients, go online to seek support – but not medical advice.
“Talk to your doctor about anything medical you might read online,” Dr. Silverman advises.