Fibromyalgia and Heightened Pain During Menstruation

You may find your fibromyalgia pain gets worth with your menstural cycle

Fibromyalgia and Heightened Pain During Menstruation

By Danielle Cronquist Published at July 3 Views 1,830

Around 90 percent of fibromyalgia cases occur in women, and for some women, symptoms of fibromyalgia can be significantly worse during menstruation.

Menstruation and fibromyalgia

Pain and sensitivity are altered during the menstrual cycle for women with and without fibromyalgia, so although your period doesn’t cause a fibromyalgia flare-up, it can aggravate your symptoms even further. According to Everyday Health, some of the fibro symptoms that may increase before and during your period include:

o Widespread pain
o Fatigue
o Memory problems
o Headaches
o Difficulty sleeping
o Mood swings
o Dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain strong enough to disrupt daily activities)

Fibromyalgia and menopause

Some women worry that menopause will increase their fibromyalgia pain, but for around 50 percent of women with fibromyalgia, there is no significant change in pain during menopause. Many women even find that they have a steadier pattern of fibromyalgia flare-ups following menopause.

How do I relieve the pain?

It’s important to stick to your standard fibromyalgia treatment plan. In order for your fibromyalgia treatments to be effective, they also need to be consistent. Some aspects of your treatment may be particularly helpful for increased fibro pain during menses:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are used for their anti-inflammatory properties and are made to relieve fever and pain. Some block a protein called prostaglandin, which makes heavy menstrual bleeding worse.
Exercise. Cardiovascular exercise, while it may be the last thing on your mind, can help strengthen your heart, increase your energy, and release feel-good endorphins into the body. Try walking, biking, or swimming at a pace that feels comfortable.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A small study showed that patients suffering from fibromyalgia who attended eight weekly, two-and-a-half-hour sessions of CBT noticed a significant reduction in the pain, fatigue, and sleeplessness they experienced.

If you find these treatments and activities don’t curb your pain enough to continue your day-to-day life, try these supplemental remedies:

Massage. Massage encourages blood flow throughout the body and may activate the body’s natural painkillers. Adequately communicate your condition to your massage therapist before and during the session if the pressure of the massage becomes too much.
Heating pads. Heat helps relax your muscles, and heating pads are a great way to target your abdomen specifically as a source of pain.
Pilates. Pilates is a low-impact exercise that works to strengthen your core and overall stability while focusing on beneficial breathing techniques, which may help increase the relaxation of your muscles.
Yoga. Like Pilates, yoga focuses on core strength, stability, and breathing techniques that may help oxygenate your blood and relax tightened muscles.
Meditation. Meditation may help with your responses to stress and pain. Shoot for 20 to 30 minutes each day, and focus on taking deep breaths, sitting up straight or lying still, and relaxing the body.

If you find that your fibromyalgia symptoms are consistently worse during your menstrual cycle, talk to your doctor about what treatment options are available to you.

What methods have you found for coping with and managing increased fibro pain during menstruation? Share with the community in the comment section below.

For more on fibromyalgia:

Walking Away From Fibromyalgia Pain
Building Resilience to Take on Fibro Challenges
Fibromyalgia Starts in the Central Nervous System

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